• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4

Discuss how Shakespeare illustrates the character of Lear changing during the play.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss how Shakespeare illustrates the character of Lear changing during the play. In the play, Shakespeare develops the character of Lear from a King oblivious to the feelings and intentions of others, into a loving father, who cares deeply for his daughter. The play is a tragedy. The dictionary offers 'play in which the hero is destroyed by a personal failing in adverse circumstances' as a definition. King Lear certainly fits the bill, although it could be argued that he is not altogether a hero at the start. Act 1 Scene 1 King Lear decides to divide his kingdom up between his daughters. But why is he doing this? He wishes to give up his responsibilities but retain the power associated with Kingship. This on its own is very self-centric behaviour, wanting power but the burden of leadership. "To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths while we Unburdened crawl toward death" The way Lear is deciding how much land to give his daughters is to judge how much they love him, irrespective of how well they could rule. ...read more.

Middle

Kent attempts to reason with him, but Lear's anger continues to persecute the innocent. Despite Kent's loyal service and truthful words Lear, blinded by his power, banishes Kent, his best friend, from his kingdom. This is perhaps the first sign of Lear's madness, which strengthens greatly later in the play. "Thy youngest daughter does not love you the least" "Turn thy hated back upon our kingdom" Act 3 Scenes 2 - 4 Lear is no longer oblivious to his elder daughters' mistreatment of him and realises he was foolish to dismiss Cordelia and Kent. He is initially self-pitying, dropping the 'royal we'. "I never" This shows another change in attitude. On the heath there is a storm. But the storm is an example of pathetic fallacy; it reflects Lear's internal thoughts through a form of personification. Shakespeare shows this in several ways in the scenes. Lear is talking to the storm, but if the storm is a reflection of him, he is essentially talking to himself. Many people consider talking to yourself to be a sign of madness. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Howl, howl, howl, howl!" This is a new form of a combination of blindness and madness. He is unable to see anything other than his favourite daughter Cordelia, although moving away from being self-centric; he is now only able to see her. This is another large shift in character since Act 3. Shakespeare uses repetition to show Lear's emotion. Conclusion At the start of the play Lear is very self-centered and oblivious to the lies he is facing. He then realises the truth, becomes mad due to his actions but also develops a sense of caring for others. Unfortunately the death of Cordelia makes him mad with grief and he is unable to care about anything else. This could be considered similar to the beginning of the play, however I think it is very different, because Lear is no longer 'blind' (at least not as much) and has a reason for his behaviour. I believe the character of Lear provides a strong moral: those who are self-centered and easily blinded by others will have a unhappy ending - perhaps a tragic one. Unfortunately those who might benefit from this moral are unlikely to realise it applies to them. by Greg Auger ...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. A Consideration of the way Shakespeare presents and develops the theme of blindness in ...

    retain the trappings of majesty without the 'cares and business', of ruling. Lear attempts to do this by dividing power from responsibility. It is easy to see the division of his kingdom as a kind gesture, but on deeper examination we realize how false his values are, and his desire to rely on Cordelia's 'kind nursery is purely selfish.

  2. Discuss the notion of appearance and reality in the play King Lear.

    Lear is fooled by Gonerill's and Regan's superficial and elegant speeches and fails to recognise Cordelia's and Kent's honesty. Lear appears to be powerful with his hundred knights as they are a symbol of might and importance, but in reality he is not, as he is treated with the 'weary negligence' by Oswald and other servants as requested by Goneril.

  1. Character Analyses - King Lear

    Critical Essays Kingship and Lear Integrity, compassion, and justice are important facets of an effective king. The king ismore than the physical evidence of a strong and united government. The king is God's representative on earth, and as such, serves as a model of behavior for all his subjects, who look to their king for guidance, strength, and hope.

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

    Lear is going mad and exits Gloucester castle in the middle of a raging storm along with the fool and Kent. Regan Gonerill and Cornwall agree to shut the doors behind Lear justifying their actions by saying his knights are a danger to them.

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

    eyes are fierce but thine do comfort and not burn." But again, his words have no effect. The audience have the added insight and it is obvious to us of the falseness and utter hopelessness of Lear's beliefs. These visual signs of his deterioration, his beggary, and reversion to flattery

  2. A Consideration of the way Shakespeare presents and develops the theme of blindness in ...

    In the first act, the audience views Lear as a tyrannical patriarch and a demanding child. This is necessary, as later in the play we will see his character develop, and Shakespeare will reveal his better qualities. This will allow us to sympathise with him, making the play more tragic.

  1. A Consideration of the way Shakespeare presents and develops the theme of blindness in ...

    so we'll live and pray and sing,' During his time on the heath, Lear considers those things which he selfishly paid little attention to whilst he had power. These things are still relevant today, and relate to the wretched condition of the poor, the corrupt justice system and true necessity.

  2. Discuss the Theme of Alienation In Two of the

    Of course, the evil characters are also dead, but their punishment is to be expected according to the laws of divine justice." This in a way alienates the audience from the expected sense of justice which should have occurred where the good characters live happily ever after and the audience is faced with this situation of sacrifice of good characters.

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