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King Lear Seminar
Transcript of King Lear Seminar
Do you think that its Lear's sins that cause bad things to happen to him or are other responsible for his downfall?
Lear, calling himself a man more sinned against than sinned is false, as the reason he has bad things happen to him is due to his own sins in his bad decisions, loss of mental stability, and his excessive pride.
Bad Decision Making
Throughout the play Lear makes rash and blind decisions without proper judgement of future consequences. When he experiences these consequences, he feels as if the sins of other characters are responsible for the bad things that happen to him.
Gives Away Land
In act one Lear decides to divide his land among his three daughters. This is ends up affecting him later in the play because by giving away his land he gives away all his power. And essentially puts his life in the hands of his two daughters. This is significant because the daughters then begin to mistreat, and betray Lear, causing him feel like the victim when it was the decision of dividing the land which caused his daughters to betray him.
Lear calls himself “a man more sinned against than sinned”(3.4.58-59), is this true, or is some of the blame placed on other characters in the play
By Nick Ribeiro
Competition Between Daughters
Another example of Lear making a bad decision in the play which later on leads him being to being betrayed and mistreated, is when he decides to make a competition to see which daughter will get the most land. By doing this he ends up giving away all his land to the two daughters who fake their love, and disowns the daughter who is most honest about her love. This is significant because through this decision the daughters who don't like him have the power to do what they want, and the one daughter who loves him is no longer there to help him. Furthermore through this bad decision it is clear that it's Lear's sins that cause bad things to happen to him in the play not the sins of the other characters.
Real vs Fake
In the begging of the play Cordelia is seen as the daughter who's love for her Dad is real and true as she confesses “quote”
Through this confession it is clear that Cordelia is hounest and real compared to her other to Sisters
Regan and Goneril
In the play Regan and Goneril are seen as fake and dishonest when it comes to the love of their father as once they received their land they become rude and disrespectful locking their father out their castle.
Loss of Mental Stability
Fool: "Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle. (1.4.122-124)
"The tragic hero generally passes from prosperity to woe, but this movement is not merely downhill. The Pain which he undergoes is often parlty self in flicted, for he willfully violates an existing code. He insist on expressing himself even though he must suffer in the end".(General Introduction. 12)
This quote relates directly to Lear as the problems he faces are self-inflicted through his various actions throughout the play. Contrary to his beliefs that the reason he experiences these terrible happen to him are due to other characters sins. When in reality it is he himself when who breaks the existing code which lead to the destruction in the end
Insanity is a central theme in the play as Lear himself goes mad and losses all mental stability. As the play progresses it is clear his madness has taken over his thoughts. Lear's Madness plays an important role in the justification that he himself is responsible for the bad things that happen to him throughout the play.
"He shows poor judgment, in rejecting first the loving Cordelia and later the loving Kent. He is moody and unpredictable, alternating between obsequiousness and magnificent cursing rages in his dealings with Goneril and Regal. He is also quite labile, for on several occasions he lapses into maudlin self-pity that contrasts sharply with his dignified pride, as when he complains that he is “more sinned against then sinning” (act III, scene 2, line 60)."(The Artist as a Scientist, Nancy J. C. Andreasen.
This quote exemplifies that through the insanity of Lear he becomes prone to bad things happen to him, once again proving that he himself is responsi for the consequences he faces.
Lear's Loss of Mental Stability
With the decay of Lear's mind Cordellia feels that she needs to help her father in his time of need even though he disowned her in act one. Because Cordelia was associated with helping Lear when they are captured after the war Cordelia is murdered. Therefore making Lear responsible for Cordelia's death, as he was the one to banish her in his insanity, and require the need of his daughter to recover.
King Lear exemplifies a tragic hero throughout the play as he repeatedly exemplifies his excessive pride. Through this excessive pride Lear creates many problems for himself which he does not take responsibility for even though it is his sins that cause these bad things to happen.
Lear: " Why no, boy nothing can be made out of nothing".(1.4.125)
Goneril: "he always lov'd most; and with poor judgement he hath now cast her off apppears to groosly"(1.1.286-289).
"Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone forever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She’s dead as earth"(5.3.256–260).
"The flaw or crack in character , is really nothing --and need not be nothing-- but his Inherent unwillingness to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignity, his image of his rightfully status. (Tragedy and the Common Man, Arthur Miller).
This quote is significant because it relates directly to King Lear as many times within the play we see Lear display this inherit unwillingness to remain passive in the face of a challenge to his dignity, and through this he has many bad things happen to him.
Example of Excessive Pride
A way in which Lear's excessive pride is clearly shown is when both Regan and Goneril demand Lear reduces his men. Lear responds in anger and disbelief that he has been told such a thing. As he feels as though he needs all one-hundred of his nights with him as travels. Through Goneril and Regan challenging Lear rightful status Lear excessive pride is put on display as he rejects this demand and then gets kicked out. Thsu showing that through his excessive pride bad things happen that only he himself are responsible for.
“My train are men of choice and rarest parts, / That all particulars of duty know,” (1.4.240–241).
Throughout the course of the play it is made clear that that it's the sins of Lear himself to him that cause bad things to happen to him. This is shown through his inability to use proper judgment when making decision, his loss of mental stability, and his excessive pride. Which all play a crucial role in the overall downfall of Lear and the Kingdom in which he reigns.