King Lear By William Shakespeare Filial Conflict

1210 words - 5 pages

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King Lear, by William Shakespeare, is a tragic tale of filial conflict, personal transformation, and loss. The story revolves around the King who foolishly alienates his only truly devoted daughter and realizes too late the true nature of his other two daughters. A major subplot involves the illegitimate son of Gloucester, Edmund, who plans to discredit his brother Edgar and betray his father. With these and other major characters in the play, Shakespeare clearly asserts that human nature is either entirely good, or entirely evil. Some characters experience a transformative phase, where by some trial or ordeal their nature is profoundly changed. We shall examine Shakespeare's stand on human nature in King Lear by looking at specific... View More »

Body Sample...


This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeits of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. ... I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing." Act I, scene ii, lines 127-137, 143-145.Clearly, Edmund recognizes his own evil nature and decides to use it to his advantage. He mocks the notion of any kind of supernatural or divine influence over one's destiny. Edgar must go into hiding because of Edmund's deception, and later Edmund betrays Gloucester himself, naming him a traitor which results in Gloucester's eyes being put out. Edmund feels not the slightest remorse for any of his actions. Later on, after the invading French army has been repelled, Lear and Cordelia have been taken captive and Edmund gives these chilling words to his captain: "Edmund. Come hither captain; hark. Take thou this note: go follow them to prison; One step I have advanced thee; if thou dost As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way To noble fortunes: know thou this, that men Are as the time is: to be tender-minded Does not become a sword: thy great employment Will not bear question; either say thou'lt do't, Or thrive by other means." Act V, scene iii, lines 27-34.Edmund ...

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