King Lear Tragedy Essay

He is excessively proud of his accomplishments as regent and, beyond that, of the love that he deserves from his three daughters.When his youngest daughter Cordelia refuses to openly affirm unlimited affection for him, Lear's wounded pride forces him to disown and expel her, leaving all his powers in the hands of his duplicitous daughters, Goneril and Regan.

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(The entire section is 888 words.) King Lear is one of Shakespeare's darkest plays; darker than Measure for Measure, darker perhaps even than Titus Andronicus.

So dark is it, that from 1681 to 1838 it was performed only in a tamed, even sedated version by Nahum Tate.

In this traditional reading of Shakespeare's King Lear, the hero's downfall, however, has redemptive qualities: a lesson is taught and learned and the audience experiences a sense of moral uplift at the end.

Several facets of the traditional Lear as tragic hero thesis are plainly valid.

Lear is presented to us by Shakespeare as the majestic monarch, ushered onto the stage with the ceremonial pomp and trumpets.

In short order, we learn that during his reign, Lear has proven himself to be an able ruler, adding to the commonwealth's prosperity and estate.

As might be considered typical of family events, tensions are exposed, and Lear's plan to divide the Kingdom between his daughters, marry Cordelia to the Duke of Burgundy and settle down to retirement in their third of the Kingdom is shattered.

The power of language to deceive is the first and most obvious point made: Goneril and Regan are willing to say whatever they feel necessary to obtain their promised share, their empty flattery receives its reward, but Cordelia's honesty precipitates disaster.

Thus, Lear is worthy of his prospective status as a tragic hero.

But, like Oedipus, Lear has a basic character defect.

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