Theme Of Self Knowledge In King Lear

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Self-knowledge is defined as the understanding of oneself or one’s own motives or characters. In the tragedy of King Lear, death is a common factor as is most tragedies written by Shakespeare. Throughout King Lear, many of the characters lacked self-knowledge when the play began. Due to the circumstances at large, many of the characters in the play either began to change for the chance of surviving, such like Edgar. Other characters like Lear began to change, but some characters remained “true to their nature.” Two examples of this would be Cordelia and Regan. Cordelia and Regan represented the two sides in a tragedy, the good and the bad. Cordelia stayed faithful to her father and never had intentions of faking her love for him, whereas Regan …show more content…
Although characters such as Lear and Cordelia did not deserve to die, they served as symbolic sacrifices and the blame for their deaths were at the hands of Regan and Goneril. With the urgency for power, the sisters thought they could work together to overthrow their father’s wishes to divide his kingdom. Regan was true to her nature throughout the play and did not change even when she was placed in different circumstances. She showed no sympathy for anyone, including her family. Her ruthlessness left those around her dead. Regan cannot be blamed for the death of Edmund but can be blamed for allowing him to become such a powerful being before the end of the play. Regan allowed her jealously to create a strain on her relationship with Goneril. This ended with Goneril poisoning her sister and then later killing herself. Although Regan had a negative effect on those in King Lear, Cordelia had somewhat of a positive impact. Her appearances were cut small during the play, but the audience always seemed to have her in the back of their minds. While watching Regan and her sister destroy what their father worked hard on, it is easy to wonder what this story would be like at the hands of a decent person. Even Lear began to doubt his decision to allow Regan and Goneril to go as far as they did, which drove him to insanity. One of Cordelia’s main purposes is to create the “what ifs” in the play. What would have happened if Cordelia would not have allowed her sisters to become evil? Cordelia also gives hope that not everyone in this play has bad intentions. Cordelia stayed true to herself and did not allow herself to fall into the games placed by Lear and her sisters. Although she did not cave during Lear’s love game and she ended up getting banished, she still proved to Lear that she was his favorite daughter. It can be seen as ironic that Cordelia was in the end a perfect daughter to Lear and he

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