In King Lear, one of the protagonists, Lear himself, exhibits many similarities to historical dictators and tyrants. Although Lear has clearly not caused the same societal damage or outright atrocities as many notorious “leaders,” he possesses one trait common among all despots: lust for power.
In the actual play, Lear gives up his power to two of his daughters, Regan and Goneril, as he has gotten old and he no longer wants the duties of being king. To Lear’s surprise, his daughters do not treat him as he thinks he should be treated, which is like a king. Lear has gotten so used to being treated like a king that he believes that is how he should be treated even when he is no longer king. He makes demands that are not fulfilled and becomes angry because of it. He is eventually kicked out of the kingdom that was formerly his. Similar to many dictators, Lear thirsts for his lost power, and will stop at nothing to get it back. He does not want to deal with all of the problems he faced when he was king, but he continues to seek the respect and power he has when he was king. Ultimately, Lear is a power hungry guy who lost his main desire through no one’s fault but his own.