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Justice in King Lear.
Transcript of Justice in King Lear.
By: Jing & Christine
Lear later stages a mock trial to punish his two daughters in Act 3 Scene 6.
Act 3 Scene 7 Cornwall gouges Gloucester’s eye out for helping Lear.
Gloucester like Lear has shown favor to one of his children over the other, he learns from his mistakes only after paying for them.
The illegitimate Edmund is vanquished by his legitimate brother Edgar - Edgar decides to seek justice all by himself. He wants to see his brother punished for his deeds and for Lear and Cordelia's death.
Goneril poisons her sister and commits suicide,
Edgar kills Edmund who has had Cordelia killed and Lear dies of a broken heart.
Only a few survive.
The play clearly shows that power itself cannot determine its own outcome.
What do characters in the play say about the existence of divine power and divine justice?
When do characters pray to the gods? Are their prayers ever answered?
Do any of the characters get justice in the end? Why or why not?
How and why do your think Cordelia dies in the end?
How does her death shape our understanding of justice in the play?
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport - Gloucester
The gods are just - Edmund
In the end, the reader is left with only uncertainty—
the wicked die, but the good die along with them as well.
There is goodness in the world of the play, but there is also madness and death, and it is difficult to tell which triumphs in the end.
Character's in "
" think the gods are just and should put their power to people who deserve it. Yet, the character's get unfair punishment from the gods instead.
Theme of Justice
Edmund & Edgar experience a divine justice, after the battle between France and England. The Christian bible speaks of a type of battle where evil and good fight, to solve a problem between them.
"...My name is Edgar, and I'm your father's son. The gods are fair, and they use our little vices to punish us..." (Pg. 295)
Regan and Goneril show the divine justice of the gods given to them by their father's power. The sister's treat him carelessly, then fight over who should get Edmund. Shortly after they both die.
"Your wife, sir, your wife. And her sister's dead too, poisoned by your wife. She confessed."
--Second Knight (Pg. 299)
"Heaven help her!--Get him out of here for now."
--Albany (Pg. 303)
Lear enters with Cordelia in his arms, followed by the Third Knight.
If you want evidence that divine justic does not exist in the play, Albany prays to the gods to protect Cordelia from infliction. Then King Lear brings Cordelia's lifeless body outside.
King Lear asks a question that no one can answer, not even the reader's too.
"And my poor fool was hanged..., Why should a dog or horse or rat have life, but not you? You'll never come to me again, never,..."
--King Lear (Pg. 309)
Shakespeare refused to give an explanation to Cordelia's death because there was no answer to explain. Cordelia's death was to give Lear a back stabbing realization that he has none of his living daughter's alive, and to never be seen again.