Analysis of the Hero in "King Lear"

1454 Words Jul 13th, 2018 6 Pages
King Lear, a tragedy in which Shakespeare exhibits most fully his literary complexities, is surprisingly the least popular of the famous four. In spite of this, it is indefinitely the most talked about. For many this is Shakespeare's most profound tragedy, one of the greatest plays ever written in any language at any time. It throws up questions, which remain as perplexing now as they were to Shakespeare's earlier critics. And although thoroughly studied, the original story line has remained unchanged for centuries, even though many attempts have been made to alter it. In the twentieth century a range of conflicting views on King Lear emerged, a major development in Shakespearean criticism came with the publication of A.C Bradley's …show more content…
This proves to be his fatal flaw and this, combined with the unexpected, seemingly undevoted speech by his favoured daughter Cordelia, earns herself and Kent an early departure out of the play. The fool plays a vital part in the deterioration of Lear's character and sanity in the play, he is Lear's voice of conscience, his alter-ego, and many of his earlier speeches are designed to alert Lear to his daughter's true characters. The fool is never punished for telling it how it is: he is 'all licensed'. Jesters were often kept by the monarch to remind the sovereignty of his humanity and in this case sanity. When he first appears in the play he is extremely critical of Lear; 'dost thou call me a fool, boy?<em>All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with'. His sarcasm is hard hitting though completely true. Lear's arrogance overtakes him and he begins to feel superior to Kent whom he has known and respected for so long 'do not come between the dragon and his wrath'. He compares himself to a dragon in the sense of its overwhelming supremacy, control and power, whereas the audience knows it is the temper of a dragon that Lear is secretly and unknowingly comparing himself to. By effectively removing himself from his rightful position as king he unknowingly takes up
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