King Lear: Kings and Fools
In Shakespeare’s play King Lear, the main character is King Lear who starts off as a respected and powerful king. As the story progresses the king loses his power because of his own stupidity and blindness. The tragedy of this play is shown through the daughters of the king, the fool, and finally when Lear’s sanity is tested.
At the beginning of the play, King Lear is powerful and harsh. He decides he doesn’t want to be king anymore, and so he asks his daughters, Reagan, Goneril, and Cordelia to tell him how much they love him. He does this so he may give them a dowry to be married with. First, Goneril lies when she tells her father how much she adores him and would never disrespect him. Next, is the daughter Reagan, she does the same as her sister and lies to the king saying that she loves him with all of her heart. Finally, Cordelia tells her father that she could not tell him how much she loves him, because she had no words. The king was very upset with Cordelia and because of his madness towards Cordelia thinking that she did not love him as much as her other sisters, he divided the land in two and gave Reagan and Goneril each half. Cordelia on the other hand received nothing as her dowry and in turn no none would marry her except the King of France. Giving the land to the two daughters was the first of Lear’s mistakes, for the daughters did not love him as much as Cordelia did, but they wished to have his riches. When Goneril and Reagan are in power they try to make Lear appear to be incompetent. They refer to him as “The Idle Old Man” in front of everyone and start to make even Lear think less of himself. Although the two sisters do this they also realize that Lear still holds a great deal of power in their areas, so they decided something must be done about it. The “loving” daughters command Lear to let go fifty of his one hundred servicemen, saying that they will not pay for it and that it is unnecessary. Lear then starts to worry that if Goneril isn’t happy then she in turn will make him unhappy and he agrees to let them go.