Essay Title: 

king lear

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in english literature, literature and language

`Bottoming Out ‘ in Shakespeare ‘s King Lear

In Shakespeare ‘s King Lear , the concept of `bottoming out ‘ can be seen throughout . King Lear reaches his financial bottom after giving away most , and then subsequently losing all , of his possessions to his two eldest daughters . Great Britain itself hits bottom when it is forced into war with France . Many characters reach their emotional bottom each with varying end results . This essay will explore how the characters reached their emotional bottoms , how they knew they had reached their emotional bottoms , and what benefits they [banner_entry_middle]

received from these realizations

One assumption that is often made regarding hitting bottom ‘ is that the person will go through some transformation and emerge a happier , if not a better , person . This is not the case with Goneril , King Lear ‘s eldest daughter . Her descent into what really became madness began with greed and jealousy . Her greed turned obsessive as she schemed with , and eventually against , her sister Regan . Her own madness and obsession led to the murder of her sister . It was the revelation of her treachery against her husband that led her to despair so deeply that she committed suicide . Her despair was not out of repentance , but out of defeat . In the end , she finds no salvation

Gloucester , on the other hand , seeks suicide in the depths of despair but finds salvation . He experiences treachery at the hands of his illegitimate son , Edmund . Having given away all of his possessions and his title to his treacherous son , reaching his financial bottom , he loses his physical eyesight and gains the insight of clarity . This plunges him into despair so deeply that he feels the only way out is suicide , his emotional bottom . His legitimate son , Edgar , tricks him into believing that he tried to commit suicide but God spared him Gloucester gains salvation through the knowledge that his legitimate son has stood by him , all before he dies anyway

Of course , the most obvious example of hitting bottom can be seen in King Lear himself . After disowning his faithful youngest daughter Cordelia , Lear is subjected to the injustices of his eldest daughters Goneril and Regan . As he travels back and forth between their homes they reward his generosity to them by stripping him of his every possession and all of his followers . He has hit his financial bottom He responds to their statement that he does not need his followers any longer with “Reason not the need ! Our basest beggars are in the poorest things superfluous . Allow not nature more than nature needs , Man ‘s life is cheap as beast ‘s ” He bases his worth on his possessions

After this , he is left virtually alone and is eventually cast out into the storm . The storms reflect Lear ‘s growing madness , and yet reveal his clarity at the same time . He sees the injustices played upon his poor subjects by his own actions . He sees the misjudgments he made regarding his daughter , Cordelia . Despite all the assistance… [banner_entry_footer]

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