King Lear Tragedy Essay

The relationship of power and language is prominent from the beginning.

(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.

Speak." Her reply is not best calculated to please him: "Nothing my Lord" (1:-85).

Cordelia's inability (or unwillingness) to join with her sisters in this charade so angers Lear that he disinherits and banishes her.

They, of course, abuse him and Lear again falls into a rage, leaving shelter and sustenance to become "unaccomodated man" on the storm-swept heath.

There he curses his faithless daughters, but he never associates his downfall with his own tragic character flaw.

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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