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Response to Shakespeare - King Lear.

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Introduction

Response to Shakespeare Clare Bray It is undoubtable that the play of King Lear is predominately of evil, which is ultimately overcome by the forces of good. There are many variations of evil depicted in this play among them are greed, violence, hatred, madness, betrayal, avarice and envy. The most prominent form of evil, and one of the earliest in the play, is greed. Gonerill, the oldest daughter, introduces this firstly after Lear stated that due to old age he was worn out and wanted to leave the affairs of his kingdom to 'younger strengths' so that he might have time to prepare for death. To do this he divided his kingdom into three, and that each third would be a dowry, one for each of his three daughters, he then asks Gonerill how much she loves him. Gonerill, realising that because of Lear's infirmity in old age, she would be well rewarded on giving the right answer, replies saying that she loves her father more than she can say and more than anything else including her own freedom: "Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty." ...read more.

Middle

I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee from this forever." (1.1.113/116) "With my two daughters' dowers digest the third. Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her." (1.1.128/129) He also presented the Duke of Albany and the Duke of Cornwall with a `coronet` between them along with the power that it retained: "Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm, This coronet between you." (1.1.138/139) Lears madness is also apparent when Kent, Lear's most loyal and trusted friend, tried to intervene and spoke up for Cordelia saying quite literally that Lear was mad and needed saving from himself and that Gonerill and Regan had empty hearts and did not love their father like they claimed. "Be Kent unmannerly When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man?" (1.1.145/146) "Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds Reverb no hollowness." (1.1.152/154) Lear's anger grew and he turned on Kent showing us yet another evil, violence, threatening Kent's life if he said more: "Kent, on thy life, no more!" ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare also used another topic of general interest to the Elizabethans; he makes a referral to disease. This was because during the Elizabethan era the bubonic plague was rife and as a result the playhouses often had to be shut down in order to stop the spread of the disease when someone with the plague had been there: "Kill thy physician and thy fee bestow Upon the foul disease." (1.1.163/164) Among the various evils illustrated in the play of King Lear I believe that greed is not only the most prominent but also the most important to the complete work. Without the evil of greed Lear would never have expressed such anger and hatred at his daughters, Cordelia would never have been disinherited and finally killed and Kent, Lear's most faithful friend would never have been banished. Thus many of the other evils in the play were introduced as a result of the greed, Lear's madness also played an important part in this as his infirmity caused him to be unable to notice the truth about his daughters feelings for him. In addition to this, the language that was used by Shakespeare brought Lear's speeches to life and to memade them all the more powerful. 1 1 ...read more.

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