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An Overview of King Lear

Uploaded by jamie83 on Jan 13, 2012

Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear is a detailed
description of the consequences of one man's decisions.
This fictitious man is Lear, King of England, who's
decisions greatly alter his life and the lives of those
around him. As Lear bears the status of King he is, as one
expects, a man of great power but sinfully he surrenders
all of this power to his daughters as a reward for their
demonstration of love towards him. This untimely abdication
of his throne results in a chain reaction of events that
send him through a journey of hell. King Lear is a
metaphorical description of one man's journey through hell
in order to expiate his sin.
As the play opens one can almost immediately see that
Lear begins to make mistakes that will eventually result in
his downfall. The very first words that he speaks in the
play are :-

"...Give me the map there. Know that we have
In three our kingdom, and 'tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age,
Conferring them on younger strengths while we
Unburdened crawl to death..."
(Act I, Sc i, Ln 38-41)

This gives the reader the first indication of Lear's intent
to abdicate his throne. He goes on further to offer pieces
of his kingdom to his daughters as a form of reward to his
test of love.

"Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous
And here are to be answered. Tell me, my
(Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state),
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
where nature doth with merit challenge."
(Act I, Sc i, Ln 47-53)

This is the first and most significant of the many sins that
he makes in this play. By abdicating his throne to fuel his
ego he is disrupts the great chain of being which states
that the King must not challenge the position that God has
given him. ...

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Uploaded by:   jamie83

Date:   01/13/2012

Category:   Shakespeare

Length:   9 pages (1,951 words)

Views:   1440

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