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

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  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. It was so easy for Cordelia’s sisters to say what their father wants to hear rather than what is true. It frustrates me that Lear could be so blinded by is arrogance that he ignores such a strong show of love. Lear appears arrogant because he is choosing to listen to what he wishes to hear rather than what is true. It is this arrogance that creates so many problems. Shakespeare is trying to put forward the idea that humanity has a great flaw when it comes to communication and they way we understand it. When we fail to communicate properly it could have catastrophic consequences. In the case of  Lear he has disclaimed Cordelia because she choose not to express her love for him and Lear could not understand this because for many years people have told Lear whatever he wishes to hear. 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.” I feel appalled that Lear could wish such a thing upon his own child. This shows just how extreme Lear’s rash attitude has become. He shows even more attitudes when his other daughters betray him.

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   Another way in which this rashness is shown is in Lear’s attitude to the human race. When Lear is yelling out to the storm he says “Into her womb convey sterility.” This horrified me because he is asking for his daughter to become sterile, which would mean no grandchildren to carry on the genes or family name. Lear takes this extreme dislike of woman even further by accusing all women has being evil. Lear expresses his view that the vagina is a “sulphurous pit” because it allows the birth of children. Since Lear has been ...

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