Essay on William Shakespeare 's King Lear

1086 Words Jan 23rd, 2015 5 Pages
C.S. Lewis once said “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust”. Throughout history, humans have asked many philosophical questions, including the existence of divine justice. This concept was significant throughout the Elizabethan era, as religion played a major role in ordinary life. In the play ‘King Lear’, Shakespeare mandates that as opposed to justice being divinely ordained, it is up to humans to administer justice in this world. Shakespeare utilizes unfair punishment, character epiphanies, wrongly rewarded characters and the absence of justice to demonstrate that it is up to humankind to deliver justice.
Shakespeare utilizes characters who have been unfairly punished as a means to get across that justice does not exist without humans to inflict it. For example, after having been abruptly dismissed into the storm by his daughters, Lear wails that he is “a man more sinned against than sinning” to the sky (3.2 60-61). Lear is crying out against the world’s crimes, seeking retribution from divine forces that don’t seem to exist. This call to action is futile because it was Reagan and Goneril’s own twisted form of morality that banished Lear. Furthermore, Gloucester comments that the “[gods] kill… for their sport” after having his eyes gouged out” (4.1 42-43). Gloucester is acknowledging that his actions do not not justify the harsh punishment he received, and blames the gods for not caring. This treachery was committed by a human, and…

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