28 July 2012
The devastating and negative human nature of King Lear
In many of Shakespeare's plays, human nature and emotion, specifically of the negative type, are the major contributing factors to the lead character's downfall. In many cases, those qualities cause the downfall of many other character's as well, whether due to their own behavior, or the behavior of other characters. In the play King Lear, negative human behaviors, such as vanity, dishonesty, and a severe lack of loyalty all lead to the demise or downfall of nearly every character in the play.
In King Lear, the recurring themes of betrayal and vanity are central parts ...view middle of the document...
Cordelia finds that she is unable to show her love with mere words: " What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent." (Shakespeare, I.i.63-64) Cordelia clearly loves her father, and yet realizes that her honesty will not please him, which only further shows Lear's great arrogance and vanity. Lear instantly cast his youngest daughter away, referring to her as: "Unfriended, new adopted to our hate, dow'red with our curse, and strangered with out oath." (I.i.205-206) Lear was too quick to judge Cordelia, and as a result his formerly most enjoyed daughter became his enemy. The only other character who follows Lear is the Earl of Kent. Lear also allows his ego to come between his previously trusted advisor, which ironically concerned the same incident. Kent, realizing Lear's fatal mistake protests the foolish decision: "When majesty falls to folly...whose low sounds Reverb no hollowness." (I.i.151-156) Lear's ego takes over, answering Kent's advice with banishment. It is King Lear's vanity, narrow-mindedness, and blindness to the truth, which eventually leads to his...