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King Lear

            Shakespeare's "King Lear" essentially revolves around the concept of world order, based on cosmology, that is an understanding of the nature of the relationships in all ordered things in the universe. This is of great importance as it provides a background in which the themes of the play are built. Shakespeare portrays the struggle between chaos and order through the irrevocability of Lear's actions and his resultant suffering, which vibrates throughout the play, causing personal, communal and universal disorder. Further disarray transpires as clash in moral order becomes more evident and disruptive. Since the first production of King Lear in 1606, it has had several interpretations, which derived from many philosophical underpinnings and literary theories, which have therefore had several approaches to thematic emphasis, conception of characters, aspects of staging and time settings. It is for this reason why there are differences in the dramatisation of the struggle between chaos and order within King Lear, many of which are often baffling and mutually contradicting.
             In a pre-Christian era, a king represented an earthy-God, where he was looked upon as mighty and flawless. This ideology kept order within the whole of society, however, chaos stemmed as this belief was disrupted as Lear gave away his kingship. As Lear attempted to regain his role as king, he was shut out of his daughters' home and it was through his arrogance where he rejected to accept the catastrophic consequences of his actions and it was through Lear's folly and denial that led directly to his madness, 'O let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!' Lear's struggle to maintain his sanity is effectively shown through Act III Scene IV and VI, showing his dramatic character development. These scenes are pivotal to Lear's growing understanding and realisation of natural laws as he wavers between hallucinations and accurate perceptions.

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