The Ultimate Tragic Hero King Lear English Literature Essay

September 26, 2017 English Literature

King Lear, one of William Shakespeare ‘s greatest calamities, depicts a society in inexorable fortunes. As with all calamities, there exists a tragic hero[ 1 ], one who possesses a fatal defect that initiates the calamity and all the agonies that follow. In this drama, the tragic hero is doubtless the rubric character, King Lear. The secret plan is driven by the power and effect of losingss, more specifically, the losingss of Lear. In the class the drama, King Lear, because of his defects, loses his authorization as a male monarch, his individuality as a male parent, and his saneness as a adult male. One loss builds on another, but furthermore, his greatest loss, and what distinguishes this calamity from all others, is his opportunity of salvation. Unlike other calamities, there is no redemption for the tragic hero or any mark of optimism in the decision. This black portraiture of King Lear, through his losingss, makes him the ultimate tragic hero, and the drama an ultimate calamity.

The drama begins with King Lear ‘s determination to split his land among his three girls. This is the first mark of Lear ‘s loss – the loss of authorization. Desiring to abandon his duties before his clip, Lear claims, “ tis our fast purpose / To agitate all attentions and concern from our age, / Conferring them on younger strengths while we / Unburdened crawl toward decease ” ( I.i.38-41 ) . It can be argued that his defect is in his determination to prematurely renounce the throne, traveling against nature. However, it is more important to recognize that his major defect is really in his character, shown through his judgement in abdicating his power. Lear carries huge insecurity and self-importance as he announces that he will offer the largest portion of land to the girl who professes the greatest love for him. Goneril and Regan both proclaim in buttery footings that they love him more than anything in the universe, while Cordelia speaks from her bosom in honest footings that she loves him precisely as a girl should love her male parent. Valuing ego above all else, Lear is blind to the trueness and love of Cordelia and alternatively, perceptive to the flattery of his two vile girls. Furthermore, Lear is infuriated when Kent objects and protests to his determination: “ Thy youngest girl does non love thee least, / Nor are those emptyhearted whose low sounds / Reverb no hollowness ” ( I.i.153-155 ) . This fatal defect of insecurity and self-importance induces Lear to do mistake in his judgement, ensuing in the improper division of his land and the loss of his two most loyal comrades – Cordelia and Kent. The effects of this mistake construct up throughout the drama, taking to Lear ‘s ultimate tragic autumn.

Lear ‘s lost royal authorization now transfers to his two girls, Goneril and Regan, and they dishonestly use this power against him. Ironically, Lear besides falls in position, to a degree inferior to that of his ain kids. Goneril no longer loves him “ beyond all mode ” and Regan no longer is “ an enemy to all other joys ” as they have professed in the beginning ( I.i. 61, 73 ) . Alternatively, Goneril reprimands his male parent for the manner his retainers and knights have “ septic ” her place ( I.iv.237 ) . Regan follows suit, and insist that “ The old adult male and his people/ Can non be good bestowed ” ( II.iv.258 ) . His girls no longer even respect him. Lear has now lost his individuality as a male parent, since he even confesses that “ [ He ] should be false persuaded / [ He ] had girls ” ( I.iv.227-228 ) . Troubled and confused, Lear reveals his diminished sense of individuality when inquiring “ Who is it that can state me who I am ” ( I.iv.224 ) . Stripped of authorization as male monarch, Lear has now besides lost authorization as a male parent over his ain flesh and blood.

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King Lear ‘s ostracism from his girls doubtless has enormous psychological consequence on him. He non merely loses youth as he “ crawl toward decease ” , but besides loses saneness as his “ heartaˆ¦break into a hundred 1000 defects ” and “ heaˆ¦go mad ” ( I.i.41, II.iv.284-286 ) . With so much agony already thrown upon Lear due to his tragic defect, it seems that Shakespeare has now shown commiseration and decided to put the phase for a reversal of destiny. Losing saneness has given King Lear the chance to detect the truth and the nucleus of humanity. With disapproval of Regan and Goneril, Lear caputs outdoors, where a wild storm takes topographic point. In this clip of pandemonium, Lear meets Edgar as Poor Tom and additions profound disclosure of adult male and life. Sing Poor Tom bare, at homo ‘s most natural province, Lear inquiries, “ Is adult male no more than this? ” and realizes that the “ unaccomodated adult male is no more but such a hapless, bare, forked carnal as thou art ” ( III.iv.103-104, 107-109 ) . He continues with undressing himself, and at the same clip, taking himself from any societal restraints. It is at the utmost low point that Lear strips of his reason and relies on his inner inherent aptitudes to to the full hold on his individuality and recover his humanity. He now understands the deep love of Cordelia and the camouflage employed by his other girls. The existent King Lear eventually emerges.

Although Shakespeare creates this turning point for Lear, he is really paving the manner for a greater calamity. Lear loses everything he has – authorization, household, and saneness, but now he faces his greatest loss – the opportunity for salvation. After the storm, Lear is eventually reunited with Cordelia as he struggles to recover his saneness. CordeliaA ne’er loses her love for her male parent even after he has disowned her, and after seeing him, she cries, “ O my beloved male parent, Restoration bent / Thy medical specialty on my lips, and allow this kiss / fix those violent injuries that my two sisters / have in thy fear made ” ( IV.vii.27-30 ) . The reference of Restoration signifies Cordelia ‘s ability to deliver Lear of his old errors. When Lear wakes up, he admits, “ I am a really foolish fond old manaˆ¦I fright I am non in my perfect head ” ( IV.vii.61,65 ) . This reveals Lear ‘s new regained apprehension of himself and his entree to his mistakes, a mark of the first measure towards salvation. At this point, after all the turbulency, the audience takes a suspiration of alleviation, experiencing positive and seeing hope for Lear. Unfortunately nevertheless, this drama does non go forth any hints optimism.

In the concluding act, Edmund captures Lear and Cordelia as his captives, and orders both to be killed. Lear flights, but Cordelia, his loyal and loving girl, dies. Lear eventually realizes merely Cordelia can give him “ a opportunity which redeem all sorrows that of all time [ he ] hold felt ” ( V.iii.272-273 ) . Her decease breaks the last yarn between Lear and felicity. He expresses his deepest agonies and declares his sorrows when sees Cordelia has “ gone foreveraˆ¦ She ‘s dead as Earth ” ( V.iii.265-267 ) . With nil left, non even the hereafter and possibility for salvation, Lear loses the lone ownership that remains – his life. King Lear is genuinely a tragic hero because he was so close to happiness after much torture, yet he is still unable to accomplish redemption, and alternatively, he is subjected to finish impairment, both mentally and physically.

“ Is this the promised terminal? ” Kent, Lear ‘s loyal retainer, inquiries at the terminal of the drama ( V.iii.270 ) . Indeed, this is the tragic terminal of King Lear, a drama exposing a universe of corruptness. King Lear, due to his tragic defect of insecurity and self-importance, makes an initial error that shortly snowballs into a series of losingss, including the loss of authorization, individuality and saneness. Merely as he is about to deliver himself, he is deprived of that opportunity as he losingss the merely 1 capable of reconstructing him – Cordelia. The drama ends with the ultimate ruin of the tragic hero, as Lear dies in a province of heartache. In this manner, King Lear portrays non merely the calamity of a society, but more significantly, the calamity of a adult male. Even though Lear has undergone much transmutation and realized the significance of humanity, the black society he lives in does non justify him the chance for salvation. Through uncovering his losingss, King Lear illustrates the journey of the rubric character, an ultimate tragic hero.


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