According to the Oxford Dictionary (2013), madness can be defined as the state of having a serious mental illness. It is also defined as extremely foolish behaviour. In the text, “King Lear” by Williams Shakespeare and the film, “Ran” by Akira Kurosawa, both the author and the director show that the Protagonist’s past haunts them so much that they eventually become insane. As a result of their hamartia, both King Lear and the Great Lord, Hidetora, have a past that haunts them, and because they are unable to accept their sins and mistakes in the past, they become mad. Their journey into madness is evident throughout the film and play, and can be seen through their sudden loss of power, ...view middle of the document...
Likewise, in Ran, Hidetora does not want to give up his title of Great Lord. “I will retain a 30 man escort and keep the title and insignia of Great Lord” (Hidetora) When Hidetora says this, he shows that he is not yet ready to give up his full leadership role, and that he is not going to be able to accept the fact that once he gives away his power, it is gone forever.
After Lear has given away his power, he still believes he has the authority to act as King, and expects that others will still maintain the same respect for him as they did when he was king. We see this through the scene where he strikes Oswald for not regarding him as the King. “‘My lady’s father’? My lord’s knave, your whoreson dog! You slave, you cur!”(1.4.70-71) Lear is upset by the fact that Oswald does not call him the King and does not treat him with the same respect he was treated with before. In the same way, after Hidetora gives away his power, he still thinks he can do whatever he wants, and act in the same way he did when he was king. This can be seen in the film in the scene when Hidetora kills Taro’s guard. Taro’s guard was trying to defend Taro’s honour by slaying the Fool his for his mocking song. Hidetora thinks that even though his authority as Great Lord was given away, he can still act in the same manner as before when he was still the Great Lord.
When Lear loses his men because his daughters think they are loud and disruptive, it is the moment when we see that Lear really holds no more power, and that his daughters are in control of all the authority. His own needs are even questioned by Regan and Goneril.
Hear me, my lord.
What need you five and twenty, ten, or five
To follow in a house where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?
This quote shows that Lear is really losing all of his power because his own daughters are trying to take away what he wants and using methods that put him in a situation he does not want to face. In the same way, when Hidetora is asked to sign the contract Taro writes up, he is asked to submit fully to the authority of Taro as he is the sole leader of Ichimonji. Hidetora is appalled by the fact that Taro is trying to make him sign a contract, even though what is contained within the contract is exactly what he had said in the past when giving away his land. This reaction to the contracts shows that Hidetora is not ready to give up all the power, and that he still wishes to have power although he is not the Lord of Ichimonji anymore.
From the above examples, it is seen that both Lear and Hidetora give away their power when they are not fully ready for it. This sudden loss of power adds to the reason why they suffer from madness and eventually leads to other characters taking advantage of them.
When betrayed by individuals who were thought of as the ones who loved you the most, it has a serious toll on your emotions, and can cause one to become insane. Lear and Hidetora experience betrayal from their...