King Lear

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King Lear

ThesisIn Shakespeare's King Lear, the protagonist's experiences with betrayal, madness, and the loss of authority, ultimately result in his downfall.

The Loss of Power and Control- As Lear gives away his kingdom, he is unaware that he is ridding himself of any authority. - Oswald refers to Lear as "My Lady's father", to which Lear responds, "'My Lady's father!' My Lord's knave! You whoreson dog! You slave! You cur!" (page 35)- Lear is offended that he is no longer referred to as royalty, as he has given away any power he once had. - He becomes controlled by his daughters and their malicious actions, and loses all sense of authority.

Betrayal- An evident form of betrayal is illustrated through the treatment of Lear by his daughters, Goneril and Regan. - The daughters sacrifice their relationship with their father in an attempt to become wealthy.- After Lear has given them everything, Goneril admits, "By day and night, he wrongs me!" (page 31)- Although Lear has given all he is worth to Goneril, she still feels as though he owes her and has wronged her.- This ongoing conflict results in the progressive destruction of family dynamics. Further, this contributes to future struggles for Lear, such as the deterioration of his mental state and his loss of authority.

Madness- Throughout the novel, one of Lear's overwhelming struggles is the deterioration of his mental state.- This challenge is a result of the disloyalty of Regan and Goneril, as well as the haunting idea of his mistake of giving away his land. - As Lear becomes weaker and recognizes his weakness, he states, "We are not ourselves when nature, being oppressed, commands the mind to suffer with the body," (page 63)- Lear acknowledges that as the natural world becomes more chaotic and disorderly, he gradually becomes more mentally unstable.

King Lear Culminating Assignment:Exploring Lear's struggles throughout the novel



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