King Lear Characters
‘King Lear’ is one of the most critically acclaimed Shakespearean masterworks known to the literary world. Different events in this play introduce the audience to a rich and penetrating portrayal of the human tragedy at its worst. King Lear is the title character of this tragedy which very, unfortunately, loses his mind near the end after left with nothing. He has three daughters two of which commit fallacious appeals to flattery and get their father to leave all his fortune to them. But the youngest daughter who is the wisest is bestowed nothing because she does not make evil attempts to flatter her father whom she loves beyond such shallow ideas. King Lear is often appreciated for conveying this powerful message that answers to many momentous questions of life are entrenched in ordinary experiences. The purpose of this essay is to explore this popular assumption by scrutinizing some important events in the tragedy to analyze the extent to which this idea could be considered true.
Cordelia is the name of King Lear’s daughter who actually loves him the most and believes that true love should not be tarnished by letting it get close to dark elements like lies, manipulation, or deception. The other two daughters, in stark contrast, have all their attention devoted to their father’s abundant wealth. The enormous mistake committed by King Lear at the start of the tragedy is that despite being a man of high social standing and many talents, he still miserably fails at realizing that the most honest answer to the questions asked by him was actually embedded in an ordinary expression of love. He instead is charmed by the bundle of lies offered by his materialistic daughters to him and cunningly packaged in many enticing colors. He finds flattery irresistible and takes this mighty fallacy as the most attractive and justified answer in response to the question that by whom of all three children is he loved the most. Shakespeare digs with acute intelligence into the superficial nature of the fallacy of playing to the gallery in King Lear to make this claim emphatic that people often have to suffer horrifically in life due to not being careful enough sometimes to acknowledge the truth that is right in front of them. The tendency of continuing the search for myriad fundamentally important answers when they are actually a part of everyday experiences can be considered ubiquitous given its frequency and preponderance. But, it is important for a person to be a shrewd observant in order to dissect mundane experiences to discover momentous truths. Actually were he not already blinded by flattery, King Lear would not have even felt the need to pose a self-indulgent question in the beginning. This is because the real answer he looked for waited right in front of him in Cordelia’s eyes, but his inability to judge the real meaning of her honest response leads him to his tragic demise.
It is important to be able to observe the world very shrewdly to find real answers at the right time. But, King Lear sadly fails at execution of this talent and gets himself literally entrapped by tough challenges. He does not actually have an as fierce desire for basic human realities as for sugar-coated praise and favors the latter over realities that contain real human feelings. He is played by his manipulative daughters who effortlessly manipulate his emotions and thoughts hiding their evil innate dispositions and presenting greed as love. He succumbs into believing that the false arguments of his greedy daughters do in fact make for valid evidence and stubbornly ignores actual evidence which unfortunately for both him and Cordelia is left open and not wrapped in vibrant colors like the dark lies told by others are. Even Kent, who plays advisor to King Lear, is better than his master at identifying answers to many important questions in rather mundane settings which do not necessarily have to be larger-than-life to possess real truth. He also attempts to make King Lear realize that he is not getting his facts straight only to be thrown out of the state like Cordelia because it seems like in place of loyalty and truth, flattery and deception are more powerful in the king’s court.
In conclusion, the above discussion of King Lear’s character in reference to how he is deceived by his cunning daughters whom he lets stay in power proves how important it is to keep finding realities in simple expressions of life. King Lear unjustifiably subjects those who love him the most to exile and makes those who should be punished for their deceit rulers. He prefers to find his answers in his enemies’ attractively posed but empty arguments. This failure to detect truthful answers in simple expressions of life subjects him to a painfully tragic end.