The Corruption Of Power In Shakespeare's King Lear

1036 Words 4 Pages
Power is the ability to manipulate and control what one desires; it is convincing someone to do something without asking authority, but it also has a positive connotation with favourable characteristics to support it. Shakespeare uses these characteristics to contrast between the moral and the corrupt. However in “King Lear” there is a prominent aspect of power that corrupts the characters foreshadowing their death. Goneril and Regan are corrupted by the power given by their father Lear and their sexual desire for Edmund. Edmund is corrupted by a greed to be more dominant then Edgar and Gloucester. Once Goneril, Regan and Edmund have the power, they will do absolutely anything to stay in control of the power. Even go to the brink of killing …show more content…
However, through Lear’s daughter Cordelia Shakespeare contrasts the play by showing that power can be obtained by means of truth, honesty and integrity. The most distinguished appearance of corrupted power is shown through king Lear’s daughter’s Goneril and Regan. Throughout the play the sisters work together manipulating their way to the top eventually becoming the mistresses’ of Britain. Shakespeare illustrates this through the use of dishonesty and deceit and is first shown when Goneril mocks her father. Telling him he is “old and reverend, [he] should be wise. [but he] keep[s] a hundred knights and squires;[they are] so disorder 'd, so debosh 'd, and bold [that they] infect [us] with their manners.”( 1. 4 .150-153) Here, Goneril is throwing her father in the dirt and scorns him. Saying he is stupid and thoughtless to think that having even one knight is reasonable. This begins as a catalyst for Goneril and Regan. They realize that their father can 't fight back because he has no where to go. The sister’s use this against him and plot to destroy him and his comrade(Gloucester). Their actions to eradicate him go so far, that Regan excitedly say’s toward’s Gloucester to, “Pluck out his…eyes!” ( 3 . 7. 178) but…she doesn 't stop there and commands …show more content…
It is shown through his deceptive and revenge fuel’d temper to gain authority over his “family”. Shakespear shows this through the use of repetition to emphasize his wrath in Edmunds soliloquy: “ Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. / Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund / As to the legitimate. Fine word— “legitimate”! / Well, me legitimate, if this letter speed, / And my invention thrive, Edmund the base / Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper.” (1.2.1-22) The repeated use of the adjective “legitimate” infers Edmunds infatuation with his father’s choice of the rightful heir(Edgar) makes him jealous. He, in turn feeds off his anger in belief that he should be receiving the same treatment Edgar receives from his father. This brings the quote “I grow; I prosper,” foreshadows what comes later in the play; he grows, from a small seed in the ground to a poisonous patch of weeds infecting everyone that crosses his path, like Regan and Goneril. This can be shown through his manipulation of Goneril and their admittance to “[having] commission[ed], from thy wife and me/ To hang Cordelia in the prison.” ( 4 . 3 . 270- 271 )Eventually leading to his downfall solely due to his craving for power and Edgar’s desire for his head. From the action’s taken by Edmund, the audience is left with a nightmare of predicaments wondering how Lear is going to react. Shakespeare may have

Related Documents