What Defines Us?

In King Lear, it is shown that Lear’s most defining characteristic is the fact that he is a powerful king. However, what else do we know about him as a character? Do we associate his character more than his influence?

Many people today associate powerful people with traits like intelligence, success, and devotion. However, the person could in reality embody none of those traits at all. We only associate them with those traits because of their position. A big name CEO can be praised all over the internet for their hard work, but could have had all of the resources to become powerful. While, someone in a position of power would receive no praise at all, simply because of their lack of power and influence. They would get told to “pick up themselves from their bootstraps” or to simply “work harder” when in reality, no matter how hard they worked, they would never achieve the same level of “success” as others in power.

Lear, forcibly gets to understand what power truly was and how influential it was to his image and his character. He is no more than his title, has no other defining character traits, and essentially is nothing without what he had. Thus, leading him to spiral into insanity. What do we do without identity?

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