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How does Shakespeare portray Lear's character?

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How does Shakespeare portray Lear's character? In the first part of Lear's speech, he admits that it is unnecessary to have all his men around him, but as hey says "; our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous:", The tone of this speech are very telling that Lear is in great distress, his two daughters are unmoved and are impervious to the evident agonising final speech Lear makes in the scene. The two women are expert manipulators and play off each other to break down their father, they're cool control over the situation is a direct contrast to Lear at the particular time. Where he says that beggars have more than they need, and later claiming that the his two daughters dress nicely and have many clothes and cosmetics, need they have all their beauty possessions when they have more than they will ever need, in essence calling his daughters hypocrites. ...read more.


The other view the audience would see is Lear's reaction to the whole situation, being told by his daughters that he cannot have his knights, and possibly his friends among him no longer. The way Shakespeare has written this suggests that he intends to show Lear as being an old man and that he does not know what is good or bad for him, and that his daughters must make the decisions for him. We see Shakespeare bringing out Lear's true feelings about himself, when Lear says, "As full of grief as age: wretched in both" Here Shakespeare is showing the reader what Lear's daughters have reduced him to, a self-doubting and self-loathing individual. After the onslaught the daughters impose on Lear, Lear begins to break. ...read more.


The phrase "I'll weep", is used three times throughout Lear's speech, in this case of tripling, Shakespeare is emphasising the fact upon Lear that he will not cry, he will retain his masculinity and go mad before he cries. This has a profound affect on the audience, up to this point the audience thinking Lear as weak, some feeling may be retained raised from his unwillingness to give in emotionally to his daughters The pinnacle of Lear's speech lies near the end, Lear claims that he has every reason to cry, and every reason to be a man of a broken heart, broken by his daughters, this emotional ending to Lear's speech is accentuated by the storm starting outside, the connotations of the storm starting when Lear claims his heart will break before he sheds a tear, they have succeeded in breaking their father, and also they're father daughter bond. ...read more.

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