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'King Lear is a play without any hope.' Do you agree with this statement? What hope if any, can you find in the play? Examine the ways in which Shakespeare presents this idea.

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Introduction

'King Lear is a play without any hope.' Do you agree with this statement? What hope if any, can you find in the play? Examine the ways in which Shakespeare presents this idea. Shakespeare's King Lear is a play that focuses on the close relationships of certain characters. Some of these characters are good, while some of them are evil. These characters raise and sink the audience's hope throughout the play. In King Lear, there are some aspects of the play that appear to have no hope. This is shown through families being destroyed, madness, and the death of certain characters. However, some characters, including Lear, Kent, Edgar and Cordelia show there are signs of hope, through their realisations of their mistakes and their loyalty. As soon as the play begins, Shakespeare immediately gives the impression that this is a play without hope. In the first scene an unstable Lear abdicates his throne, leaving the country to his daughters. Two of the sisters speak in prose at the end of the first scene. Speaking in prose usually means a character is not very well educated. However, in this occasion Shakespeare probably used the prose to show the audience not that they were low in society, but they are of low character, which highlights their character faults. ...read more.

Middle

However, news of the battle at the end of the scene, suggests the harmony that is achieved here is already under threat. This could have shattered the audience's hope once again. One of the strongest signs of hope in the play is shown in Cordelia. She is true and honest, which is shown when she refuses to take part in the competition to gain her part of the country. She believes that falsely flattering Lear is wrong, which shows that she loves her father with more depth and sincerity than her self absorbed sisters. Instead, Cordelia says "Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty According to my bond; nor more nor less" This shows that even though she wants to obey her father, she cannot, as she wants to stay true to her beliefs. Unfortunately, staying true to her beliefs led her to be banished from the kingdom, as Lear could not read between the lines. Even though Cordelia has been banished, there is still hope for her, as Shakespeare rewards her with the king of France. He still accepts her as his bride, as he can see how good she is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Edgar has also experienced life on both sides of society. He has also proved himself to be a worthy king, by suffering such hardships and remaining strong throughout. Edgar would also be able to help out the poor of the country, which would be an improvement on the previous monarchs as they lived a pampered life, which did not make them great monarchs. With this new monarch the audience can finally feel that the problems that occurred in the play can be put in the past and the country can be finally united once again. In conclusion, King Lear is infused with notions of hope, though they were often short lived and other times were only illusions. However justice seems to have been served at the end. There was plenty of evidence of King Lear being a play with no hope, but the ending manages to give the audience hope for the future. Shakespeare has shown in the play that evil will always be present and there is no hope of that changing, but eventually good will be dominant in the world of King Lear. So to sum up King Lear is a great tragedy that is full of injustice at the beginning and the restoring of justice towards the end. Word count:2025 Michelle Stevenson ...read more.

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