King Lear Essay, Research Paper
This seventeenth century novel by William Shakespeare is a constantstruggle for power. It is brought to us in an original form by the use of theRoyal family being the one in chaos. Everything is centered around Lear andhis close acquaintances. The internal conflict between good and evil in thestruggle for power and dominance is shown through the characters. This fight between heaven and hell is not portrayed as a theme in the play atany moment, it is present in the characters thoughts and actions towardseachother. The play consists of how blood is not thicker than water in thiskingdom full of deceit, and treatury. All characters strive for the one goal intheir world, self domination. The sense of good and evil is masked in the characters thoughts andactions. Most of the play has a tense and cold feeling of evilness whichshows no sight of hope or a propitious ending. Self domination andsatisfaction is seen as the complex reason for living rather than to do God sgood will on earth. True intentions are masked by the constant use of lyingand the manipulation of language, which includes treatury as well. This helpthem hide the truth by giving less importance and value to the conversation.Gloucester s son Edmund uses treatury to disguise his true intent. He lies toboth Lear and his brother Edgar by forging a letter to King Lear of Edgar splan to murder him. he then wisely tells his brother that he is beingpersecuted by the King, and that he must flee at once. Edmund seeks toensure his fathers inheritance by eliminating his competition . King Lear s daughters are not all evil. Only Goneril, and Regain use deceitagainst their father to gain the throne. They both over-show affection to Learwhen he questions their love for him. Goneril- Sir, I love you more than theworld can wield the matter; Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty; Beyondwhat can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty,honor; As much as child e er loved, or father found; A love that makesbreath poor, and speech unable; Beyond all manner of so much I loveyou. (pg 5) The two sisters endure to bury their father in defeat andinsanity. As for the King himself he shows his black heart when his daughterCordelia refuses to prove her love for him by responding to her sister sspeeches of love for Lear. If on the tenth day following, Thy banished trunkbe found in our dominions, The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter,This shall not be revoked. (pg 10) This is when Lear s insanity begins, he
reacts by attempting to cause depression and loneliness in Cordelia s life byparting her from her lover. In order for evil to exist there must be some good. The first obvious good in the play is Cordelia. She is the only one out of the three sistersthat does not feel it is necessary to exploit her love for her father King Lear.She responds to her father that she only loves him like a daughter is to loveher father, she is the only sister that is not after her father s throne, shespeaks the truth and is the only one that truly loves him. FurthermoreGloucester s good son Edgar, is very naive to his brothers plan against hisfamily. He never relizes until the end that his brother has double crossedhim. However good is mostly present near the end of the play on act five.This is when Edgar decides to confront his brother and defeats him in asword fight. As Edmund is dying he relizes that he is entering the afterlifeand speaks: I pant for life: some good I mean to do, Despite of mine ownnature. Quickly send, Be brief in it, to th castle; for my writ Is on the life ofLear and on Cordelia: Nay, send in time. (pg 142) His conscience speaks atthis point and mentions that some good he tries to do, and is the first timethat Edmund seems clean of evil. Likewise, Lear also speaks from his heartat the end of the play. one occasion is when he discovers that his fool hasdied. And my poor fool is hanged: no, no, no life? Why should a dog, ahorse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou It come no more,Never, never, never, never, never. Pray you, undo this button. Thank you,sir. (pg 144) For the first time he acted with affection towards one of hisservers, something he never did before. In addition he is devastated when hefinds his daughters dead, specially Cordelia. In this act the characters thatdid and lurked to do evil have given their life and eachothers a greaterimportance. Power and rank, are no longer the priority in Edmund, Regan,Lear, and Goneril s soul, they all have life, and perhaps love as a supremacy. Misinterpretation of the importance of being on this world has struckmany characters in the play. King Lear shows us through the characters how as individuals we give material possessions and power moresignificance over people, rather than to do the right thing and watch out foreachother. Good and evil is though of as a constant struggle inside us, but itis a choice we decide on. It is not something that happens as a mistake orfoult, people choose to do evil. And it is represented accordingly in WilliamShakespeare s play King Lear.