Paradoxes in King Lear

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King Lear starts as a powerful monarch of England who decides to transfer his responsibilities to his three daughters and their husbands. However, his status quickly deteriorates and he becomes a homeless beggar during a violent storm with only his fool. He realizes his vulnerability and helplessness. Lear was once a paternal figure to his daughters, but their behavior towards him changes when he visits Goneril after rewarding her half of the kingdom. She is unhappy with his behavior and commands Oswald to mistreat him.

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Initially, King Lear is shown as the powerful monarch of England, successfully ruling over the land, surrounded by noblemen who follow all of his commands. He is important, respected, and may do as he pleases. However, due to his age and the amount of responsibility that comes with being a leader, he decides it is time to transfer the Obligation onto his three daughters and their husbands so he can relax. Shortly after giving up the land, Lear’s status deteriorates and he quickly goes from King to nobody. He ends up outside during a violent storm, with just his fool.

Acknowledging is state and inability to escape the environment, Lear addresses nature: “You owe me no subscription. Then let fall Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand, your slave A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man. ”  At this point, he is in the position of a homeless beggar, which could not be farther from the royal treatment that he is used to. He realizes that he is becoming increasingly helpless. Lear was far from vulnerable when he was introduced as the paternal figure of Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. He would tell them what to do and made his position as the father very apparent.

They all told Lear how much he means to them, with Goneril and Regan going as far as saying they love him as much as life itself. This completely switches up when Lear visits Goneril after rewarding her with half of the kingdom. She is unhappy with his behaviour in her house, so she commands Oswald: “Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows. I’d have it come to question. If he distaste it, let him to my sister, Whose mind and mine, know, in that are one, Not to be overruled. Idle old man, That still would manage those authorities That he hath given away!

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Paradoxes in King Lear. (2017, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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