King to Father

Throughout out readings of King Lear, it is evident that Lear no longer understands the world around him and no longer understands others advise to him. It is said in the very first chapter that Lear is growing older, and he realizes this and therefore he gives away his lands and money but most importantly, he doesn’t give up his title as king. He subconsciously was not ready to give up his claim because he knows no other identity than that as king. He does not realize that there are many things and relationships that make up a person’s identity and because of this, those people have the ability to mold each other’s characters.

Lear does not think of himself as a father. He will say that he is the father of his daughters and that is true but there is more to a father than just biology. A father should be caring, loving and accepting. If these things are believed to be true, then why would a father disown his daughter because she professes that she can love her father and her husband? By the end of the novel, Lear is stripped of his army, his daughters, and his sanity but through it all, he finally understands that he only ever needed one person to love him, not an entire army nor kingdom. His reconciliation with Cordelia was a turning point in Lear’s character because he understands that being king is temporary, but being a father is permanent.

2 thoughts on “King to Father

  1. LucaL

    I really like this take on King Lear through the lens of identity. Even though he loses his sanity, Lear still clings on to his title of King. This really shows how messed up his priorities become, as he is so focused on power, he forgets about his actual responsibilities.

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  2. Brigid B

    I think it’s interesting to consider the story from a change in the perspective of one single, character, as opposed to from one character to another or one side of an argument to another. Lear is a very single-minded individual, only capable of seeing himself in one light, the light he chooses. He doesn’t realize how much of himself lies beyond that light.

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