King Lear Essay, Research Paper
Humans have qualities such as kindness, consideration, compassion and above all pity. Sometimes, however, human nature can be very primitive, like that of an animal, to act instinctively and without morals and consciousness. Further, it can cause one person to be dreadful toward another. This primitiveness is evident in King Lear through the unnatural way Goneril and Regan treat their father and through the evil manipulative actions of Edmund.
At the beginning of the play Goneril and Regan comply with their Father s request for them to declare how much they love him. However, once they have received their father s power and land, their attitude and behavior towards him swiftly changes. Goneril almost immediately finds fault with Lear s behavior and when she confronts Lear, he scolds her and calls her a, detested kite . When Lear speaks to Regan about Goneril s attitude, he describes it in terms of animal behavior that her unkindness is like a vulture. However, Regan sides with her sister Goneril and they both decide that if Lear is to stay at either of their homes, he must not have any of his knights. Lear enraged with their actions, leaves them and walks off while there is a storm. Goneril and Regan s actions destroyed the natural social order and cause their father, who is the King, to go mad. They showed no compassion and pity towards their father when there was a terrible storm. Their selfishness and betrayal has gone so far, that Goneril s husband, Albany, describes them as Tigers, not daughters , referring to their savage and cruel behavior towards their own father.
At the same time, Edmund, the bastard son of Gloucester, is also very savage and cruel towards his own family. Even though, Gloucester loves both of his sons equally, Edmund feels that his accidental birth has been unjust and wants to take over all of his father s land. We begin to see Edmund s selfish nature, when he begins to plot against his own brother, Edgar. Edmund uses a forged letter saying how Edgar wants to take over their father s land. Gloucester acts without thinking and banishes his son, Edgar. In addition, Edmund betrays his father with the secret that France and Cordelia are preparing to fight for Lear. His actions cause Gloucester to have his eyes carved out by Cornwall and to be exiled as a traitor. Edmund has been nothing but cold-hearted and manipulative. He showed no sympathy for his father that loved him as his own legitimate son. Edmund was so empty of emotion towards anybody that he did not even care if he married either Goneril or Regan. He acts like an animal without any morals; he only cares for himself and nobody else.
Goneril, Regan and Edmund are all characters that lived their lives as animals, nasty, brutish and selfish. The reason it makes them evil is that they were aware of their actions, while animals are unconscious of their own selfish nature. The three of them only cared for themselves and how much territory they controlled. They showed no decency and generosity towards their own family. That is why their glory, possessions and lives were short.