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What Are The Foils Of Power In King Lear

Decent Essays
In the play King Lear by William Shakespeare, the Earl of Gloucester and King Lear both experienced a shift in their power and influence. Since Lear began the play with higher power he appeared to have experienced more loss. These two characters are foils of one another making their journey of power similar, a major theme in this play is loyalty, and new generations, both characters struggle with power relate to how the family interacted.
The play began with Lear dividing his kingdom between his three daughters. This was the height of his power and influence over others because the kingdom was his to give away. Lear states, “Know that we have divided//In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent Conferring them on younger strengths, while we//Unburthen'd crawl toward death” (1.1.40-43), in this quote he is acknowledging that he will no longer be in power. Gloucester also holds influence at the beginning of the
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This leaves Lear without change, although he is gaining internal knowledge he is unable to fully use it because of his inability to make conscious sound decisions. Once Lear is able to think clearly again he realizes once again the mistakes he has made, this realization allows him to improve the knowledge he has leading to a slight increase in power. However just as he acts on his knew found knowledge he and Cordelia die in capture, leaving him again with no power. While this is occurring Gloucester is hitting another low point in his amount of power. After seeing Lear’s state he attempts to commit suicide, after he thinks he is dying he states, “Away, and let me die” (4.6.60). This action shows that he no longer has power because he has given up. The actions of those around Gloucester allow him to finally know the amount of disloyalty of those surrounding him when learning the truth about his sons, and their untrue attitudes towards him, gaining insight about
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