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Kinglear Essay Research Paper Shakespeare King LearGood

Kinglear Essay, Research Paper

Shakespeare: King Lear

Good King, that must approve the common saw,

Thou out of heavens benediction com’st

To the warm sun

Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,

That by thy comfortable beams I may

Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles

But misery. I know ?tis from Cordelia

Who hath most fortunately been informed

Of my obscured course, and shall find time

*From this enormous state, seeking to give

Losses their remedies. All weary and o’erwatched,

Take vantage heavy eyes, not to behold

This shameful lodging.

Fortune, goodnight. Smile once more; turn thy wheel.

Shakespeare (H)

D. Bradford

November10, 1997

Damian Schafgans

“The theme of King Lear may be stated in psychological as well as

biological terms. So put, it is the destructive, the ultimately

suicidal character of unregulated passion, its power to carry

human nature back to chaos….

The predestined end of unmastered passion is the suicide of the

species. That is the gospel according to King Lear. The play

is in no small measure an actual representation of that process.

The murder-suicide of Regan-Goneril is an example. But it is

more than a picture of chaos and impending doom. What is the

remedy for chaos? it asks. What can avert the doom? The

characters who have mastered their passions give us a glimpse of

the answer to those questions.”

-Harold C. Goddard,

The Meaning of Shakespeare, 1951

Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, is often thought of as not only one of

Shakespeare’s best works, but also one of his best “poems”. The language

follows in Shakespeare’s trademark format using iambic pentameter in much

of the play. Shakespeare’s It is we ll known for its many universal

themes. Some of these themes are: Dealing with he folly of old age and the

ingratitude of youth; Good versus evil; Nature; Vision and blindness; and

Fortune. These themes have been examined for hundreds of years in many dif

ferent forums, but what makes this play so unique is the fact that

Shakespeare incorporates all of these issues in just one tale.

One character that examines some of these issues is a character named

Kent. Kent is a significant character in King Lear, as he is involved from

the beginning to the end. Kent is the ideal first mate to the commander of

the ship of state. From the moment we meet him and observe his tactful

response to Gloucester’s bawdy chatter, we know we can rely on

this good man. It doesn’t take long for us to become better acquainted.

When Lear banishes Cordelia, and Kent speaks up in her behalf, he is bold

but courteous. And he sticks to his guns, even at the risk of his own

banishment. The measure of his devotion

to his master, the king, is shown by his assumption of a disguise. This

enables him to continue in Lear’s service. There are several additional

facets of Kent’s personality. He can be hotheaded, as in the outburst that

infuriates Lear in the very first s cene. And his treatment of Oswald is

hardly gentle. Kent even shows a sense of humor in his lengthy description

of Goneril’s steward. Kent is not a great philosopher, but he does

acknowledge that there are greater forces determining our fates. He

endures disfavor and discomfort stoically. His devotion and faithfulness

are always in our minds. In the midst of the final turmoil, we still have

compassion for Kent when he tells us that he cannot fulfill the only

formal request made of him. He cannot share the

responsibility for restoring order to England because he is nearing his

own end.

As mentioned before, Kent clearly belives in a greater sence of fate and

fortune. This is exactly what his speech is about in act two, scene two.

Kent is at the bottom of the wheel of fortune, and he is looking for the

wheel to turn in his favor. Dissecti ng the speech line for line is the

only real way of understanding the speech. The first line, “Good king,

that must approve the common saw,” is an allusion to Lear and his duties

as his subjects percieve them to be, with the word “saw” meaning proverb.

“t hou out of heavens benediction com’st to the warm sun,” means that

Lear, out of heavens blessing once again will be in the sun, or recognized

as the king. “Approach thou beacon to this under globe” is the idea that

Kent wants some sort of illumination, wh ether it be the sun or the moon,

to come to his place at the dredges of the society. “That by thy

comfortable beams I may peruse this letter” means that Kent wants to read

a letter that he has received, but is unable to, as it is too dark.

“nothing almost

sees miracles but misery” clearly Kent is at the bottom of the wheel of

fortune, being placed in stocks and left outside, and he is the embodiment

of this “misery” and he realizes that this letter he holds could indeed be

a miracle of sorts. “I know ?tis

from Cordelia who hath most fortunatly been informed of my obscured

course and shall find time from this enormous state, seeking to give

losses their remedies.” This is the idea that Cordelia has been informed

of Kent’s “interesting” situation and may be

able to help him out in his mission. “All weary and o’erwatched, take

vantage heavy eyes not to behold this shameful lodging.” Kent realizes

that while he is helpless to do anything but sleep while locked in the

stocks, and figures that it would in fact be to his advantage to sleep and

forget about his predicament and get some well needed sleep. “Fortune,

good night. Smile once more, turn thy wheel.” Kent recognizes that he

cannot get any lower on the wheel of fortune and that it is only a matter

of time

before he comes back to power with Lear.

King Lear is a timeless tale of honor, betrayal, usurpation of power and

greed. Clearly Shakespeare was not only a great poet, but he was also an

observer. He recognized certain qualities and emotion that all humans

exhibit. The reason that he was so incr edible was that he was able to

balance between the fiction and magic of Lear and his daughters, and the

truth and realities of greed and power.

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