Theme Of Gender In King Lear

1909 Words 8 Pages
Historically, it is evident that masculine and feminine authorities display their power in contrasting ways. Three recent studies have concluded that only eighteen percent of men share similar personality traits with women, supporting the common standard that women are more “sensitive, attentive to others and apprehensive, while males are more forceful and aggressive.” (Rettner) While looking at the tragedy King Lear by William Shakespeare, the theme of gender division is outlined throughout the play. Lear mistakenly gives his kingdom to his two disloyal, masculine daughters while the loyal, feminine one is banished. Throughout King Lear, feminine power is much more triumphant than the power outlined from the masculine characters. Goneril …show more content…
Lear displays the masculine trait of being hostile, as he demands his most devoted daughter to leave the kingdom, which he does without contemplating the outcomes of his actions. This also reveals Lear’s aggressive nature, as he wishes for everyone to agree and support him for his title, rather than respect him for his actions. Lear’s mistake of giving away his kingdom is evident when the Fool exclaims:
When thou clovest thy crown i ' th ' middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thy ass o ' th ' back o 'er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gavest thy golden one away. (Shakespeare
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Although he makes this comprehensible to the king, Lear’s male-oriented personality does not allow him to entertain the idea, further representing his arrogant and feckless nature. This shows his ineffectual use of power, as he does not consider other’s judgments. Lear’s lack of consideration of others contributes to the lack of respect he receives from others, therefore decreasing his power. This is a masculine trait as he is failing to be perceptive, and Lear allows himself to be accompanied by one hundred obstreperous knights, who disturb his daughter in her home. (Shakespeare I.iv) This evidently causes Goneril to be enraged at his actions, and plot against his capacity. Lear admits to his poor ruling abilities as he states “Oh, I have ta 'en / Too little care of this!” (Shakespeare III.iv.32-33) Although he admits to his failure, it further shows that he is unable to rule effectively, as he can not consider the positions of other people until he is physically put into the situation himself, with this situation being homelessness. Although Lear is evidently unfit to preside his power due to his masculine attitude, his superior daughter, Cordelia displays irreconcilable actions, which make her able to manage her power

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