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

Shakespeare sees madness not as a terminal illness, but as a possible phase in a person's development - Discuss with reference to King Lear.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

King Lear essay Question 1 (option A) 2. Shakespeare sees madness not as a terminal illness, but as a possible phase in a person's development. Discuss with reference to King Lear. When Lear first realises the extent of General's ingratitude, he cries out, "O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!" (Act 1, Scene 5). It is at this point that Lear begins his downward spiral toward madness. Is madness not seeing things clearly? No. Not seeing things clearly is stupidity. Madness is beyond logic, no self knowledge, "Yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself" (Act 1, Scene 1) complete abandonment and no concept of right and wrong. Stupidity is the cause of Lear's madness, and eventually, his ultimate downfall. ...read more.

Middle

Gradually Lear becomes aware of his folly in Act 2, Scene 4. "O me, my heart, my rising heart! But down!". "O, how this mother swells up toward my heart! Hysterica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow, thy elements below. Where is this daughter?" - He's done a stupid thing and now it starts to affect him physically. Development to Lear's insanity occurs in the storm scene (Act 2, Scene 4). "I have full cause of weeping. O fool, I shall go mad!" The storm is a symbol of his deteriorating emotional state. He is lost in the storm and he doesn't know what he's going to do or what he's doing. "I will do such things - what they are, yet I know not; but they shall be the terrors of the earth." ...read more.

Conclusion

(Act 5, Scene 3). While he rages against the elements, the mock trial of Goneril and Regan in the hovel is madness in the sense of his bitter anger at the injustices of the world; a venting of his rage. And he speaks the truth. "I am a man more sinned against than sinning". "Here I stand your slave, a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man, that will with two pernicious daughters". It is almost as if Shakespeare were saying that in order to achieve a sane and balanced vision of a mad world, one must go mad oneself. From the beginning of Lear's power, to his climax of insanity, he never quite makes it fully back up to the top after he reconciles with Cordelia, making King Lear one of Shakespeare's ultimate tragedies - the forces that drove Lear mad in the first place cannot be undone. ...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. 'I am a man more sinned against than sinning' III.2.59-60 To what extent do ...

    Goneril's lack of concern prove the sister's are oblivious to Lear's agitation and suffering, and they embarrassingly for Lear, insist upon measuring out his servants. The sister's continue, cruelly, to contradict Lear upon the issue of his knights, and successively, they symbolically strip Lear of everything that was once important to him, his power, his identity and his authority.

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

    In this act Lear isn't treated like a King by anyone honestly, showing that many people realise that the old man is losing his power and wealth by giving away his land and not actually being a King anymore. Gonerill finally comes out of hiding from her father.

  1. Compare the presentation of madness in Beloved and Wide Sargasso Sea. To what extent ...

    mother "she cuts off my head every night" this only emphasises that Denver is attempting to juggle her life whilst appeasing her mother through fear of being decapitated like Beloved was. We see that both Denver and Antoinette feel isolated from the society around them "now we are marooned" and

  2. Character Analyses - King Lear

    they recognize that they have violated these basic tenets, with both finally turning to nature to find answers for why their children have betrayed them. Their counterparts, Edmund, Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall, represent the evil that functions in violation of natural law.

  1. King Lear gold

    Somebody bound on a wheel of fire is in screaming agony, and so from that point, we thought, here is a man who has been in extremely violent rage and so we decided that he should be in a wheelchair, strapped down, so that at the beginning of the scene,

  2. Discuss the notion of madness in King Lear.

    The man is used to flattery and her ingratitude is hurting him. For Lear Kent (disguised) in the stocks is an insult. When Kent tells Lear that 'Your son and daughter' in reference to the ones that put him there, Lear refuses to believe that Cornwall and Regan are responsible for his servant's 'shame'.

  1. How is madness seen in King Lear?

    ." shows that no-one can understand why Lear should reject his favorite daughter, and this is what also convinces Goneril and Regan that their fathers judgment has left him. This thought of theirs is backed up by " tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself."

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

    When Cordelia refuses to say what he wishes he misinterprets this and this caused Lear to lose his temper. Lear is so irritated he actually says to Cordeila "Better thou hadst not been born, than not to have pleased me better."

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