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How Far does Lear’s Character Contribute to his Downfall?

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Introduction

How Far does Lear's Character Contribute to his Downfall? In most of Shakespeare's tragedies, such as Hamlet and Macbeth, all have a tragic formula, in which he also uses it in this play. Most of his plays have five acts, which contribute to his tragic formula. The tragic formula is when the "Good" characters, in this case of the story of King Lear they are Cordelia, King Lear, Kent, Edgar and Gloucester, will start off in the first two acts good. Whilst the "Bad" characters, in this case Gonerill, Regan, Cornwall and Edmond, begin in the bad position. Then soon the "Good" characters begin their downfall and gradually fall down towards act three, where they will hit the bottom of their downfall. The "Bad" characters would rise above the "Good" characters in act three. Act three is the mid-point of the story where the main action of the story begins. After act three, the "Good" characters will climb up again in acts four and five, where the "Bad" characters fall back down to once they started. The hero, Lear, (like most heroes in Shakespeare's plays) would have wealth and is a powerful figure, with a complex personality. At the start of the play, Lear had a great deal of material wealth, with a high powerful position in society, "Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester. ...read more.

Middle

Act1 scene1 line107. He then banishes Kent, because Kent was protecting Cordelia, "Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least... Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here."Act1 scene1 line146. This caused his downfall to be greater because if Kent (his trusty, loyal servant) wasn't banished Lear's downfall may not be as great. Although Kent was still serving Lear in disguise, he was unable to help him as much because he mustn't be found out by the King. In the first two acts, Shakespeare reflects the tension by using imagery of the elements of storm, "Winter's not gone yet if the wild geese fly that way." Act2 scene4 line43, "We'll set thee to an ant, to teach thee there's no labouring i'th'winter." Act 2 scene4 line62. This indicates that trouble will be lying ahead. The first quote means that winter is still here and will not go away if you go that way. Winter is portrayed as a bad season because there is often stormy weather in that season. The second quote is a metaphor of winter, which predicts that there will be trouble ahead. The storm in the play reflected on how bad it was going for Lear, this would deepen his downfall, as nature was also acting against him, "Blow, winds and crack cheeks. ...read more.

Conclusion

He tries to make amends, even though it's too late, by suggesting that he will drink poison if she would give him any. In the beginning, Lear was quite ignorant, which contributed to his downfall, but he has gained some knowledge and become a little wiser. At the end, Lear shows his weaker side because he doesn't use the royal "we", "I have seen the day with my good biting falchion." This is a comparison to what he was like at the beginning of the play. From a tall powerful figure, to a normal person. The comparison would make his downfall seem greater as there is something to compare to look as if it there is a huge gap. You can see that King Lear has travelled from being the ruler of the Kingdom to a almost like a beggar, losing absolutely everything, his sanity, possessions and family. All of this started by his tragic flaw, which is his greed in love. Lear's character contributed quite a lot to his downfall because he was quite selfish, as he wanted love from his daughters. Although Lear died at the end, he has learnt from his experience and has become a better person. As you progress through the story you find out that Lear's downfall is great as his selfish, ignorant personality contributes it to go further. ...read more.

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