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King Lear Essay

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Throughout King Lear, trust is given to characters who are dishonest and do not deserve it. For instance, Lear trusts his daughters Regan and Goneril when they tell him how much they love him. Although Lear believes he is making the right decision, he is blind to the fact that his daughters are pretending to love him in order to receive his land. Consequently, the lies that Lear is misled to believe results in the corruption of the play. During Shakespeare's King Lear, Lear has to become insane before seeing the truth in his life.

At the beginning of the play, Lear plays a game with his three daughters to determine who loves him the most. Unfortunately, Lear gives his trust to Regan and Goneril, but he is blind to the fact that they deceive him about how much they love him. In turn, Lear banishes his favourite daughter, Cordelia, who believes "Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides,/ who covers faults at last with shame derides./ Well may you prosper" (Ii325-327). As proven, Cordelia can see the truth of what her sisters are trying to do and warns Lear that he has fallen for Regan and Goneril's lies. As well, Cordelia believes that with time Lear will come to see this truth and realize that he has divided his kingdom amongst his greedy, dishonest daughters.

Because Lear trusts Goneril and Regan's exaggeration, he banishes his loyal daughter Cordelia who warns him of her two sisters. Lear is blind to the fact that Cordelia is being honest when he asks how much she loves him and he cannot realize that she deserves his trust all along. Although Lear sends Cordelia away with nothing, she still cares about him and wants to help him when her two conniving sisters betray him:

O, my dear father, restoration hang

Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss Repair those violent harms that my two sisters

Have in thy reverence made (IVvii31-34).

Therefore, Lear should have known to listen to his honest daughter Cordelia who truly cares about him, instead of falling for the tricks of his other daughters. Consequently, Lear's mistake of trusting his selfish daughters and not recognizing Cordelia's warning leads to his madness.

Due to Regan and Goneril's betrayal of their father, Lear becomes insane. He gave them everything he has and they do not return the same treatment. Consequently, his madness is a result of the stress and betrayal he feels from his daughters. For example, they kick him out of their castles, which were previously Lear's castles, and do not keep their promise of allowing him the one hundred knights he requests. In addition, they betray their father by not caring for him and allowing him to run out into a storm after all the years he spent caring for and raising them. In one situation, Albany notices the poor mental state of the former King Lear "He knows not what he says, and vain is it/That we present us to him" (VIiii355-356). Albany thinks Lear has gone completely insane because he is unable to comprehend the fact that all of his daughters are dead. Therefore, Lear is still blind to what is going on around him and has not yet overcome his weakness of knowing himself and his surroundings.

Throughout the play, Lear is shown to be an easy character to manipulate because he does not truly know himself. For instance, Lear trusts Regan and Goneril's views of him and believes their claims that he is a good man. But, Lear is proven to be childish by the games he plays with his daughters, irresponsible for giving up all his land, and immature in how he reacts to Cordelia. As he becomes insane, it is clear that Lear's views about himself are based on lies from Regan and Goneril, which proves he does not know himself or his own truth at all. Although, as Lear gains insight

Ha! Goneril with a white beard? They flattered

me like a dog and told me I had the white hairs

...

...

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