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

Patriarchy or Matriarchy: Who Has the Real Power in Shakespeare's King Lear?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Patriarchy or Matriarchy: Who Has the Real Power in Shakespeare's King Lear? Robert Di Lorenzo Mr. Naccarato ENG 3U1-02 15 November 2004 Robert Di Lorenzo Mr. Naccarato ENG 3U1-02 15 November 2004 Patriarchy or Matriarchy: Who Has the Real Power in Shakespeare's King Lear? Throughout recorded history, men are seen as the ones with fundamental power; they are the ones that possess leadership qualities and management capabilities. Men are ruthless, barbaric, cold-blooded and merciless, thus making them the individuals sitting a top the executive chain, the figures making the influential decisions, and the people in the important world leading roles. The world has yet to see a system of government dominated by women. On the contrary, it is said that a loyal husband will not purchase a vehicle without consent from his wife, though the wife may not know a thing about cars. On the familial level, the women are the individuals with the power, influencing the husband and children's decisions. The women are those who control the conventional lives of society. So who has the real power: men who control the organization, or women who control mainstream, everyday life? ...read more.

Middle

In my true heart / I find she names my very deed of love, / Only she comes too short, that I profess / Myself an enemy to all other joys / Which the most precious square of sense possesses, / And find I am alone felicitate / In your dear Highness' love. (Lr. 1.1.70-8). Di Lorenzo 3 In this, both sisters show their ruthlessness to gain power and control. They do not care whether they are telling the truth or not. All that matters is if they gain the power of land. In an attempt to gain more control, Regan is the first to openly betray Lear. She, with the aid of Goneril, wishes to throw Lear out of his own house so that she may rule without his influence. Throwing her own father out into the cold shows her masculine callousness. Regan also takes part in the blinding of Gloucester and kills the outraged servant with a sword. Swordplay is something never done by a proper lady, yet in this case, the role reversal proves Regan righteous to kill the servant. Goneril's bid for power causes her virtuous and gentle husband, Albany, to turn on her. ...read more.

Conclusion

In her role as Queen of France, Cordelia takes hold of the power to lead the French army into Britain to overthrow the rule of her two ruthless sisters. When she accompanies her army into battle, she, unfortunately, is captured and hung. Lear, finally coming to the realization that Cordelia, his favorite daughter, was the only one who truly loved him, dies out of grief from her death. And my poor fool is hanged! No, no, no life! Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never! ... Do you see this? Look on her! Look! Her lips! Look there, look there! (Lr. 5.3.305-310) Lear's death marks the proof of Cordelia's ultimate role as a matriarch. Shakespeare undoubtedly contradicts the social order that has been historically prevalent; that of patriarchy ruling the world. He has reversed the roles of society so that the women in King Lear are the ones in ultimate power. They, though non-existent at the end of the play, exhibit the most influence among any character. The women in King Di Lorenzo 5 Lear cause death, insanity, confusion, marriage, divorce, war, disguise, banishment and hate. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 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 University Degree King Lear essays

  1. Kingship and leadership and their absence have major implications in the play King Lear. ...

    "Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my band; no more nor less." Lear was expecting much more than this. He was reluctant to hear anything which did not fit his own conception.

  2. King Lear Is a Play Based Upon Love, Betrayal and Conflict. Discuss how King ...

    to ensure the performance of the country was exceptional compared to rival countries, hence he had the responsibility to maintain stability for his country, as well as live a family life. Lear: "Who is it that can tell me who I am?"

  1. Review and interpretation of King Lear

    What we are dealing with here is not just a single old man (important as that point of view is), but with human beings generally. Third, the central struggle in the play (other than the main one going on in Lear's own mind)

  2. War is Peace: Perceptual and Societal Death and Rebirth in William Shakespeare's, "King Lear.

    c***s...Crack nature's molds, all germens spill at once that makes ingrateful man." (III.ii. 1-11) In this passage, using incredibly natural imagery Lear almost personifies his inner battle by challenging the storm itself. Lear's own insanity and the tempest outside are the naturals that bring his perceptions to a breaking point.

  1. King Lear, by William Shakespeare.

    plan "O dear son Edgar, the food of thy abused father's wrath; might I but live to see thee in my touch, I'd say I had eyes again!" (IV.i.24-27) This parallels Lear's death as he also condemns his perceptiveness and wronging of Cordelia "I have seen the day, with my good biting falchion.

  2. How might different productions dramatise the struggle between chaos and order in King Lear?

    Their hunger for more power encourages them to "do something", creating chaos in the traditional hierarchy. Another reverse of nature can be seen in the parallel plot of Gloucester, Edgar and Edmond. Edmond's greed in owning his legitimate brother, Edgar's "land" (i.e.

  1. In both plays love is insanity, taking over the rational and lucid mind by ...

    In both plays Shakespeare uses the woods. In King Lear, Lear sets off into the woods after he loses everything and only their does he understand what truly has taken place and how he was taken advantage of. In A Midsummers Night Dream Hermia and Lysander choose to escape the insanity of Athens into the woods, where they can meet in peace.

  2. The Role of Gender in Shakespeares King Lear

    as she explains to her father that, unlike her sisters, she will not lie and say that she only loves her father, for she is saving her love for her husband, should she ever be married. She was shown as a gentle, kind-hearted, selfless person as well as willing to perform any duty for her father.

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