Comparison Between Beowulf And King Lear Essay

2229 WordsNov 30, 20169 Pages
Both Beowulf and King Lear give viewpoints of varying types of kingship at drastically different eras of Britain’s life. In the case of the former, the anonymous author portrays a war-oriented culture focused on ideals of bravery and heroism. In the second, Shakespeare presents a view of a much more aristocratic society, deeply rooted in ideals of nobility and politics. Throughout both texts, however, there is a focus laid out on the idea of what makes a good king – or, in the case of Edmund, nobleman and leader. By examining four characters from within the two texts with this theme in mind, it becomes possible to discern the style of kingship each represents as well as the opinions that the author of each text is trying to encourage based on their portrayal of said character. The ideal discussed in the case of King Lear takes two different forms: Lear and Edmund. While both discuss the idea of kingship as an inherited right, Lear exists in a set of conditions which are much less critical of this particular view. In his case, the focus is on entitlement and respect, as well as the idea that authority is a positive-sum system. In other words, one person’s gain of power does not require a definite loss on another’s behalf. The result of this is that every nobleman inherits a portion of kingship and respect depending on his position, and, by virtue of this very position, the owner of this power is granted an immediate authority which cannot be questioned. This can be seen, for
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