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King Lear

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Samantha White August 2001 King Lear Coursework... King Lear is the main character in the Shakespearean tragedy also named 'King Lear'. Shakespeare took the main plot line of an aged monarch, abused by his children from a folk tale that appeared first in written form in the 12th century and was based on spoken stories that originated much further into the Middle Ages. Through the play King Lear goes through many different personalities, and also he experiences a lot of people sinning against him. While this is so, King Lear also sins against many people too. In this essay I am going to find out whether King Lear is a man more sinned against than sinning himself. King Lear actually says this in act 3, scene 2, lines 59-62. The quote for this is... "Hast practised on man's life; close pent-up guilts Rive your concealing continents, and cry These dreadful summoners grace, I am a man More sinned against than sinning" I am going to look at the sins that King Lear has committed, and also what sins Lear has experienced against himself. Looking at both of these aspects thoroughly I am going to then write a conclusion as to whether I think King Lear is a man more sinned against than sinning. At the moment I think that King Lear is actually a man more sinned against than sinning. I am firstly going to research all the sins he has committed, and then secondly research all the things that he has had sinned against him. After I have done both of these tasks, I am then going to see whether I still think the above prediction is true... The first sin Lear committed was that Lear was going to give each of his daughters: Cordelia, Regan and Goneril part of his kingdom if they told him how much they loved him, and to on the whole flatter him. ...read more.


This clearly shows that Lear doesn't understand the problems that other people have, which is also a sin that Lear has committed. From the play you can clearly see that King Lear doesn't really know his daughters very well. He thinks that they are all lovely at the beginning, and by making them flatter him he gives them part of his kingdom. Even though his daughters flatter him they don't really mean it, and during the play they plot against Lear. Even though you could class this as him being sinned against, you could also class it as him sinning by not knowing what his daughters were really like deep down inside. From all the evidence I have collected, I have decided that Lear has sinned a lot of people during the play. I cannot do a full conclusion at this time, as I haven't discussed the sins that people have committed against him, so I cannot answer the statement as to whether King Lear is a man more sinned against than sinning, just yet. I am now going to research, and write about the sins that have been committed against King Lear. Even though as I have just written about King Lear committed a lot of sins against people himself, he also had sins committed against him. Once I have written about these, I will be able to write a full conclusion about whether I think King Lear, is a man more sinned against than sinning... In the play the first sin being committed against Lear, was when his daughters go back on their word. Regan, and Goneril say to Lear that they will look after him when he is older, and Regan and Goneril right at the beginning of the play tell him how much they love him, and then behave in a manner completely the contradictory. The first real sin however was when Goneril threatens Lear that she is going to cut down his knights by half, and basically means is he doesn't go ahead with this, then he should get out. ...read more.


The part where Lear dies of a broken heart is in act 5, scene 3, lines 304-310... "And my poor fool is hanged! No, no, no life! Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have a life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never! Pray you, undo this button; thank you, sir. Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips, Look there, look there! [Dies] This quote evidently shows that Lear dies of a broken heart, when Cordelia is killed. I believe that this is the biggest sin committed through-out the whole play, the fact that Lear dies because killing the only person that Lear loved, and who made him sane, is the ultimate sin. In conclusion I feel that neither Lear was a man more sinned against than sinning, than a man sinning more than sinned against. I feel that no one really in the play sinned the most, including Lear. Lear, and almost everyone else in the play sinned against someone at some point. I think that they are all as bad as each other, and many of the sins on both sides, were for very petty reasons, which the characters over reacted to in certain situations. Although I do feel that Lear was sinned against, more than sinning himself in some way, over the fact that Cordelia was killed. I believe she was mainly killed out of spitefulness, and it was the biggest sin committed throughout the entire play, and for Lear as I have already stated, was the ultimate sin that could have been committed on him. This sin in the end led him to die of a broken heart. So in some ways I feel Lear didn't sin more, or was more sinned against, yet in other ways I think that he was more sinned against, in the respect that he had the ultimate sin played against him. ...read more.

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