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"I am more sinned against than sinner". Discuss

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Introduction

"I am more sinned against than sinner". Discuss " I am a man more sinned against than sinning," this is Lear's evaluation of himself when he is at his weakest. To sin is to contravene the rules of God, as this play is set in times before the church played an active role in running the state the king was the only one who could say what is wrong or right. This quotation is derived from the storm scene in Act 3 Scene 2. Before we accept this we must take into account his condition. His two eldest daughters who earlier expressed a "love that makes breath poor and speech unable" and professed to be, "an enemy to all other joys", have just rejected him. He sees his suffering as being sinned against. Although the statement itself reminds us of "Which of you should we say doth love us most," we see he has improved into at least acknowledging that he has sinned. ...read more.

Middle

And thou art twice her love." The rash and rigid one-dimensional mind of Lear's is fooled many times by Goneril and Regan who combine forces to crush Lear into the ground. "We must do something and it'h' heat." Amongst the abyss of the "gilded butterflies," Lear does not see through the immorality of the truth telling Cordelia as he clearly disowns and disinherits her, "Here I disclaim all my parental care," and, "thy truth can be thy dower." Even Regan acknowledges her fathers foolishness, "Such unconstant stars are we like to have from him as this of Kent's banishment," as Kent is exiled. Goneril and Regan's true colours show when Lear comes to visit them and is cast out into the storm with the reply, "This house is little/the old man and's people cannot be well bestowed." Lear is demoralised and his mental health is fast deteriorating only his two loyal servants stay with him the fool and Kent. ...read more.

Conclusion

We finally see evidence of Lear's improving condition his meaning of love has dramatically changed and his once so important affairs of court are now left to the "poor rogues" to discuss who "wins and who loses." Hr evens acknowledges his mistakes as he offers to take poison and, "I'll kneel down and ask of thee forgiveness." Sadly this moment is short-lived as Edmund orders Cordelia's execution immediately after having killed both her sisters. The process through the book has seen Lear go from an arrogant ruler to a "bare, unacommadated man" and "despised old man." Through this process Lear gains considerable self-knowledge and learns to appreciate others. Even if we measure up the sins by and sins committed against Lear we cannot say that, "I am a man more sinned against than sinning," is completely true. Only when dead Cordelia is held in Lear's arms we can be made to sympathise with Lear. Overall we can conclude that this is a just end for Lear's abuse of power and arrogance at the throne and deserved a compromising climax for his traumatized life. ...read more.

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