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

Shakespeare presents King Lear has a man of extremes. Discuss the significance of this.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shakespeare presents King Lear has a man of extremes. Discuss the significance of this. In a tragedy everything is more extreme because this emphasises the story. The story is usually about a character of power because whatever they do has a more extreme impact on society. The tragic hero is there to make us feel pity and fear. This is probably why the tragic hero is always presented in a 'larger than life' way. Lear is a classic example of the tragic hero. Lear doesn't just have a row with Cordelia he "disclaims all paternal care" and banishes her. Even Lear's transition from arrogant to humility is extreme. Lear does not just feel slight guilt; he begins to question all his and societies' flaws. Lear reaches extremes of anger and bitterness very quickly. When Cordelia refuses to express her love for her father he immediately overreacts and says, "I disclaim all paternal care" and banishes her. This presents Lear as rash because he did not allow time to think of what Cordelia was actually saying. Cordelia says, "my loves more ponderous than my tongue". This shows Cordelia's love is the most genuine because she feels whatever she says will be less meaningful than what she really does feel. ...read more.

Middle

Lear doesn't even wish to carry on living because he is so haunted by his past. I feel sympathy for Lear because he is willing to drink poison from his own daughter because he feels he has done her so wrong. Yet Cordelia is willing to forgive Lear. Shakespeare wants to remind the audience that true love will always stand firm against the tests of time and emerge stronger still. Even King Lear's sudden wisdom is extreme. Shakespeare portrays Lear in a way that encourages the audience to question society and justice. When Lear is discussing justice he puts forward a thought provoking idea of how the "strong lance of justice" breaks so easily at the rich because thy can "Plate sins with gold". On the other hand "a pigmy's straw does pierce" the poor so easily because they have nothing or little to protect them. This phrase brings to the surface the terrible flaws of our justice system which is meant to offer a fair trial but because the poor are unable to afford the best defence they are easier to incriminate. Lear has become insightful since his ordeal with his daughters. He also realises that he too has mistreated the poor in act three scene five Lear says, "I have taken too little care of this". ...read more.

Conclusion

Another word which I found powerful was "vault" because vaults are strong containers that are very tough to break. They can only be opened by a code. I viewed this as Cordelia's death being the box which has trapped Lear inside with no way because Cordelia's life is the code, but she is gone. Without this code Lear cannot open the vault yet he feels he could open it with his emotions alone. This shows that Lear is a man of great mental strength to believe that he could break open a vault that no one else could. My admiration for Lear deepens has his true character begins to emerge from the emotionless Lear. Shakespeare wants to show the audience Lear is capable of emotional strength but years of being King is what made him arrogant. Shakespeare presents Lear as a man of many extremes, encouraging the audience to question people in power and how they affect society. The interesting way in which Shakespeare order's Lear's many extreme characteristics is important in emphasising these questions. The way Lear changes from arrogant and selfish to caring and self-aware moves. The audience is so moved by the transformation in his character, it makes us begin to question ourselves because if someone was once so arrogant can become so wise we too should consider trying to improve the world for the better. ...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 an essay about Shakespeare's presentation of women in "King Lear".

    The scene also shows that Goneril is going to join forces with Regan to stop Lear from overruling them. "I'll write straight to my sister to hold my very course" There Goneril is telling Oswald that she is going to write to Regan, and tell her that she should act like her when Lear goes to her house.

  2. Representation of Women in 'King Lear'

    Being the only one of Lear's daughters who actually loves him, Cordelia refuses to profess blinding love for her father, instead offering only that which is true. When pushed by Lear to profess her love, she exclaims: "Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth; I

  1. Self discovery in King Lear

    The girl, who accentuates their love for him to an extent that almost seems artificial, shall receive the largest area of land. This is evident as he gives each daughter her land before even hearing the next daughter's praise. It is because of his love for admiration that makes him

  2. King lear

    place and there are doubts in the audience's minds about the character Lear's sanity, just from the opening scene. "When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, old man?" Shakespeare uses the fool and his relationship with the character Lear to reveal Lear's state of mind.

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

    We deplore her all the more for her cold, detached and simply rude response to her Fathers' desperate pleas for residence "Return you to my sister!" she uncompromisingly commands. We are aware now that Lear is utterly without hope with the combined forces of both his daughters working against him.

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

    the good from the bad; unfortunately, his lack of sight prevented him to do so. Lear's first act of blindness came at the beginning of the play. First, he was easily deceived by his two eldest daughters' lies, then, he was unable to see the reality of Cordelia's true love

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

    voice to begin with but sounding increasingly agitated as the word "Blow!" is repeated. Lear would accent the word "crack" to make it sound very harsh, as though it was painful to say. The volume of Lear's words would begin fairly quiet, but as his anger increases so would the volume.

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

    Kings were seen as the foundation strength of the country and, if they showed weakness, it would show the whole country to be unstable. This entire speech and scene invites ridicule of King Lear because he is so blinded to his mistakes and the incongruity of his current behaviour.

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