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

Self discovery in King Lear

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Self- Discovery in King Lear Although King Lear is an estimable monarch, as revealed by the devotion of men such as Kent, he has numerable character flaws. His power as king has encouraged him to be conceited and impulsive, as his oldest daughters Regan and Goneril reflect, "The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash..." and that "he hath ever but slenderly known himself" (Act 1 Scene 1). When Lear decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan in order to have less responsibility in his old age, he creates a situation in which his eldest daughters gain authority and mistreat him, and his youngest is criticised for not accentuating her love. Lear is unable to cope with his loss of power and descends into madness. While the circumstances in which Lear finds himself are instrumental in the unfolding of this tragedy, it is ultimately not the circumstances themselves, but King Lear's rash reactions to them that lead to his downfall. In this downfall, Lear is forced to come to terms with himself as a nothing but a mortal man. Through the course of the play, King Lear goes through a process of attaining self-knowledge, or true vision of one's self and the world. ...read more.

Middle

This is a rather unpleasant statement to say to your own daughter. In fact he continues to suggest that if she should have children, let them be 'perverse and unnatural'. The turning point for the King is when he is in the storm; this represents a pathetic fallacy as the disposition of Lear reflects the atrocious weather. It is through his anger over his last confrontation with his family that the power of the storm begins the process of transition within Lear. This change which at heart is a change of vision (this is true for most of the characters in this play). What must change is how Lear perceives himself, his children, and the society around him. At the beginning of Lear's period in the storm, he is identifying the treachery of his daughters Regan and Goneril. This creates the antagonism within him. He expresses his anger by trying to coax the storm to be more ferocious to him. Lear says that since those who owe him everything are so harmful to him, why shouldn't the storm, which owes him nothing, be any less? However it is also here that Lear begins to see himself not as the omnipotent king, but as a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man. ...read more.

Conclusion

During Act 3 Scene 2, he had asked Kent, the Fool, and Edgar to "come unbutton here." The self-discovery of Lear is not just the discovery of one man's self, but the discoveries of everyone down the chain. While Cordelia teaches her father a majestic lesson of unconditional and paternal love, his other daughters, Regan and Goneril, educate Lear about greed and the hunger for power. The Fool acts as the prodding, intuitive voice of reason, sparking the King to think critically of his own actions; yet the lessons Gloucester provides of arrogance quite closely parallel to the problems Lear sustains. Kent also plays a vital role in educating this former king in the disciplines of loyalty and respect, for he is the only character to stay by Lear's side, even if it means by death. These lessons are not new to Lear; it is obvious that these qualities have escaped him only after many years of rule. Nonetheless, Lear finds himself reduced to a mere man and who is yearning to get back in touch with his sanity. It is the subordinate characters in King Lear that assist with the extensive subject of self- discovery. Word Count: 1567 ?? ?? ?? ?? Alessandra Anzante Mr Fielding ...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. King lear

    Though parallels can be drawn between the plots, this event shows that the accompaniment poor tom shows love and concern for his father as does the dramatic reunion in which sees Cordelia show love for her father. Gloucester is distraught by his blindness and the support and advice by poor

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

    The sins against him the actions of his two daughters and the evilness of Edmund are far greater than those he committed himself. While he may have started the series of events that eventually consumed the land in turmoil, it were those three who propagated the chaos.

  1. 'I am a man more sinned against than sinning' III.2.59-60 To what extent do ...

    This point is further reinforced in Act 2 scene 4, when Lear, despairingly tries in vain to convince them of his need to keep his train, he reminds them of what they own him. 'I gave you all.' Which is swiftly undercut by Regan's immediate response of 'And in good

  2. 'Explore the ways in which Shakespeare Creates sympathy for Lear in the play 'King ...

    thought, and his error of judgement could be due to his incompetence, he is now vulnerable and cant make many decisions alone as he has got rid of his guidance (Kent) and he is out numbered by his daughters therefore sympathy towards Lear increases as he becomes weak and loses

  1. The Storm Scene (Act 3.2) And The Scenes In The Hovel/Farmhouse That Follow (Act ...

    Accents would be placed on the words "drench'd" and "drown'd" to again emphasise the King's desperation. Shakespeare continues the semantic field and main theme of vision here with the word "cataracts", this shows the audience Lear still can not fully see physically because of the rain and mentally because he

  2. How Does Lear change throughout the play?

    He admits that he has changed hugely. Lear kneels in front of the fool and Kent. Lear's suffering helps him to sympathize for other people's suffering. This is symbolic as he humbles himself in relation to them. He also strips naked to recognize for himself, a poor man's life.

  1. I am a man more sinned against than sinning King Lear was written ...

    Kent bids a farewell to Lear and the rest of the kingdom and as he is leaving he praises and thanks Cordellia for her honesty but asks and pleads to Regan and Gonerill to tell their true words of love to be Lear.

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

    with Cordelia at the end of the play restores his mind and some sanity once again. Clearly, incongruity permeates this play. The incongruity in itself is essentially comic because it is odd and unexpected. The natural human reaction to something out of place or incongruous is to laugh but it can also lend us to cry, which corresponds with G.

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