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King Lear Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

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Introduction

English Journal Entry King Lear I.I 138-180 Pride is perhaps the most recurring theme and character trait in literature dating back to Shakespearean era. Often, Shakespeare has shown the devastating effects of pride and its consequences for both the proud character and their associates. This particular passage is used by Shakespeare to emphasize the characterization of Kent as well as to develop Lear's character using literary devices such as allusions and diction, foreshadow future proceedings of the plot, and most prominently, through use of imagery, the reinforcement of themes including illusion versus reality and sight versus blindness. Through his use of diction and specific allusions, Shakespeare, develops Kent's and Lear's character. The very first address by Kent to Lear established Kent as a loyal and faithful advisor of the king. Initiating his suggestion with the word 'royal' (line 138) reflects the esteem and status which Kent associates with his liege lord. ...read more.

Middle

Yet, despite Lear's anger, Kent states that truth and thus established his character as truly courageous. Having characterized Kent as loyal, dedicated, faithful, and courageous, Shakespeare emphasizes the wise nature of Kent in several lines of the passage. Lines 148 to 153 reflect the wisdom which Kent holds and highlight his ability to see beyond the portrayed and make deductions on his own. The revelation of Kent's perspective on the daughters' reactions and his thought process on it show his wise character. Not only can Kent see beyond the 'flattery' (line 147) of the older sisters, he also states the fact that the youngest daughter 'does not love [Lear the] least'. The insight shown by Kent distinguishes him from his royal liege as Lear fails to see past the flattery of Regan and Goneril. These examples from the passage clearly demonstrate how Shakespeare establishes Kent's character as loyal, faithful, dedicated, courageous, and wise. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Lear, blinded by his pride refuses to listen to Kent's advice and banishes him from the kingdom. This act of banishment also shows the impulsive nature of Lear as he first disowns his most beloved daughter, and then banishes his most loyal advisor from the kingdom. Thus Shakespeare characterizes Lear as an authoritarian, commanding, proud, and impulsive character. There exist various quotes within the passage which foreshadow upcoming events as wells as the fate of the characters involved in the passage. The first four lines of the passage already reflect the dedicated nature of Kent and thus foreshadow that Kent's loyalty will not waiver and he will return to the king in some manner even after he was banished. Kent's language constantly hints at the possibility of his return due to his care for Lear. 'Let me remain the blank of thine eye' shows the intentions Kent to be granted Lear's company so that he may guide and counsel Lear concerning the king's actions. Lear's actions of acting impulsive at occasions such as at hand also reflects and foreshows the future irrational behavior shown by Lear towards his peers. ...read more.

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