• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

King Lear: a tragedy caused by arrogance, rash decisions and poor judgement of character.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Jamie Keogh English King Lear: a tragedy caused by arrogance, rash decisions and poor judgement of character. Shakespeare lays out the fate of all the characters in Ling Lear within the first scene of the play, leaving no doubt in the audience's mind that a terrible mistake is taking place, because of the way other characters react, Kent for example. Ironically the king states his wish "that future strife be prevented" by his division of the kingdom between his three daughters on declarations of their love. He is both na�ve and vain in believing that carving up his kingdom in this way will create anything other than rivalry and disaster. Two of his daughters, Goneril and Regan, are prepared to flatter him because they both have ambitions for power and wealth, while the youngest, Cordelia, will not exaggerate her true feelings: that of a loving daughter, "I love your majesty according to my bond: nor more nor less." ...read more.

Middle

And Regan declares she is "an enemy to all other joys". Cordelia reacts fearfully in an aside "Then poor Cordelia," but determines to be honest. Lear, of course is blind to this, highly delighted with Goneril and Regan's unrealistic praise, he judges Cordelia's simple statement more as insult than proper emotion from a daughter. The play starts with the decisive moment, the carving up of a kingdom. But we get a good idea of what it was like before. Kent speaks passionately about his loyalty to the king, " Loved as my father," and "Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak, when power to flattery bows?" This signals to the audience the king's error and complete lack of judgement against someone with a history of obedience and trustworthiness. ...read more.

Conclusion

The play's subplot of the sons of Gloucester explores similar themes of jealousy, betrayal, greed and revenge, where those in a position of power and authority are easily fooled and quick to judge. Gloucester is as ready to believe his son conspires against him, as Lear is to believe that Cordelia lacks devotion. They both choose to trust their lying offspring instead. Ultimately every character is destined to suffer because of the above misjudgements. Lear himself only begins to think of others after he loses everything but it is too late then to alter what he has done. He becomes wise to his own faults and selfish decisions, but only when he is made humble by poverty, only when he realises the mistake he made with his daughter, Cordelia, who forgives him. This is Shakespeare's strongest message of the play: how to measure what really is worthwhile. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE King Lear essays

  1. Character Analyses - King Lear

    The division of any kingdom is not without risk, but even before his action has the opportunity to create adversity, Lear establishes a competition, which complicates an already dangerous decision. Competitions, by their very nature, result in winners and losers.

  2. Explore the Ways in Which Shakespeare Presents the Character of King Lear.

    The effect on the audience is one of shock, as this is the first time that a character has questioned his position as king... until this comment, the title has remained in use. But Lear is now, without his crown, indeed little more than a 'lady's father'.

  1. Explore shakespeare's use of the Renaissance idea of fatalism and imagery linked to the ...

    situation, that he will never be equal to his legitimate brother, we know that Gloucester says Edgar is 'no dearer in my account' suggesting that has every intention of accepting responsibility and treating the two brothers as equal sons. Edmund's bitterness motivates him into a fight for more than equality.

  2. Adaptations of Ling Lear

    and in line 36- "we, unburdened, crawl toward death." Here, the metaphors of the nursery and crawling are suggestive of Lear's emotional maturity, which is currently no more than that of a very small child. Shakespeare uses a similar technique to position the audience to be less sympathetic towards Goneril

  1. In William Shakespeare's tragedy, King Lear,the issue of sight on many levels is a ...

    Lear only learns that Kent is a noble and loyal person just prior to his death, when he finally gains sight. By this time though, it is too late for Lear and Kent to build an honest relationship. Lear's sight is also tainted by his lack of direction and by not being able to see the consequences of his actions.

  2. King Lear gold

    and horror and, you hope, a sense of self-discovery, the moment at which a child says no to you, and you realise they're contradicting you. This is what one hopes for every parent, and for every child - that the parent finds it in themselves to say wonderful, they're contradicting

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

    Act1 Scene1 line32. Because Lear is in a very powerful position, it will make his downfall greater because he has further to go till he reaches rock bottom. The start of the tragic flaw is often in the hero's personality (generally) and the flaw will be shown in Act1.

  2. An Analysis of the Role of Comedy in Shakespeares Great Tragedy King Lear

    In rage and self pity, Lear cries: ?as this mouth should tear this hand for lifting food to?t.? This may be interpreted as comic for its dramatic irony; however, it could also be interpreted as tragic because he was such a powerful character and to see him reduced to such a level, regardless of his folly, is deeply saddening.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work