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How far would you accept Lear's view of himself as a man

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Introduction

King Lear How far would you accept Lear's view of himself as a man "more sinned against than sinning"? "King Lear" is a play all about the cruelty of human nature and the ways in which all people, "good" and "bad", can sin, or be sinned against. Lear is a very difficult character to categorise as either "good" or "bad" as he is both "sinned against" and "sinning". It is also very difficult to use these sins as a measure of his character as they a varying in severity. When we first meet Lear he is in the process of dividing his kingdom into three, preparing to hand it to his three daughters. This is a sin, as according to The Divine Right of Kings, each monarch is chosen by God, and is there fore answerable to none but him. Having been chosen by God to rule, it would be wrong for him to surrender his sovereignty. Apart from this, it was incredibly foolish of Lear to give the crown to more than one heir, as it leaves a huge problem of a possible civil war. ...read more.

Middle

However, I feel that they can be forgiven this sin, as their father had left them with little choice, as is shown by his mistreatment of Cordelia. This must be counted as a sin against the King, as Goneril and Regan did lie with vicious intent. Considering that the daughter's sin stemmed from that of the father, we must still consider Lear the greater sinner at this point. Having divided his kingdom, Lear intends to stay with his daughters. This may be considered as imposing on the girls, but Lear is left with very little choice, as he has sent away the daughter he intended to stay with. He is forced to stay with each of his two remaining for alternate months, as Regan reveals and the end of Act 1, Scene 1: "That's most certain, and with you; next month with us." Lear has been, up until this point, fooled by his daughter's feigned love for him, and is genuinely shocked and upset when his daughter's contempt for him is finally revealed. "Does any here know me? ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the fait of Gloucester and Cordelia is very difficult to account for. Lear certainly blames himself. Lear feels particularly guilty about Cordelia's fate. "I might have sav'd her; now she's gone for ever!" Lear was not with Cordelia when she was hanged, and when he arrived it was too late for her, and for this he cannot forgive himself. It is certainly due to Lear that these deaths were allowed to take place, but I think that we must acknowledge Edmund, Goneril and Regan as the sinners in these cases. In conclusion, I feel that, though the King made many foolish and unforgivable mistakes, they all stemmed from one fatal error of judgement; his belief in his daughter's and ally's love and respect for him. He realises his mistakes and shows great remorse. Edmund, Goneril and Regan are the sinners of this play as they were, at all times, aware of the evil of their plots and only seem to regret being found out. I believe that Lear is justified in declaring himself to be "more sinned against than sinning". Word Count - 1204 English Literature. Stephanie Carter. - 2 - ...read more.

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