Betrayal Within Shakespeare 's King Lear Essay

1285 Words Nov 16th, 2015 null Page
Several of Shakespeare’s tragedies depict the theme of betrayal within a family. King Lear is an example of one of Shakespeare’s tragedies that does just that. In the play, there is betrayal within Lear’s family and it takes Lear retiring to bring out the malicious side of everyone. At the beginning of the play, Lear had a sense of home, but not so much when he decides to retire. Lear’s home does not seem so much like a home after all; it is a place, not a home, filled with selfish people who only care about power. Shakespeare demonstrates that even having power, family and an army behind him, King Lear never finds his “home” and instead he finds cruelty, deceit and madness. Shakespeare establishes in the opening scene of King Lear that power is the key of this play. Lear is retiring and he must choose what to do with his territory. Lear asserts his authority by making his daughters tell him how much they love him to decide who would get his territory (Shakespeare 1.1. 45-51). This shows that Lear is powerful by challenging his daughters to this “love game” of sorts to determine an outcome. Critics believe, “precisely what makes him powerful as a king incapacitates him for seeing the truth about himself and his kingdom. In part this outcome results from his being surrounded by hypocrites and flatterers, who reinforce his self-image and his confidence in the justice of his rule” (Alulis). Lear is unaware of the betrayal set forth in his kingdom and it shows that the power…

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