King Lear Insanity Analysis

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In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, a copious amount of characters, by definition, have gone mad or have fallen into insanity. While there are no solid reasons as to why this type of demeanor may be judged reasonable and acceptable, King Lear’s delirious behavior possesses an important role within the tragic play. Following a few instances of goodness, the unfortunate deaths and madness of the characters cause the reader, in the end, to believe that insanity ultimately dominates over the goodness. Madness or insanity in literary characters provide a contrast to their previously normal and ordinary life. It also serves as a way to compare the insane characters to the sane ones, or the actions of the insane characters to the sane…show more content…
Lear’s insanity is important because it affects others around him and how they in return attempt to assist him. Lear’s response to the kindness others show him, only produces more examples of his insanity. The Earl of Kent, for example, handles Lear’s madness with utmost respect. During the storm, he and the Fool are making an effort to get him inside the hovel. Through out the whole scene, multiple times Kent responds to Lear with “good my Lord” (3.4.1-7). Lear abruptly responds by declaring to be let alone and then by a lengthy explanation as to why the tormenting weather is good for him. Earlier in the play the Fool attempts to warn him when he expresses “Then, I prithee, be merry; thy wit shall not go slipshod” (1.5.11-12). King Lear simply replies to the advice with a sneering “Ha, ha, ha!” (1.5.13). The final attempt to help Lear is made by his loyal and forgiving daughter, Cordelia. Out of compassion and true love for her father, she sends out a search party for him. She then seeks out a “man’s wisdom” that could help in “restoring his bereaved sense” (4.4.9-10). She even declares that she is willing to give all her “outward worth”, or wealth, to whoever can save him (4.4.11). King Lear demonstrates how one man’s fatal madness can reveal the goodness in other

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