Expectations are Often Blind of Reality’s Likely Course

As seen in Act 1, scene 1, of Shakespeare’s King Lear, Lear intends to divide his kingdom amongst his daughters. It is inferred in this scene that King Lear expects his power will stay dominant over the kingdom despite the decision to give it all up. Clearly, Lear has been delusional from his previous safe and non-problematic rule enough to think that he will still hold power when he has chosen to give up his rule. However, giving up his power was not the cause of his loss of power, but it was who he gave it up to that destroyed him.

In my true heat
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short
– (Regan, Act 1, Scene 1)

Regan and Goneril profess their “love” for King Lear saying that words can’t even describe their love, despite saying previously that words cannot describe how much they love their father. Lear turns a blind eye to these obviously exaggerated and distorted comments for the sake of his expectations. Instead of seeing what is clearly happening right in front of him (Goneril and Regan sucking up to their father in order to get the lands), Lear does not care as he believes that whatever he expects to happen, will happen. This is the downfall of Lear, and Shakespeare makes it a theme in the play. People in power often think that whatever they think is law, so how could any outcome that they didn’t want happen? That is the mindset of people like King Lear and the sisters until they too have suffered as the commons do. Perspective is one thing that almost never coexists with power.

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