How far do Lear and Edmund contribute to their own downfalls in King Lear with reference to Act 1?

The philosopher Aristotle stated, a tragedy should consist of a tragic hero, whose own flaws and erroneous judgements bring about their demise. The view allows for sympathy towards the hero, as the audience may be able to identify with the heroes fatal flaw. This is true of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ whose tragic hero brings about his downfall through selfish actions, and as described by A.C Bradley is ‘the most painful and pathetic of Shakespeare’s four tragedies.’ However, in ‘King Lear’ it is not just Lear himself whose actions result in their own death; Shakespeare uses Aristotle’s principle for many of the characters in the play, making it all the more tragic, with the seeds of tragedy ...

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a mistake, which had inevitable consequences Lear could not foresee. Due to his own selfish and cruel actions, Lear loses his favourite daughter Cordeila, and his faithful servant Kent, he is then betrayed by the two daughters who Lear interpreted to ‘love him most’ and was consequently left alone on the verge of madness, battling the elements in a brutal storm. It can be said that Lear was instantly too quick to judge Cordelia, and took her speech as a sign of defiance and disrespect. Shakespeare develops Lear’s flaw through his tendency to rely on astrology and ‘the gods’. It has been interpreted by some, that unlike most people in the 1600’s, Shakespeare was against astrology, and even the notion of a god, and used King Lear as a vehicle to subtly voice his own opinions.
Lear’s fatal flaw in King Lear is his tendency to value appearance over reality. In reality, Goneril and Regan do not love Lear ‘more than the word can wield the matter’ as the say they do, yet Cordelia ...

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actions presented him with only one option, the face the consequences and accept his demise. The death of Cordelia, and it could be said the accumulation of guilt and madness push Lear over the edge towards his death, dying a powerless King. His values that contributed to his downfall change towards the ending of the play, he becomes much more humble and caring, cherishing Cordelia above everything else, just as he should have done in Act 1. Without Lear’s selfish and egotistical values, the deaths of Cordeila and ultimately Goneril, Regan and Kent could have been prevented. Lear not only contributed to his own downfall, but the downfall of others too, old age may have played a part ...

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How far do Lear and Edmund contribute to their own downfalls in King Lear with reference to Act 1?. (2011, March 29). Retrieved September 18, 2018, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/How-far-do-Lear-Edmund-contribute/97077
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 3/29/2011 01:45:10 PM
Submitted By: jessicaemily
Category: Shakespeare
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1596
Pages: 6

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