Shakespeare's story of King Lear is an account of a metamorphosis of a king into an ordinary man. The story is an account of a journey which physical and moral suffering accompanies. The moral and physical sufferings develop through the main character, Lear from "sanity to petulance to sanity." The story is a reflection of a man's journey, from folly to truth, from egotistical to spiritual, from power to power within, and from fear to love. It is a deep reflection and account of man's transformation.
In the story, the death of Cordelia is a reflection of the inconsistency of moral justice which exists in the modern society. The author agrees that people can only attain wisdom only through suffering. According to Urkowitz (89), the author also revealed that if the wisdom fails to protect an individual from future suffering "bound upon a wheel of fire." The death of Cordelia is dramatically necessary and gratuitous since it is a representation of God's hostility about humanity and revealing the unfair world where every individual is connected to humanity.
According to Denton (31), the play is an account of a "spectacle of violence, ferocity, and pain." There is disorder, suffering, madness, and cruelty. The story is also a tragedy in itself. It is this tragedy which invokes pity, fear, woe, and wonder. In the story, "basest and poorest shape that ever penury, in contempt of man, brought near to beast." With this regard, the account manages to raise issues which are related to the root of evil, injustice, and justice of the universe, and its affiliations. These are the adversities of our time, and they also include questions of God's existence, gods and the indifference, benevolence, and malevolence.
Denton (73) explains that the gods play a central role in the whole of this process. The assertion that "the stars above us govern our conditions" supports this idea. About this, it is the gods who are responsible for the injustices and the madness which ensues. In the story, the characters keep on questioning their intentions in their actions since they attempt to persevere a supposed "promised end/image of that horror." The characters in the story attempt to be logical in their experiences. They also attempt to heal and rationalize their experiences by referring to confusing, tentative and absurdly pathetic ideologies of the deity.
The main character, Lear, also believes in himself. Urkowitz (170) says that he believes in his material possessions, such as clothing, land and his power. To him, power is the most important thing. It is his power that makes him be who he is. Shakespeare's personifies this by continuously using the word "we." The main character, Lear also employs his material influence and power as a measure of higher truth and love. He also possesses false beliefs and misunderstandings which make him take action against those individuals who are loving and sincere. It is this event which sets the stage for the upcoming tragedy which ensues later on in the story. Later on, the followers of King Lears weaken, and his material security gradually breaks down. As a result, he manages to establish his place out of the storm through entering the realm of suffering.
In conclusion, one cannot deny that the events which unfold in Shakespeare's story are a reflection of a man's journey which deeply brings out his transformation. The journey to this kind of transformation is not as easy as with the character, Lear. As a result, what we learn from the theme of suffering is the assessment of its benefits. The good people endure to help others, and through suffering, the characters become heroes. People learn best through the pain.
Denton, Allison. "Suffering in the Human Experience: An Examination of the Book of Job and King Lear." (2016).
Urkowitz, Steven. Shakespeare's Revision of King Lear. Vol. 634. Princeton University Press, 2014.
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