King Lear 2 In a writing of Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”, the main character is King Lear who starts off as a respected and powerful king. As the story progresses the king loses his power because of his own stupidity and blindness. The tragedy of this play is shown through the daughters of the king, the fool, and finally when Lear’s sanity is tested. At the beginning of the play, King Lear is powerful and harsh. He decides he doesn’t want to be king anymore, and so he asks his daughters, Reagan, Goneril, and Cordelia to tell him how much they love him.
He does this so he may give them a dowry to be married with. First, Goneril begins to tell her father how much she adores him and would never disrespect him, this is a lie. Next, is the daughter Reagan, she does the same as her sister and lies to the king saying that she loves him with all of her heart. Finally, Cordelia tells her father that she could not tell him how much she loves him, because she had no words. The king was very upset with Cordelia and because of his madness towards Cordelia thinking that she did not love him as much as her other sisters, he divided the land in two and gave Reagan and Goneril each half. Cordelia on the other hand received nothing as her dowry and in turn no none would marry her except the King of France. Giving the land to the two daughters was the first of Lear’s mistakes, for the daughters did not love him as much as Cordelia did, but they wished to have his riches. When Goneril and Reagan are in power they try to make Lear appear to be incompetent.
They refer to him as “The Idle Old Man” in front of everyone and start to make even Lear think less of himself. Although the two sisters do this they also realize that Lear still holds a great deal of power in their areas, so they decided something must be done about it. The “loving” daughters command Lear to let go fifty of his one hundred servicemen, saying that they will not pay for it and that it is unnecessary. Lear then starts to worry that if Goneril isn’t happy then she in turn will make him unhappy and he agrees to let them go. Next, the fool is introduced. Shakespeare does this to show the deterioration of Lear that has taken place since the beginning of the play.
The Fool is his name, however, he is a wise man. He is a tutor to Lear and tries to slow him down so that he will not lose his mind. However, in the process the fool makes subtle hints to Lear that he has made some bad decisions. These hints do not help Lear, they just provoke more thinking about what he might have done to himself by giving away his kingdom. After Lear leaves Gonerils castle, the former king travels to his other daughter, Reagan’s castle.
When he arrives there he discovers that Reagan and her husband have left. Little does he know that they had found out form Goneril that he was coming and they didn’t want for him to stay at their castle. He later travels to Gloucester castle and learns there that Reagan and Goneril are not fighting as they led him to believe. This makes Lear very upset, and Reagan orders him to be kicked out of the castle. Outside of the castle there is a very bad thunder storm, this makes Lear believe that the elements have joined forces with his daughters to try and defeat him. He begins to yell at the storm in a fit a of anger.
From this scene it is quite apparent that Lear had nearly lost his mind. In conclusion, the reader is shown how Lear went from being a respected and powerful king to a regular man who seems to have lost all of his family. The two people that he trusted most were the same people, that in the end were the cause of his down fall. And the people he did not trust were the ones who truly loved him and tried to protect Lear but, Lear would not believe that he needed protection from his own daughters. This was not true and at the end of the play the former king had died.