Is King Lear Meaningless?

Throughout King Lear, Shakespeare writes with a very somber attitude towards life and even paints a picture that life may very well be meaningless. So far this play has shown no sort of patterns or morals about anything regarding peoples happiness, success, or lives. Whether evil or good, some characters die and others thrive.

This idea is shown through the injustices and randomness throughout the play. Karma doesn’t really exist in this play in the sense that bad actions are not met with bad repercussions and good actions are not met with good actions. An example of this is seen in one of the first scenes of the play. When all of Lear’s daughters are telling him how much they love him, in very exaggerated and untrue ways, Cordelia is the only one to be honest with Lear and with herself. Her actions result in Lear essentially kicking her out and saying he doesn’t love her anymore. On top of that, Cordelia randomly dies at the end of the play. I don’t know what lesson that could be showing other than that life makes no sense. Another example is the power imbalance that Lear has over the people. The play presents the ideas that people in power can be unintelligent, and corrupt and remain in power, and people that are honest get punished while people that lie get praised. All in all this play sticks strongly to an idea that life is unfair, unruly, and unpredictable.

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