Essays on King Lear

The play King Lear was set a little while after the Spanish Armada. The play all starts off in King Lear’s Castle when he decides to retire and split his kingdom. After he divides his kingdom, he goes to Goneril’s castle where he sees Goneril’s true colors she demands half of his knights leave and, at that moment, Lear is so angry that he curses his daughter and storms out to live with Reagan in her castle. Once Lear arrives and tries to convince Regan to let him live with her, and says, “Beloved Regan, Thy sister’s naught: O Regan, she hath tied Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here: points to his heart” (2.4.48) but still Regan insists that Lear go back to live with Goneril because she also thinks that Lear having all his knights is unnecessary and she will not house all of them. Lear then goes out into the storm and refuses to go back in because his daughters have betrayed him.

This all started when King Lear decided that he wanted to step down and retire from being King. He has three daughters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. Initially, he plans on dividing his kingdom between the three, but something happens. Cordelia is talking to herself and it is almost her turn to tell her father how much she loves him but doesn’t know how to put into words and is both shy and not willing to flatter. 'Then poor Cordelia! And yet not so; since I am sure, my love's More richer than my tongue' (1.1.9). Once it is Cordelia’s turn Lear ask her what she has to say to top her other sisters, but she says nothing. “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my bond; nor more no less” (1.1.9). King Lear angered by her answer gives everything away to Goneril and Regan.

Lear is furious and mentions what has happened to the earl of Kent, a nobleman who served Lear and Gloucester who has two sons Edgar and Edmund. They both feel as though Lear is overreacting, but Lear doesn’t see anything wrong with what he has done. Gloucester's younger son Edmund is ambitious and conniving he will stop at nothing to gain power. “Well, my legitimate, if this is letter speed, And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper: Now gods, stand up for bastards' (1.2.16). Edmund is starting his plan to trick his father in to see that he is the legitimate son, not Edgar. Edmund writes the letter and is making it obvious but tries to hide it once it has drawn his father's attention. Gloucester reads the letter aloud and is shocked by what he has read. Reading the letter makes Gloucester enraged he can't believe that Edgar would write such things, so he sends Edmund to go out and find him. Edmund finds his brother and tells him to run and hide from his father because he isn't very happy with him right now. Edgar is confused but still listens to his brother. 'some villain hath done me wrong' (1.2.20). Edgar begins to think someone has set him up but doesn't realize the person who is behind it all is right in front of him. To himself, Edmund say, 'A credulous father! And a brother noble, Whose nature is so far from doing harms, That he suspects none: on whose foolish is honesty My practices ride easy! I see the business. Let me, if not my birth, have lands by wit: All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit” (1.2.20). Edmund has now fooled both his father and brother and they haven’t suspected a thing.

King Lear still furious with both his children standing out in the rain begins to realize that although Cordelia didn't give him the answer, he was looking for she truly loved him. 'Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower' (1.1.10). Lear let his feelings cloud his judgment and now has realized that Cordelia was the only genuine one. Gloucester finally arrives after getting his eyes ripped out by Cornwall. While Edgar is still disguised, he doesn't reveal to his father who he is, but Gloucester talks about how he shouldn't have been so naпve and believed his illegitimate son over Edgar. Gloucester asks Edgar who is in disguise to take him up to the highest hill so that he can jump off. Edgar leads him to a flat surface and tells Gloucester that he is high up because Gloucester can't see it with his own eyes. 'Why I do trifle thus with his despair is done to cure it' (4.6.84). Edgar tells him to jump but only does this so that Gloucester will put past the fact that he can no longer see.

One event that shaped King Lear was Lear diving his kingdom amongst his three daughters. He found out what Goneril and Regan’s true intentions were and turned on his daughter who loved him the most. But later, was joined back together with Cordelia. Another turning point in the play was when Gloucester was blinded to think his son Edgar wanted to kill him but in reality, Edmund just wanted to feel important and take all the power.

Read More
We've found 198 essays on King Lear

Essay examples

Essay topics

information

King Lear: A Tragic Hero

King Lear: A Tragic Hero King Lear by William Shakespeare Is an example of a classic tragedy. The mall character, King Lear, Is the tragic hero, which Is one of the aspects of a tragedy. King Lear wrongfully judges his daughters when he asks them …

King LearLoveTragedyTragic Hero
Words 1011
Pages 4
King Lear and a Thousand Acres

King Lear and A thousand acres comparison The one social issue that hasn’t evolved since the 17th century is the ever present schisms between families. People have always cheated, parents have always chosen favorites, and the struggles for wealth and power have always torn families …

King Lear
Words 2676
Pages 10
How Has King Lear Held Its Appeal for a Modern Audience?

How does Shakespeare’s King Lear hold its appeal to a modern audience? King Lear, a play by William Shakespeare has held its appeal for modern audiences as it explores the universal ideas and timeless themes of Power and Loyalty communicated through characterisation, language techniques and …

King Lear
Words 604
Pages 3
Haven’t found the relevant content? Hire a subject expert to help you with
Essays on King Lear
$35.80 for a 2-page paper
Get custom paper
essays on topic icon
King Lear – Tragic Flaw

“Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them… great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well …

King LearTragedy
Words 888
Pages 4
Ellb3 King Lear Theme of Power

Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents attitudes to power in this passage. In your answer you must consider how the playwright uses literary, linguistic and rhetorical devices and conventions to create specific dramatic effects. The theme of power is explored extensively in the play …

King Lear
Words 1034
Pages 4
Parallel Situations Drawn Between King Lear and Gloucester

In what ways does Shakespeare draw parallel situations between King Lear and Earl of Gloucester, and how are the characters similar in the play (specifically Act 1)? While examining Lear and Gloucester, there are obvious similarities, such as that they are both of an older …

IronyKing Lear
Words 103
Pages 1
King Lear – Denial, Rage, and Isolation

Throughout Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, the audience is subject to differing emotions and sentiments for the main character. The changes in King Lear’s demeanor, state of mind and even beliefs throughout the play are constantly changing and subject to so many different factors that the …

King Lear
Words 1017
Pages 4
Authority in King Lear

Kayla Jacklin Dr. Treschow English 153 25 March 2013 Power Corrupts a Happily Ever After The theme of authority is prominent in William Shakespeare’s play King Lear. The play has many situations that allow readers to observe the negative effects that ones authority can have, …

King Lear
Words 1961
Pages 8
Symbols and Motifs in King Lear

The issue of blindness is associated most obviously with Gloucester, who is blinded in the course of the play. It is peculiarly right for Gloucester’s eyes to be the organs through which he is tortured.   Gloucester thought he saw the truth about his sons, but …

King Lear
Words 1689
Pages 7
King Lear Imagery Seminar

Symbolism/Imagery/Allegory in King Lear * The Storm (Imagery)Pathetic Fallacy: By acting irresponsibility, Lear as a King and then as a father causes a universal upheaval in the order of the universe. This upheaval is reflected and reinforced by the use of imagery (Pathetic Fallacy). The …

ImageryKing Lear
Words 1626
Pages 6
Informative Essay on King Lear

In Shakespeare’s King Lear there is a definite element of the grotesque as seen in Lear’s own personality, and the other main characters in how they treat Lear.  Thus the grotesque in Shakespeare’s play is manifested through power.  The grotesque theme of Shakespeare’s play will …

King Lear
Words 1413
Pages 6
Expectations and Blindness in King Lear

Shakespeare, with his brilliant portrayal of Lear’s conflict with two opposing forces: aesthetics and reality, continues to draw both readers and audiences with Lear’s many meanings and interpretations. The main character, King Lear, is the object of universal identification with his obliviousness as to who …

BlindnessExpectationsKing Lear
Words 1668
Pages 7
Destruction of the Old Order in King Lear Act I

In the first act of King Lear Shakespeare turns the order of world of the play upside down. By the end of the first act virtually every character’s station in life has been changed significantly. Lear has given away his power, he has destroyed his …

ActsKing Lear
Words 959
Pages 4
What Are the Most Important Themes in King Lear?

“Different interpretations focus on different themes’, this statement is acceptable in the play King Lear. Edwin Sherin’s production of King Lear primarily explores the theme of Oder and Chaos, as opposed to excerpts by Marilyn Gaull, which focuses on the theme of Love evident in …

King Lear
Words 1193
Pages 5
King Lear Parallelism Essay

Parallelism Between Families Tragedy is defined by a series of unfortunate events that occurs to someone who does not deserve them. When a protagonist makes mistakes, sometimes other characters take the repercussions. Set in a time of royalty and ranks, King Lear describes parallel events …

King LearTragedy
Words 289
Pages 2
Morally chaotic world In King Lear

Shakespeare presents a variety of ways in which moral chaos is brought about, including the disruption of the natural order and the characters possession of typically corrupted morals, even going as far as questioning the morals of his own society. However, having different principles in …

King LearMoralityVirtue
Words 1390
Pages 6
King Lear/Inferno

Paper Assignment #2 (Inferno / King Lear) Both Shakespeare’s King Lear and Dante’s Inferno explore the reasons for and results of human suffering. Both works postulate that human suffering comes as a result of choices that are made. That statement is not only applicable to …

Dante InfernoHellKing Lear
Words 1266
Pages 5
Analysis Of King Lear And The Tempest

Although a similar vision of justice is encompassed within King Lear and The Tempest, both protagonists receive fate strikingly dissimilar from one another; as a direct result of the relationship shared between their respective daughters, which ultimately distinguishes the plays from the similar concepts (compassion, …

CompassionKing LearRevengeTragedy
Words 1789
Pages 7
The Blindness of King Lear

In the classic Vincent Price horror film, THEATER OF BLOOD a demented Shakespearean actor murders critics who have savaged him in the past with a series of gruesome traps based on death scenes from Shakespeare’s work. At the film’s conclusion, a critic faces permanent blindness …

BlindnessKing LearTruth
Words 1599
Pages 6
Foolishness in Shakepeare’s King Lear

King Lear is considered to be Shakespeare’s best artistic work. Early on, the readers glean the foolishness of the king as he bequeaths his riches and his kingdom to his deceitful daughters. This is his desperate attempt to know who loves him. Thus, we see …

FoolishnessGreedKing Lear
Words 987
Pages 4
How is sound and setting presented in The Great Gatsby, King Lear, Death of a Salesman

Fitzgerald, Shakespeare and Miller explore both setting and sound within their writing to mirror the current thoughts and feelings of the character which then allows the audience to understand and sympathise the characters. It could be argued that through the use of setting and sound, …

Death of a SalesmanKing LearSound
Words 97
Pages 1
King Lear essay, exploring the notion of hope

In the world of King Lear, being a shakespearean tragedy, suffering, loss, and injustice are all factors often expected before an audience enters the bottomless pit of complicated characters, varying agendas, and Shakespearean english these productions usually employed. However, despite its melancholy undertone and lack …

HopeKing Lear
Words 81
Pages 1
King Lear – Jealousy Between Goneril and Regan

In terms of power, Lear becomes the complete opposite of what he is in Act One by the end of Act Two. The fool says, “Now thou art an O without/ a figure. I am better than thou art now: I am a Fool, thou/ …

King Lear
Words 502
Pages 2
King Lear Loyalty

Eastern and Western Perspectives on Loyalty Loyalty is a strong feeling of support and allegiance in which it is reflected upon two proclaimed movies with different setting and subplots, but possesses a similar understanding to what the writer was trying to convey. By watching Olivier’s …

King Lear
Words 1374
Pages 5
The Image of Fool in King Lear: from Page to Sage

The Fool – from text to screen. The concept of a fool in Shakespearean plays is nearly as popular as the very figure of a fool used to be in Middle Ages at royal courts and some private households of aristocrats. The characters that could …

King Lear
Words 2896
Pages 11
Creative Critical Response to King Lear

Creative Critical Response King Lear- 2011 Production- Lyceum Theatre As the lights of the theatre dimmed and the stage was lit up, a roar of applause broke out over the audience. The stage production of Shakespeare’s King Lear has been long awaited by many critics …

King Lear
Words 497
Pages 2
King Lear Critique Essay

Shakespeare’s King Lear is a world in which humans are personalized and find themselves with some contention with their role, rank, and “Place” in life. IE: “The King;” is father god on Earth, “Daughter” is bastard, loyal servant to the king and traitor. Shakespeare dramatized these roles thinking …

King LearTragedy
Words 800
Pages 3
The Count of Monte Cristo and King Lear

It is man’s path to struggle with his destiny and writers have long written about such a battle in a man’s inner soul. In the works of Alexandre Dumas and William Shakespeare such a battle is best described in their comparable works, “The Count of …

King LearRevenge
Words 93
Pages 1
King Lear Act 3 Questions

King Lear Act III Study Questions Scene I 1. Kent reveals to the Gentlemen that tension between Regan’s husband (Albany) and Goneril’s husband (Cornwall) could quite possible result in a civil war. However, aside from the war, the two may be united in plotting against …

ActsKing Lear
Words 2230
Pages 9
Unfinished King Lear

The play King Lear examines the concept of appearance and reality. The issues of madness and blindness become powerful symbols reinforcing this central concept. The two universal themes, madness and blindness relate to our modern life because in our everyday life we go through this …

King LearLove
Words 1048
Pages 4
check icon

Find extra essay topics on Essays on King Lear by our writers.

King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It is based on the mythological Leir of Britain. King Lear relinquishes his power and land to two of his daughters. He becomes destitute and insane and a proscribed crux of political machinations.
Originally published

1606

Characters

Leir of Britain, Cordelia, Goneril, Edmund, Regan, Earl of Gloucester, Fool, Earl of Kent, Curan

Frequently asked questions

What is the main message of King Lear?
The main message of King Lear is that love is more important than anything else. Lear learns this lesson after he is betrayed by his daughters and exiled from his kingdom. He comes to realize that his love for his daughters is more important than his pride or his position as king. In the end, Lear is reunited with his daughter Cordelia, and the two of them share a touching moment in which Lear recognizes the error of his ways. The play ends with Lear and Cordelia dying in each other's arms, a powerful symbol of the importance of love.
How is King Lear a tragedy essay?
King Lear is a tragedy because it is the story of a man who goes through a profound emotional journey and ultimately suffers a tragic downfall. The play is full of powerful scenes and speeches that explore the human condition, and the character of Lear himself is a complex and deeply flawed individual. As the play progresses, Lear slowly descends into madness, and his actions have devastating consequences for himself and those around him. In the end, Lear is a broken man, and the tragedy of the play lies in his fall from grace.
What is King Lear story about?
King Lear is a story about an aging monarch who decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, according to how much each of them professes to love him. However, his plan goes awry when his two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, prove to be ungrateful and power-hungry, while his youngest daughter, Cordelia, remains honest and sincere. This ultimately leads to Lear's downfall, as he is left without any support and gradually goes insane. The story is a tragedy that highlights the dangers of giving into vanity and pride.
Why King Lear is a tragic hero?
King Lear is a tragic hero because he is a nobleman who suffers from a tragic flaw: his stubbornness and pride. These traits cause him to make several poor decisions that lead to his downfall, including banishing his daughter Cordelia and giving away his kingdom. As a result of his choices, Lear loses everything he holds dear and descends into madness. While he is ultimately responsible for his own downfall, the audience can't help but feel sympathy for him as he suffers greatly.

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer