King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare somewhere between 1603 and 1606. The play is based on an old legend revolved around Leir of Britain, a mythological Celtic king. The main character of the play is King Lear, an elderly man who had held the throne in Britain, but as he approached old age decided to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters. He did not simply divide the kingdom equally amongst the three of them, but asked them to prove themselves to him, and when the youngest daughter was silent when asked how much she loved her father, King Lear decided to give all of the land to his other two daughters. After he realizes he made a mistake, he falls into madness and runs away from the land.
Should Lear have run? My thesis paper will explore how Lear fleeing Britain played an integral role in the play King Lear and the purpose his own self exile served towards the plot of the story. I will also explore what turns the play would have taken if Lear did not decide to flee Britain after he realized his mistakes, shamed himself and was betrayed by his three daughters. If King Lear decided to stay and try to reconcile with Cordelia, how would the play have turned out? Would King Lear have gone mad at all? I will explore the role self-exile plays not only in King Lear, but discuss in what instances self exile would ever be a good option for someone.