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

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Introduction

Discuss the notion of appearance and reality in the play. King Lear is based on appearance and reality. Both fathers in the main plot and the subplot deal with children who deceive by appearances. Lear is taken by false words and appearances just as Gloucester is. Add to this several characters in the play appear to be someone but they turn out to be others such as Edgar disguised as a beggar and Kent disguised as a servant. What concerns the fool, he appears to be foolish but in reality he is wise. Goneril and Regan are the personification of hypocrisy. Goneril exaggerates, by trying to deceive her father and say that her love is inadequate compared to his. The phrase 'A love that makes breath poor and speech unable' prove it. She tries to make her love seem priceless. On the other hand, Regan is no less. Regan tells her father that her own pleasure lies solely in the enjoyment of his love. The sister's love is a means to an end.(Goneril and Regan deceive their father because they cannot love him absolutely if they are married). Reality lies behind appearance when Goneril and Regan remark about their father at the end of the scene on 'the infirmity of age'. ...read more.

Middle

He pretends he doesn't want to show to his father, what he wrote. With his father, Edmund acts in a way and with his brother in another way. For Gloucester, Edgar appears the villain but his this is ironical since Edmund is the villain. He shows blind trust in Edmund much that he agrees to let Edmund discover the truth on his brother's feelings. Simply, Gloucester puts himself in his sons' power. Edmund pretends to be concerned with family honours, tries to show how loyal he is, when he uses such words as 'justice to the cause'. A number of ironies are seen for instance, when Cornwall tells Edmund, 'I hear you have shown your father a child like office' and when he says 'Nature of this trust we shall need' but all this is ironical as he is not trustworthy. In act two scene one Gloucester praises Edmund as a 'loyal and natural boy' and this shows that he accepts Edmund as his only legitimate child. Edmund does not only aim at Edgar's inheritance but consequently to his father's title. We see that appearance lies behind reality when in act three scene five, Edmund turns against his father. He does not show to Cornwall that he hates his father but he wants to prove to Cornwall, that he is loyal to the country and at the same time faithful to his 'blood'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lear tells Kent to take shelter first himself and this proves that the king starts understanding himself and others better. When he starts to talk about the poor naked wretches he realises that he should have taken much more care of the equity of justice. The king's social conscious begins to work, as in his madness the king becomes social revolutionary and from such phrase as , 'Is man no more than this?' one can confirm it. He says that, if the rich are to expose themselves to what the poor feels, they might give what they don't need to the poor and the world would be more just. The same accounts for Gloucester as only when he is blind in reality he sees. The phrase said by Gloucester, ' I have no way, and therefore want no eyes; I stumbled when I saw' confirms that when he was blind in reality he understands what is happening around him and Gloucester realises his mistake and wishes to be reconciled to Edgar. Through the several themes and one of them is, the notion of appearance and reality, the reader comes to a fuller understanding of the play. We get to feel and understand more the sufferings of King Lear and Gloucester. Aloysius Bianchi 6th Form (A) English ...read more.

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