A Comparison of Protagonists in King Lear and in the Children of Men

Topics: King Lear, William Shakespeare, Shakespearian fool Pages: 4 (1270 words) Published: January 9, 2011
Dey 1
Debangshu Dey
Mr. Bird
30th November 2010
“No hero is mortal till he dies”
A Brief Study of Protagonists in The Children of Men and King Lear Who is a hero? Is he the one who risks all in order to gain all or is he the one who is radically transformed in the pursuit of a goal? A hero should privilege optimism over nihilism. Every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great personalities. Movements, started with an idea from an independent mind. Some motivated by poverty, others by misery. Similarly, the protagonists in The Children of Men and King Lear were motivated by various factors. The protagonists in The Children of Men and King Lear, Theo and Lear go through life-changing experiences which eventually highlight their inner personality. The protagonist with the better metamorphosis eventually triumphs. Upon close examination it would seem that both characters share similar climacteric changes. Each is unwilling to maintain power and yet, is transformed by other characters and children. In Children of Men, Theodre Faron, historian of the Victorian age is the epitome of passivity. The first instance where we see Theo’s unwillingness to take responsibility is when he steps down from Xan’s council. Theo shares no regret when he resigns. He is apathetic about the deception practiced by Xan’s government, the ill-treatment of Sojourners, the diabolic condition of the Man Penal Colony and the inhumane policy of the Quietus. The passivism of Theo has reached such extremes that he demands ocular proof to protest against Xan’s government, he needs to be a spectator at a Quietus to comprehend the gravity of the inhumane manslaughter. Another instance where Theo demonstrates his responsibility is when he denies Jasper’s request to move in with him. Theo is reluctant to take the “increasing responsibility for a difficult old man, repels me [Theo] (James 69). The compelling fact which stuns us is Theo’s confession of his...

Cited: James, P.D. The Children of Men. New York: Warner Books, 1996.
Shakespeare, William. King Lear. New York: Washington Square Press, 1993
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