Theme Of Betrayal In King Lear

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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 …show more content…
The deceit from Goneril and Regan are no help to anyone, including themselves. They both turn their backs on their family and betray their father’s trust. Both are willing to hurt and/or kill anyone to get power, all with disregard to family. Their cruelty is unacceptable and it shows that they care very little for their father and only care about getting more power. Lear feels like he has no home because his two eldest daughters have exiled him from their homes. Lear retiring and not having control over anything anymore has made him go a little mad. His madness is directly related to his family and “in Shakespeare 's time the insane [the people who go mad] were taken care of at home by their families” (Bennett 142). His family was not willing to house him and that played a role in his madness when he goes off into the storm. Lear obviously cannot have a home if neither of his two daughters are willing to take him in and care for him. A critic describes Lear “…in a state of chaos, and a hovel cannot replace a home that would withstand the storm raging both inside his mind and outside” (Yang 74). The little shack-like place Lear is taking shelter in is not his home and cannot withstand all that madness holed up in his …show more content…
Lear is essentially in power until he decides that it is time to retire and instead of picking someone to take over his territory for him, he creates a “love test” to determine the winner between his three daughters. Lear ends up losing his power and family because of deceit. His two eldest daughters decide that they are going to take as much power as they can and do not care what they have to do to win power. Lear feels like he is an outcast and that he does not have a home anymore because he has no power and his family turned on him. Critics believe that Lear goes mad because he no longer has the power he once had. They think that Lear does not differentiate between power as a king and love as a father. Lear shows that he believe power and love is the same by having his daughters compete in the “love test” to see who gets the most territory. Lear experiences madness when he is no longer in control. Goneril and Regan show cruelty and deceit to both Lear and their other sister. Family has no place in this play. The two eldest sisters believe power is key and Lear believes that power and love are the same. Lear does not find his home in this play because of all the deceit and cruelty going on in his family over

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