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

King Lear - Lear Exclaims in Act 3 That He is "More Sinned Against Than Sinner". Do You Agree With This Assessment Of Himself?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lear Exclaims in Act 3 That He is "More Sinned Against Than Sinner". Do You Agree With This Assessment Of Himself? Justice and judgment are key themes in King Lear. The first act shows how Lear treats his beloved Cordelia and his faithful servant Kent with unjustifiable banishment. As the play continues we become aware that Lear becomes a victim of injustice at the hands of Goneril and Regan. To explore Lear's statement that he is "more sinned against than sinner" we need to examine some key moments in the play and examine if Lear is an offender or victim of injustice and whether in his madness he has redeemed himself. The first words we hear Lear speak reflect his presence and powerful personality. This is a king that commands respect and expects all to jump at his command. He barks his abrupt order at Gloucester "Attend the lords of France and Burgundy" (1/1/29) As we read further into Act 1 Scene 1 we learn he is a demanding father and commands love from his daughters the same way he commands his subjects. When his beloved Cordelia refuses to bestow on him an extravagant declaration of love he flies into a terrible rage and disclaims "All paternal care" (1/1/107) When his loyal servant Kent attempts to intervene on Cordelia's behalf he too is banished. Lear is not used to being contradicted and on his own admittance he tells Kent to "come not between the dragon and his wrath" (1/1/116). ...read more.

Middle

They have driven him out into the storm hoping this will bring about his death. King Lear's death would ensure that he did not attempt to reclaim his throne and land. In the last of his powerful kingly speeches he raves at the storm and calls for an end to "ingratful man" (3/2/9) It is here that he first admits and despairs at his own foolish folly as a "poor, infirm, weak and despised old man"(3/2/19) However he is still obsessed with ingratitude and this forces him into metaphorical blindness. He cannot see life as a whole. Kent, the fool and Cordelia are not ungrateful. The theme of divine justice and the images of the last judgement are perpetuated as Lear calls on the god's to "find out their enemies" and destroy them. Lear has no fear of the god's wrath as he feels he is a victim, "a man more sinned against than sinning" (3/2/58) He bears the suffering of the storm with impassive dignity. "No, I will be the pattern of all patience. I will say nothing." (3/2/36) Lear's pivotal turning point comes as we see him for the first time show compassion for fellow humans. He shows for the first time an extraordinary tenderness for the fool. "poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart/That's sorry for thee"(3/2/70) He ushers the fool into the hovel urging "in boy, go first" the irony is that by humbling himself he is lifted spiritually. ...read more.

Conclusion

They dishonoured him, humiliated him and stripped him of his power. They locked their doors and let an old man face the ravages of a storm. Finally, they plotted and schemed to kill him. The source of their evil is in their absence of love or respect for their father. They set their own self-interests and ambitions above any traditional bonds. Once they have the power they desired they have no further interest in Lear .He is simply a nuisance and gets in the way. In the tender scene of reconciliation, Act 4 Scene 6, Cordelia's speech before Lear awakes, emphasises the extent to which Lear has been a victim at the hands of Goneril and Regan: "..and let this kiss/ repair those violent harm that my two sisters / Have in thy reverence made." (4/6/27) When Lear awakes, both he and Cordelia attempt to kneel. She is honouring her king and he is begging her forgiveness. Lear now understands how limited his understanding is. Finally, Is King Lear more sinned against than sinner? It is clear that the answer is yes. King Lear is as much of a victim as he is perpetrator. Furthermore, King Lear through his suffering and madness was able to redeem his own sins and gain the forgiveness of Cordelia. He has clearly learnt to love unconditionally. Goneril and Regan on the other hand have through their own sins of avarice and ambition brought about their own self-destruction. Beverley Fielden Access Literary Studies 1 ...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. 'Lear is more sinned against than sinning'

    Also, when Lear declares he is 'a man more sinned against than sinning', he feels mistreated by his daughters as he has not yet realised his 'fatal flaw' - his inability to recognise - and feels he has no faults and has committed no sins.

  2. Discuss Shakespeare's treatment of madness in "King Lear".

    Goneril agitates Lear. Regan becomes harsher with Lear. Lear remains stubborn. Lear fears he is losing his wits and curses Goneril. Regan contradicts him and suggests a further reduction to his knight train. Lear tries to remind his daughters of everything he gave them.

  1. Representation of Women in 'King Lear'

    many audiences as an angelic Christ-like character, if not made clear by her virtues, then by her self-sacrifice to save others - she is Lear's salvation. Feminist reading of 'King Lear' indicates that feminist scholars have challenged precious notions and assumptions about "man's destiny" in a tragic universe.

  2. 'I am a man more sinned against than sinning to what extent do you ...

    The King is of an advanced age. Though he will not, can not, admit it, senility is advancing upon him, clouding his brain and influencing his judgement.

  1. An analysis of the theme of justice in 'King Lear'.

    After Kent was banished, he created a disguise for himself and was eventually hired by Lear as a servant. Lear's inability to determine his servant's true identity proved once again how blind Lear actually was. He realized how wicked his two eldest daughters really were after they locked him out of the castle during a tremendous storm.

  2. Compare and contrast Lear and Macbeth's effectiveness as Kings.

    He becomes ineffective once he tries to remain King whilst giving away his Kingdom. Perhaps this is the point where Lear has become senile and his actions are not entirely his fault. The role of the Fool is created by Shakespeare as a clever structural divide.

  1. King lear

    This is a place in the play where it moves through the individual to the social but also of the very form of the play. "Reverse thy doom." Shakespeare uses other characters and the dialogue in the play to show their bemusement at the scene of events that have taken

  2. "I am more sinned against than sinner". Discuss

    Here they are discussing Lear's unpredictable nature and rash fickle mind. This prepares us for the forthcoming scene where we hear it from his own mouth deciding the nations fate from three testimonies of his daughters loves, "Which one of should we say doth love us most."

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