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King Lear More Sinned Against Then Sinning

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    “I am a man, More sinn’d against than sinning” How far do you agree with King Lear’s statement? From first view of the play ‘King Lear’, it appears that Lear has caused, either directly or indirectly, the sins against him as well as sinned himself. Lear sinned: -That King Lear sinned; there can be no doubt. Nevertheless, a sin does not exclude the possibility that there was a sufficient cause (in his mind) for the action -You can conclude the essay by saying that although he is more sinned against, this doesn’t mean that he is not a sinner.

    That he responded to circumstances beyond his control but that most of the time he made wrong choices. -Banishes Kent and Cordelia -cuurses the daughters – a terrible thing to do back then. At the point where they havent actually done anything wrong majorly yet – even though they had bad intentions -Lear sins by thinking that love can be quantified (as shown when he asks how much his daughters love him).

    Then we found that, with many of the things that happen to Lear, he brings them upon himself because of his stubbornness and failure to see that his two daughters are malicious. Lears fatal flaw: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Hamartia (it can also be interpreted that Lear actually has not committed any offences, and that his behaviour only reflects his fatal flaw; his inability to recognise his faults and ‘see’ metaphorically. As Lear is unaware of the effects of his rational behaviour, he is ignorant to his misdeeds against the people he is meant to care for, and, for that reason, believes he has not committed any sins. ) – His pride is one reason that Cordelia is banished.

    Lear cannot understand that anyone’s, let alone his daughter’s, love for him could be “Nothing. ” (Anger also prompts Lear to this make this rash decision. This is the worst sin that Lear commits. His greed for power stops him from retiring peacefully with Cordelia after giving up the kingdom completely. Because these sins are not against the law, they cannot be punished by throwing Lear in the stocks, or hanging him. His punishment is mental anguish. ) Lear’s justifications in sinning: -he is a victim of his circumstances if you take nature into account.

    He’s growing old and he’s afraid of dying. He’s innevitably “crawling towards death” as he states in Act 1. (You can easily argue that his actions are the desperate attempts of an old man at the verge of his doom trying to cling to the little power he has and to fight against the innevitability of death. This doesn’t make him guiltless, but you can argue that one of the factors that lead him to his fall is that he is about to die and he often acts irrationally upon the fear of losing it all. eg page 52 in book ‘you sir, you are old! ‘ the one thing he cant control, he is vulnerable. he jokes that getting old is a sin in itself – ‘i confess that i am old’ –

    The only essential thing I’d recommend to keep an eye on is how to justify that banishing Cordelia and Kent was not his fault. This is the bit when you can argue he was nature’s victim (him being old and irrational and afraid to have his power diminished as he feels Cordelia is doing). – the flaws of his daughters ruining him stating one of Lear’s sins and then arguing that that particular sin was not his fault, but rather an innevitable reaction to an external sin commited against him. – act 2 scene 4, a big turning point because lear realises his mistakes and take pity on the fool shows empathy to another character for the first time. line 32 “Oh, I have ta’en Too little care of this” Lear was sinned against/punished: -His daughters locked him out in the storm/ungrateful children. age 52 in book, regan shoots him down after giving him hope -In his opinion he was sinned against by Cordelia and Kent at the start, but he soon realises he was wrong -His children were power crazy -the weather sins against him but he knows it isnt sinning against him, merely siding with his daughters – act 2 scene 2 lines 14 etc – In the mock trial of Regan and Goneril which he sets up in the outhouse near Gloucester’s castle, Lear accuses his two eldesr daughters of humiliating and cruelly treating him.

    Here, and in the storm earlier on, Lear is laying blame for his circumstances outside of himself, so that he does not have to feel guilty -Both Lear and Gloucester endure terrible physical and mental suffering as punishment for their misjudgment, but before dying, both men are reunited with the child each earlier rejected. Other characters that sinned or were sinned against in relation to Lear’s sins: -you can also talk about the play’s villans and how their actions not only impact the people around them but also cause political chaos -Edmunds sin was due to circumstances.

    Had he not been brought into the world with the social status of ‘bastard’ he would not have wanted the revenge or power in the same way -Yet, even the Fool, one of Lear’s most loyal friends, implies that all of Lear’s suffering was brought on by himself and his own wrong behaviour -Gloucester has made several errors in judgment, as has Lear; but the brutal nature of Gloucester’s blinding — the plucking out of his eyes and the crushing of them under Cornwall’s boots — is surely in excess of any errors he might have made. —————————– This complements your view that the reasons for his fall are external… a bit as if he was sinned against by nature (or at least he feels he is). Proof of that can be found in Lear’s speech when Cordelia dies… he argues that it’s unfair that rats and horses are alive and his daughter isn’t…. I guess it’s the cycle of life, but as humans we try to measure life up in terms of fairness or unfairness and Lear feels the univers plots against him…

    I’d start every paragraph by stating one of Lear’s sins and then arguing that that particular sin was not his fault, but rather an innevitable reaction to an external sin commited against him. That way you can have a more dynamic essay and have the debate throughout the body and not at the end. hamartia [h?’m??t??] n (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) Literature the flaw in character which leads to the downfall of the protagonist in a tragedy

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