King Lear - Seven Deadly Sins

Topics: Seven deadly sins, Lust, King Lear Pages: 4 (1194 words) Published: November 18, 2012
King Lear: The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins
In the play King Lear Shakespeare demonstrates the tragedy that can occur once humans allow themselves to be taken over by any one of the seven deadly sins.

The sin of greed is perfectly exemplified in the character of Edmund. Throughout the play Edmund’s greed is the motivating factor behind all of the decisions that he makes. Edmund, as the illegitimate son of Gloucester plots against his brother in order to obtain his inheritance completely ignoring all familial responsibility in the pursuit of land and money. At the beginning of the play you see that he merely wants to take his brother’s inheritance but as greed gets the better of him he begins to plot against his father as well and gets him arrested for treason so that he can not only gain his brother’s inheritance but also his father’s land and money as well. Not only is Edmund greedy in terms of wealth he is also greedy with women. It is implied that Edmund had relations with both Goneril and Regan, he couldn’t choose one so he decided to have them both. As proven through Goneril, Regan and Edmund’s deaths, avarice continues to fuel a person towards their own ultimate demise. Through the character of Edmund, Shakespeare develops the idea that if humans allow greed to creep into their minds they will eventually develop a thirst for possessions that cannot be quenched thus resulting in the loss of everything.

Lust is very evident in the characters of Goneril, Regan, Edmund and Gloucester, Goneril especially falls victim to the sin of lust through Edmund. She lusts after him and in doing so alienates herself from her sister who becomes her rival for Edmund’s attentions. Goneril’s lust is quite evident because she cheats on her husband to satisfy her lustful nature. It can also be proven that Gloucester was once an impious man as well. In the opening scene of the play he is bragging about his lustful appetite to Kent as he...
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