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King Lear Essay

974 words - 4 pages

Paul D. Abreu Jr. November 17, 1998 English 213 C Does King Lear achieve a kind of redemption in the end when he is reunited with Cordelia? King Lear does achieve a kind of redemption when he is reunited with Cordelia in Acts IV and V of the tragedy. What kind of redemption he achieves is open to interpretation. In order to understand the King's redemption, it must be determined what the King is redeemed from. Once this sin is established, an analysis can be made as to when the King is redeemed, and how. I propose that King Lear's folly, for which he is later redeemed occurs in Act I scene 1. As an opening scene should, this scene sets up all the characters of the play. In this scene, Lear ...view middle of the document...

He comes to the conclusion that he is "a man more sinned against than sinning"(928). This conclusion leads Lear to the first hint of sorrow and redemption: My wits begin to turn. Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold? I am cold myself . . . Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart That's sorry yet for thee. (928) While this is the beginning of Lear's recognition of his guilt, it is far from redemption, for he still views Regan and Goneril as the evil ones, and not himself: Death, traitor! Nothing could have subdued nature To such a lowness but his unkind daughters. Is it the fashion that discarded fathers Should have thus little mercy on their flesh Judicious punishment! "˜t was this flesh begot Those pelican daughters (931). Lear follows with a mock trial convicting his two evil daughters, truly a pitiful sight. In Act IV Scene 6, King Lear enters into another phase of insane rants. These rants are more than his embellished sorrow as in earlier scenes. They almost reflect optimistic indifference. The King realizes the cruelty of life and human existence in lengthy metaphors and religious reference. He displays pity for himself and the blinded Lord Gloucester. This seems almost to be an epiphany of logic and almost redemption in the midst of insanity. This is evinced by Edgar's comment: "O matter and impertinency mixed! Reason in madness"(951). Lear concludes when he thinks he is captured, by acknowledging his position and...

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