King Lear

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 divided 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 sojourn, And here are to be answered.
Tell me, my daughters (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. This undermining of God's authority results in
chaos that tears apart Lear's world. Leaving him, in the end,
with nothing. Following this Lear begins to banish those
around him that genuinely care for him as at this stage he
cannot see beyond the mask that the evil wear. He banishes
Kent, a loyal servant to Lear, and his youngest and
previously most loved daughter Cordelia. This results in Lear
surrounding himself with people who only wish to use him
which leaves him very vulnerable attack. This is precisely
what happens and it is through this that he discovers his
wrongs and amends them. Following the committing of his
sins, Lear becomes abandoned and estranged from his
kingdom which causes him to loose insanity. While lost in his
grief and self-pity the fool is introduced to guide Lear back
to the sane world and to help find the lear that was ounce
lost behind a hundred Knights but now is out in the open and
scared like a little child. The fact that Lear has now been
pushed out from behind his Knights is dramatically
represented by him actually being out on the lawns of his
castle. The terrified little child that is now unsheltered is
dramatically portrayed by Lear's sudden insanity and his
rage and anger is seen through the thunderous weather that
is being experienced. All of this contributes to the suffering
of Lear due to the gross sins that he has committed. The
pinnacle of this hell that is experienced be Lear in order to
repay his sins is at the end of the play when Cordelia is
killed. Lear says this before he himself dies as he cannot live
without his daughter. "Howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of
stones. Had I your tongues and eyes, I'd use them so That
heaven's vault should crack. She's gone for ever! I know
when one is dead, and when one lives. She's dead as earth.
Lend me a looking glass. If that her breath will mist or stain
the stone, Why, then she lives." (Act V, Sc iii, Ln 306-312)
All of this pain that Lear suffered is traced back to the single
most important error that he made. The choice to give up his
throne. This one sin has proven to have massive
repercussions upon Lear and the lives of those around him
eventually killing almost all of those who were involved. And
one is left to ask one's self if a single wrong turn can do this
to Lear then what difficult corner lies ahead that ma cause
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