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Robes and Furred Gowns Hide All: A Study of Social Illusions in King Lear and Brave New World

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Social illusion can be defined as a perception, as of visual stimuli that represents what is perceived in a way different from the way it is in reality(online dictionary). Both the play of King Lear by William Shakespeare and the novel of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley compare the two perceptions of social illusion and reality in regards to the ideals induced by society. Both Huxley and Shakespeare attempt to expose the social illusions of their respective times. In both texts, the authors acknowledge the implicit advantage of birthright in society and the illusion of its role in determining a character. In king Lear those of base birth are considered to be inferior to those born of nobility. Edmund is an obvious victim of this illusion.…show more content…
In the World State, decanting takes place of natural birth, humans no longer reproduce in the traditional way, that is through sex. Instead the World State uses a complicated scientific process, which decants embryos in test tubes on a moving assembly line. Natural birth is viewed as an obscenity, thus making the Savage Reservation inferior to the World State, as the Savage Reservation is the only place that “children still are born, yes, actually born, revolting as that may seem”(Huxley 102). The World State detracts from savages for their repulsive life style. Love and marriage are abolished in the World State due to the values of commitment to someone other than the government. And so, having any kind of intimacies, birth, or parents are topics so vulgar in the World State that World citizens “turned pale at the mere description and was at the point of being sick”(Huxley 37). Savages are seen as indecent by the citizens of the World State, due to the natural way they choose to reproduce. Huxley indicates the false illusion through John Savage. John is the only naturally born child exposed to the World State. And due to the World State’s strict behavioural guidelines john is considered to be savage by birth and uncivilized by parental care. Hence, both Edmund and John Savage have been categorized as the opposite of their true nature. John is seen as a savage and Edmund is seen as a base child, all because of their society’s illusion of morality. In
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