Lear and His Posse

King Lear’s knights appear as an important recurring symbol throughout the play. After giving away all of his land to his daughters, his 100 knights are the single remaining reminder of Lear’s status and power as the king. However, this perception is challenged by Regan and Goneril when they tell him to dismiss most of his knights in order to be welcomed in their shelter. This scene displays a big turning point in Lear’s perception of himself. He isn’t used to people betraying his orders and telling him what to do. Also, Lear feels enraged because he cannot believe that in just a matter of seconds he can lose everything and become another average man.

In modern times, the 100 knights are comparable to the “yes men” that influential people surround themselves with. These are people who always say yes to whatever their superior wants and supports them no matter how bad a decision may be. They must please them and earn their approval any way possible. While these serve a different literal purpose then 100 knights, the symbolism is the same. “Yes men” make powerful people feel stronger and more influential than they really are. Ultimately, the false sense of security becomes a point for their downfall, just as it is shown to happen to King Lear.

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