Humanity's Fate In King Lear Essay

1924 words - 8 pages

Many tragedies have been written throughout history. The purpose of these tragedies were to illustrate some type of moral lesson. The tragic situation involves man's miscalculation of reality and the fatal results of those miscalculations. Our tragic hero must endure a great deal of suffering. It ends in his ruin or destruction. We must also understand that tragedy not only destroys the guilty, but also the innocent. The tragic hero represents what could happen to humankind. He is responsible for his society. He is a representation of our own fate. The fate of humanity will be discussed in King Lear, by William Shakespeare.
In this moving play, our tragic hero was King Lear. Our tragic ...view middle of the document...

He is measuring their love with land. Naturally, his first two daughters, Goneril and Regan, will lie to him, but his vanity blinds him from the truth.
Lear's first miscalculation was dividing his land between the daughters. The second is allowing his vanity to get the best of him. Injured pride gives rise to anger. Cordelia proclaims that her love will belong half to her husband and half to her father. She also says she loves Lear by her duty, no more, no less. Cordelia was Lear's favorite daughter until this point. When she addressed her love in this manner, he was outraged saying, " Let it be so, thy truth, then, be thy dower! For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, the mysteries of Hecate, and the night; By all the operation of the orbs from whom we do exist, and cease to be; Here I disclaim all my paternal care, propinquity and property of blood, and as a stranger to my heart and me hold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scythian, or he that makes his generation messes to gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom be as well neighbour'd, piti'd, and reliev'd, as though my sometime daughter."( Act I, i, l. 110-22) In this previous passage, he was more than outraged. He went to the point that he disowned his daughter, the only true one. Kent tries to dissuade Lear from his unjust actions, but Lear strikes out at him saying, " the bow is bent and drawn; make from the shaft."( Act I, i, l. 145) Lear's vanity leads to anger. The next phase is his unbridled anger leading to his unbearable suffering.
Lear now banishes Kent and Cordelia. He is now left with his two ungrateful daughters, Goneril and Regan. He soon realizes that neither daughter cares for him and this leads to more vanity and anger, proclaiming he would rather " kneel before France like some petty squire"(Act II, iv, l. 207-9) before he returns to Goneril. He said he would rather " wage against the enmity o' th' air"(Act II, iv, l. 204) or " be slave and sumpter to this detested groom,"(Act II, iv, l. 211-12) referring to Oswald. Lear tells Goneril that he never wants to see her again, but in lines 217-221, he realizes that even though she is heartless, she is still his own flesh and blood. By Goneril being described as a disease in his flesh, Lear could be recognizing that her evil stems from his very own. Lear is realizing that his vanity is now extending to his daughter and through his very own daughter he will be destroyed.
Lear again tries to measure love, just as in the first Act. He wants to stay with Regan, but she'll only house twenty-five of his knights. He then says that her love is half of Goneril's because she will house fifty. He measures their love by his hundred knights. These misjudgments by Lear show how humans are constantly making miscalculations concerning reality, but never seem to learn from it. It seems that it is in man's nature to make mistakes, but not truly learn from it.
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