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William Shakespeare's King Lear

Free Essays / Literature / William Shakespeare's King Lear
← Robert William Service

William Shakespeare’s King Lear centers on a fatal mistake in the judgment of character the ruler made and the subsequent loss of many lives not only evil ones but good ones too. Shakespeare wants the readers and the spectators to learn a lesson from the play that evil begets evil. Those characters that were mean and wicked died, whereas those who attempted to withstand lies and plots survived and were left to rule the kingdom. In King Lear, Goneril, Regan, and Edmund die, whereas Kent, Albany, and Edgar survive because their life choices were good.

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The play reveals that evil corrupts people into making wrong deeds that will lead to very sad and tragic outcomes. King Lear is not inherently mean but for some reason he mistook her youngest daughter’s sincerity for a lack of love and reacted to it very vehemently by taking away her part of inheritance. As a result of his unwise actions, the wholeness of power in his other daughters’ hands allowed them to treat their father badly. Initially, it was King Lear’s fault that he did not share the kingdom wisely between all three daughters. Therefore, King Lear lost his mental health and eventually he even lost his life because he could not accept the consequences of his follies.

Similarly, in the example of the Gloucester family, Shakespeare shows that corrupting actions further corrupt people and eventually destroy their lives. Edmund plotted against Edgar and faked a letter. Gloucester believed him and wanted to give Edgar’s inheritance to him. However, Edmund’s shenanigans did not bring benefit for him and eventually he received a deadly wound.

In this regard, King Lear’s and Gloucester’s families are similar in their tragedies. Both parents misjudged their children and their wrong choices led them to physical and mental illnesses. The same way as King Lear believed that his elder daughter would take care of him, Cornwall believed Edmund would be a better son that Edgar that had been defamed.

Shakespeare prompted the audience to make the decision that evil begets evil. Seeing how badly the parents of both families ended, the readers and viewers can vividly see how flattery and plots can lead unwise people astray. Meanwhile, those people who plot also do not end up happy and rich.

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