Deception in Shakespeare's King Lear

1204 Words Mar 6th, 2011 5 Pages
Using detailed supporting evidence, discuss the significance in the play of ONE of the following.

William Shakespeare's 'King Lear' is a tragic play of filial conflict, deception and loss. Characters Lear and Gloucester shape the story line due to their lack of insight which their children take adavantage of. These are the antagonists who decieve their fathers, to gain more power and status. Deception usually has negative connotations and one would expect the characters who use it to be antagonists. Shakespeare challenges the norm by showing that the protagonists such as
Edgar and Kent, who have insight, also need to decieve to survive.

King Lear is easily decieved as he lacks the insight to see beyond what people
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This shows that the good cannot prevail against deception unless they manipulate it themselves for good. Cordelia's refusal to decieve cost her her place in the Kingdom.

Goneril and Regan use Lears pride to render him homeless. They are aware that he loved Cordelia best but his pride prevented him from asking to stay with her and he banished her. They are aware that he would need to live with them so they decieve him into believing that they cannot not house so many of his attendants ultimately rendering him homeless. First Goneril suggests his dismisses half his men, knowing that he would not agree but when Regan proposes only half of that Lear is agrees. Knowing he would do this they keep emphasizing that followers and unnecessary and they pretend to offer more solutions knowing that due to his pride he would never agree. Regan deeply offends Lear when she asks "what need one?". They knew this would cause him to leave either house as he had too much pride to agree.

Edmud, Gloucesters bastard son is the most insightful character in the play. He is a Machiavellian character, guided by expediency. In act 1 sc ii, He uses his insight to decieve his father, Edmund, Goneril and Regan! He decieves his father by planting a fake letter, suggesting that Edgar is plotting against his fathers life to inherit his title. This is ironic as it is exactly what Edmund is doing. Gaining power is his sole motive "Edmund the
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