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The Self-Exile of King Lear, Essay Example

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In William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy King Lear, the title character, an aging British king, makes a definitive decision to flee his homeland due to his perceived notion that his daughter’s, one of whom was to control his Empire after his death, had turned their backs on him. This was indeed the truth when it came to his eldest daughters, however, not when it came to his youngest, and favorite. Upon her declaration that nothing she could either say or do could ever show her true love and admiration for her father, the King became enraged and eventually fled based on his perceived idea. Though Lear is a very typical tragic figure in the type cast Shakespearean drama–easily comparable to characters such as Hamlet or Julius Caesar–he does have individual intricacies that define his situation, as well as the situation of the people around him.

Lear fell into madness, and fled his homeland in favor of a beggar’s life. Ironically, his faithful servant was simply dealt this punishment for remaining loyal to Lear. His favorite daughter was also greatly effected by Lear’s disappearance–her French-backed army was destroyed, and both herself and her father were captured. If the character of King Lear had not decided to flee his throne, the consequences would have been very far-reaching–all of which include the fate of his faithful companion, the fate of Britain as it was thrust into a power struggle, as well as perhaps keeping not only himself and his faithful daughter alive, but even maintaining his sanity as a whole–questioned so frequently throughout the play.

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