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"Shakespears vision of the world in King Lear was essentially pessimistic". Discuss.

Uploaded by dreamingtrees on Jun 03, 2006

"Shakespears vision of the world in King Lear was not essentially pessimistic. Heroes of romances survive. Heroes of tragedies die".

The Shaskespearean critic Kenneth Muir once said this of King Lear, and I have to say, it's hard not to agree with him. King Lear can be looked at as a tragedy, taking the death of innocence (Cordelia) into account. However, I feel that King Lear traces not only the painful, but beneficial odyssey of its protagonist from he folly and pride of the early scenes to the final hours of dignity and redemption. The journey is, on all accounts, harrowing. However, the outcome is a positive one. Lear passes through stages of great suffering with heroic endurance, to a wisdom which sees clearly the deceptions and falseness of his court and his family, and to weep bitter tears for his unfair treatment of Cordelia. There is no doubt that he has grown in understanding and goodness, which can be no means be seen as a pessimistic thing.

I can see how people would assume Shakespears vision of the world in King Lear to be an essentially pessimistic viewpoint-the deaths of Cordelia, Gloucester and Lear would come as a shock to those who are accustomed to fairy-tale endings. On the contrary, I feel Shakespear got the balance just right; realistically, good people die unnecessarily and in my opinion, he was merely attempting to bring peoples attention to the realism that life is not a utpoian dream.

Lear and Gloucesters recovery from moral blindness signifies hope. At the beginning of the play, the concept of Lear acting in a rational and understanding way seemed laughable. Lear and Gloucester represent ordinary, human men who have to learn the hard way about the good and evil within themselves and in the world around them.Both men begin the play with uncertainty and misunderstanding about the true nature of things. Both are challenged to rise above the adverse circumstances. Both become better people thruogh physical, spiritual and mental suffering.

"I stumbled when I saw"

The irony in this is unmistakeable; Gloucester once had perfect vision, yet he was blind to his own misjudgements and mistakes. He has been...

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Uploaded by:   dreamingtrees

Date:   06/03/2006

Category:   King Lear

Length:   4 pages (825 words)

Views:   2881

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