In literature, the use of imagery can help reveal the theme that the author is attempting to convey. Imagery is when the writer uses words and phrases to create “mental images” that help the reader visualise what is taking place in the story. In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, animal, clothing, and eye imagery are used to better enhance the theme of, appearance verses reality. Throughout the play many characters are not who they appear to be, but with the use of imagery their true nature is revealed. The seemingly loving and honest sisters, Goneril and Regan, and bastard son, Edmund, are in reality; evil, uncaring, deceitful beings, and clothing that symbolises who a person is, is simply only an illusion.
Early on in the play, Lear’s two daughters, Goneril and Regan, appear to be very caring and are loving towards him, but with animal imagery, their true nature is shown. When Lear tells his three daughter to profess their love to him (when he is dividing the kingdom) Goneril and Regan speak words of love and affection such as “ Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter,…/ Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,…“, when in reality, they do not possess the feelings they claim they have. Their appearance is that they are sincere, loyal and charming but the reality is the opposite. The two sister lie to their father to get what they want. They say what they know he wants to hear. It is only after Goneril tries to force Lear to get rid of his men when he finally starts to realise how uncaring they are. Lear even calls Goneril a “Detested kite!”, and that is in fact what she is. Her and her sister lied and faked emotion to benefit them, “fed” off Lear as a vulture would to it’s prey. Further into the play, Lear completely realises his daughters true evil nature, “…How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”, again referring to them as unpleasant, vile animals. They took advantage of their father who was blinded by his ego to...
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