Essay on The Theme Of Man Versus Self, And Man Vs. World

1408 Words Jan 5th, 2015 6 Pages
In almost every literary work there are three recurring themes: man versus man, man versus self, and man versus world. King Lear, written by William Shakespeare, emphasizes the theme of man versus self. Lear’s madness is what Shakespeare uses to develop the theme in order to create a tragic effect. Lear’s mental delusions and eccentric behaviors can be seen during his division of his kingdom amongst his daughters, and mock trial for his daughters. Yet, Lear’s delusions and behaviors caused by mental stress and guilt can be judged reasonable considering his daughters’ betrayals and his realization of his mistakes as a father. The first instance in which Lear’s madness is evident is during Act 1 scene 1, when Lear divides his kingdom amongst his daughters. Lear’s plan for division is essentially based upon which daughter could flatter him the most. “Which of you shall we say doth love us most, That we our largest bounty may extend” (1.1.51). Lear’s first delusion becomes present through this action. Lear believes that the daughter that announces their love with the most colorful language is the daughter that loves him the most. Goneril and Regan confess their love in superficial ways, but Cordelia, the truly faithful daughter, announces her love plainly by saying she loves Lear “According to my bond, no more nor less.” As a result, Lear disowns Cordelia and divides the kingdom only amongst Goneril and Regan (1.1.92). Lear is so delusional he can not see the greed past…

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