King Lear Nature Essay

1976 Words Mar 28th, 2013 8 Pages
Throughout “King Lear” nature is holds different meanings that have major significance to the theme of the play. Characters speak to it as though it’s a personified entity; they refer to the celestial objects in the heavens above and even to that of animals of the Earth. When the characters speak to nature, they do it as a means of justifying their intentions or previous actions, and also as a means of invoking it in some form. Nature is also used to describe the disposition of a character and the physical world with no spiritual bearing. We see that nature tends to hold many ambiguous meanings during the play; however they are centered mostly between nature that embodies the laws of the universe or that of a man. One instance of the …show more content…
He does so in the first scene of Act 1 where he asks for his daughters to profess their love for him in order to take a share of the kingdom. When he is met by Cordelia’s explanation of how she only loves him “according to her bond, no more” he enters a fit of rage and casts her out while also including nature in his speech. “The sacred radiance of the sun, the mysteries of Hecate and the night by all the operations of the orbs” and “I hereby disclaim all my paternal care, propinquity and property of blood” is a clear example of how he attempts to invoke the stars above as a power against his once beloved daughter. Lear repudiates nature when he casts out Cordelia, his very own “natural” daughter, and yet attempts still to call upon it even though he contradicts it. Now although Lear and Edmund both share this view of the stars, they don’t perceive the natural in the same ways. Lear resembles the “divine king” or the “master of nature” as the early monarchs of those times saw themselves as did the people in the lower portions of the hierarchy. When Lear is cast out by his daughter Goneril for his behavior along with his servants, he exclaims “Hear Nature, hear! Dear goddess, hear!” and proceeds to order nature to make Goneril sterile and have no “babe to honour her”. When doing so he says that if it shall be born it will be “of spleen” and “disnatured” meaning non-filial and obstinate. Lear then shows a belief that his children he has created from the
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