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Examining The Characteristics Of A Good King English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 768 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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A good king requires many characteristics that King Lear is lacking. Lear’s inabilities to see the truth, and identify the people that are most loyal to him, ultimately lead him to made poor decisions, and create a disaster for himself. King Lear quick temper, and over bearing pride which lead him to banish the people that are dearest, and most loyal to him. King Lear has too many unfit characteristics for a king; therefore he does not fit to govern the country.

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In the beginning of the play King Lear, Lear is shows as a very foolish and unwise character. His ignorance about his daughters’ feeling for him leads him to make some very foolish decisions. (King Lear, Act I, Sc I, 55-97), Lear was being very foolish, and believes what Gonoril and Regan said. Lear was extremely unwise for taking their words as their legitimate feeling for him, and gave all of the kingdom, and his power to them. (Act I, Sc I, 65-85).

Lear’s Tragedy begins as he gave all of his power away. To make matters worse, he banishes some of the most loyal people to him. (Act I, Sc I, 110-122), he disowns his favorite daughter because she is telling her truth feeling for him. He has too much pride to protect. He was too embarrassed because Cordelia did not flatter him like his other two daughters. “nothing will come of nothing…” (Act I, Sc I 93), this foreshadow Lear’s ending, because he decides to give Cordelia nothing, no land, nor power, so he ended up with nothing. It was just another characteristic of Lear that does not fit for a king to have, overbearing pride. Also, a king needs to be able to tell his daughter’s true love for him from fake one.

Lear is depicted as an old king; however he is not at all a wise king. The opposite of what is widely believe, “age comes with wisdom”. (Act I, Sc IV, 162-175), even the fool is making fun of Lear for giving all his power away. Also Lear is powerless to do anything to the fool, because he has given all his power away. (Act I, Sc IV, 185-205), this proves Lear’s inability to see things. Even the fool has notice that Lear did not have any more power. Yet Lear is still in denial. Lear was very ignorance of the situation, by giving the country to his daughters. He thought that he was just given away his duty to his daughters, and was still keeping the power to himself. That was a very foolish thinking for any king, especially one at his age. If Lear was wise, he would have realized that duty goes side by side with power. Also splitting a country in two and giving it to two queens would be a very bad idea. It would be like a ship with two captains, it will ultimately result in internal conflict.

Unlike Gloucester, Lear has his perfect eye sights. However Lear inability to see things as how they really are cost him greatly. Lear has mental blindness for the situation. (Act I, Sc I, 55-97), a good king would be able to see through his daughters’ manipulative speeches, and their plan to dethrone him. In Lear’s case, he was mentally blinded by their speeches, and believes them. A good king would have bases their actions on what he saw from them, not what he heard from them.

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Lear’s blindness leads to his many poor judgments, and decisions. He gave everything he has away and left nothing for himself. So he is completely powerless to his daughters. (Act II, Sc IV, the whole scene), Lear’s daughters is stripping him of every last drop of power he possesses, the ultimately kick him out of the palace, and into the storm. (Act I, Sc I, 110-182), Lear banishes the only two people who are loyal to him. Kent is the only loyal servant, and Cordelia is the only daughter who shows that she legitimately loves her father. Lear’s inability to differentiate the good from the bad people proven that he is unfit to govern.

Lear is the tragic hero of the play, even though he realizes his mistake, and attempted to fix them. His foolishness and blindness cause the people who love him to suffer. Lear’s quick temper and overbearing pride leads him to make very irrationalize decisions, and causes disaster for himself, the people he loves, and his country. Splitting the kingdom, and let it be govern by two queens, is the most stupid decision a king can make, because that would ensure the destruction of the kingdom. Also, a king will never give all his power away, and left himself with nothing. Based on all the decisions king Lear have made in the play, I do not think Lear is fit to govern his country.


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