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King Lear: Greed and Blindness into Madness

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´╗┐Albert Ngo Ms. Ferracci ENG4UN ? 05 July 17th 2012 Shakespeare?s King Lear: Blindness & Greed Into Madness Human traits and complexity hold the key to a character?s development throughout their lives. In Shakespeare?s play King Lear, there is excellent portrayal as to how greed and blindness were used to reveal the flaws of each character. These significant traits emphasize the theme of madness within Edmund and King Lear?s character growth. Edmund portrayed greed in an indefinite way and King Lear portrayed blindness in a prominent way, both of which, experienced madness in the process and eventually, led to their realization of the truth. Firstly, greed is inevitably displayed through Edmund?s selfish actions. Greed manipulated and conquered Edmund, the bastard son of the Duke of Gloucester, which caused him to act immorally and selfishly. Edmund stated in his soliloquy, ?Lag of a brother? Why ?bastard?? ... Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land, Our father?s love is to the bastard Edmund as to the legitimate- Fine word, ?legitimate?!?(1.2.6-18). Edmund displays such anger and resentment towards his brother, Edgar, because he was the legitimate son of Gloucester and the rightful heir to their father?s fortunes. ...read more.


Secretly, Edmund only wanted to be equal with his brother. This was proved in Act 5 when Edgar suggests them to ?exchange charity? (5.3.177). As Edmund was defeated by Edgar, he begins to regret his actions and comes to the realization that Edgar was the loyal one from the beginning. At that instant, he learned of Regan and Gonreil?s death. In the end, the power, the woman, and the wealth that Edmund wanted most was dead or destroyed, like Britain, and his regrets were with France. Therefore, what Edmund sought in life, ironically links back to the person he despised the most, Edgar. Secondly, King Lear?s blindness creates an opening path to bring about his foolish and unjustified decisions. Lear says, ``Thy banish`d trunk be found in our dominions?This shall not be revoke`d?(1.1.176-179). King Lear mistakenly banishes Cordelia, his youngest and most loyal daughter, only because she was honest about her love for him. Kent tries to persuade Lear that he is making a mistake stating, ?Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least? (1.1.151). ...read more.


as he referred to his banishment of Cordelia. Additionally, the thunders of the storm to which he called upon symbolized his grief, agony, and lunacy. This pathetic fallacy revealed to the audience the epiphany of his experiences through pathos. The insanity caused by his blindness eventually brought him down to the position of a beggar. This experience taught him much wisdom through humiliation of his title as King. According to King Lear himself, ?O, I have taken too little care of this!? (3.4.33) and ?I have one part in my heart that?s sorry for thee? (3.2.72-73) declared that beggars are not as worthless as they appeared to be. Ultimately, he realized his anagnorisis due to false perception and that is why blindness ultimately led him into his realization of the truth. All in all, the play of King Lear by Shakespeare clearly illustrates greed and blindness to expose the anagnorisis and nemesis of discrete characters. These characteristics open the eyes of Edmund and King Lear, to the realisation that they were acting out of evil. In the end, both were led to an understanding of who, what, when, where and why they went into such a state of utter and horrific absurdity. ...read more.

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