‘Journeys can involve the shattering of long held beliefs.’
Journeys can involve the shattering of long held beliefs. Something that we believed true can break apart in an instant. However, through these mistakes, we learn to step up from error and delusion, and acquire greater understanding of ourselves and the world. This is supported in Shakespeare’s play King Lear, and the article Mother Courage: At Home with Rosie Batty by the Monthly. Both King Lear and Rosie Batty go through life-changing journeys whereby the characters’ preconceived beliefs are proven wrong.
King Lear begins his journey as a flawed individual lacking self-awareness and largely out of touch of the world around him. Lear believes that he could abdicate responsibility without negative consequences. Blurred by egotism and pride, Lear makes a series of foolish decisions. When Kent advises Lear that he has made a mistake, Lear refuses to admit to it: “Come not between the dragon and his wrath”. Animal imagery is used to represent Lear’s “beastly” characteristics as he is enraged and unable to control his emotions. However, Lear soon realizes he was wrong when Goneril completely turns her back on him. Lear is in shock at his daughter’s betrayal and falls into an identity crisis: “Does any here know me? Why, this is not Lear. Doth Lear walk thus?…Who is that can tell me who I am?”. Short and repeated rhetorical questions portray the state of shock Lear is in. He learns that he was oblivious to reality, believing solely on what’s on the surface. Ironically, the Fool is the only character that provides Lear with reality: “ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mothers…put’st down thine own breeches”. Metaphor is used which indicate the fact that Lear’s daughters have become more like his “mother” and that Lear is responsible for basically giving up his authority as a king, father and an adult. Lear’s follies lead to the shattering of his beliefs.
While the storm reflects Lear’s inner turmoil and insanity, it also acts as a turning point in his journey whereby Lear’s virtues are awoken. Lear comments in a concerned and self-reflective tone: “Poor naked wretches… Oh, I have ta’en too little care of this!” Lear recognizes the plight of the poor and acknowledges that he failed to care for his people as a king. For the first time, Lear sh...