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.

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Goneril claims to love Lear "more than eye sight", "A love that makes breath poor and speech unable, Beyond all manner of so much I love you." (1:-63).

Regan declares "I am alone felicitate in your dear highness' love" (1:-78).

The particular cruelty of King Lear is indicated in Shakespeare's alterations to his sources; in Holinshead's Chronicles Cordelia wins the war and restores Lear to the throne (although she does later hang herself).

This darkness of tone is accompanied and indeed reinforced by a studied vagueness of time and geography.

Cordelia gives her own comment on the deceptive power of language: "that glib and oily art to speak and purpose not" (1:3-214).

Her fears are justified when her Father turns to her and asks: "What can you say to draw a third more opulent than your sisters?

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.

Like all the classic figures of tragedy, Lear is a royal personage, a king and, indeed, a man who stands above the rest of the characters (albeit for only a few scenes).

He is a commanding figure at the pinnacle of his powers.


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