William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English playwright and poet. Through a wide variety of characters, he expressed a profound knowledge of the human behavior to display the deepest levels of human motivation in individual, social, and universal situations. Shakespeare's third period produced some of his greatest tragedies.
King Lear (1604) deals with the consequences and misjudgments of Lear. Throughout this story the is a pervasive sense of doom. The division of Lears kingdom was made on the basis of professed love, Cordelia was rejected because she saidNothing , my Lord.? Lear responded, Nothing.? Cordelia again answered, Nothing.? Lear replied, Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.? .?Give but that portion which yourself proposed.? Lear respondedNothing! I have sworn; I am firm.? .
Lear was a ruler in early Britain and his irresponsibility and that of his counselor, the Duke of Gloucester led to tragedy for all. The tragedy was a result of his giving power to their evil children rather than their good children.
The conclusion is reinforce by the portrayal of evil as self-defeating. The examples are Cordelia's sisters and Gloucester's opportunistic son receiving their just rewards. Lear's good daughter Cordelia displays love and goodness. The tragic conclusion is perhaps Shakespeare's greatest tragedy. .
Typically tragedy shows the downfall of a hero from a happy life to death.
The anguish of the hero comes from the imperfect knowledge of ourselves and others.
From human character flaws and human error even the innocent are often punished. This is often painful to accept. Human nature is often misleading. One would like to think there is a rational system of the duties of families, hosts and guests, and kings and subjects. Yet more often we find rationalists explain our nature by our appetite for power and self-interest. .
There are two plots. One where two evil daughters help banish a good daughter in a love test by King Lear.