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King Lear Themeatic Essay

             Examine this extract and relate it to any two thematic ideas in the play as a whole.
             In the play "King Lear" by William Shakespeare, there are two main thematic ideas; hope/despair and justice/injustice. .
             In this extract Lear has been cast out into the wind and rain of the storm by his two daughters Goneril and Regan, with only the Fool at his side. He is soon joined by Kent, who tries to persuade Lear to take shelter in a nearby hovel. Lear however is on the brink of madness and agrees to go with Kent only after feeling sympathy for his Fool and "knave". .
             In this play the theme of hope and despair is highly illustrated by Shakespeare. The very structure of the work lends itself to creating suspense and uncertainty in the minds of the audience. In this scene, Lear and the Fool are in danger of dieing from the extreme conditions and lack of shelter; Lear is an old man, and a King whom is not suited to surviving in the conditions. However, hope surfaces when he is joined by "Caius" (the disguised Kent), who leads his master to shelter and in effect saves his life. There are many other instances in the play such as this. When Gloucester is lead to the edge of the cliff by Edgar we expect to see a symbol of hope and loyalty to the king (Gloucester) take his own life, yet the virtuous Edgar intervenes and tricks his father into thinking he had leapt from the cliff and survived; thus putting hope back into the minds of the audience. .
             In the battle between the two sisters for Edmunds" love, hope surfaces once again when we learn that Regan has succumb to the poison of her elder sister Goneril. It is at this point that we begin to wonder what has happened to Cordelia; but the irrepressible Shakespeare keeps us in suspense, instead leading us back to the subplot of Gloucester, Edmund and Edgar. The belief that good can triumph over evil is heightened when Edgar slays Edmund; however with his final breath the illegitimate son tips the balance the other way: .

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