King Lear

Albany: The Uncredited Hero

The concept of creating heroes is as inherently human or at least historically prevalent as creating gods. The latter is motivated by a need to clarify the world, the former by a craving to establish a sort of unattainable glory or ideal to emulate. Either way, each concept fills a human void. Since history is more ripe in the offering of lying, murderous scoundrels and oppressive dictators, humanity relies on literature to fill the void of heroes. The hero of a work of fiction is easily identifiable by traits such as bravery and nobleness and the defeat of some force of evil, as well as public recognition and celebration of this deed. This praise is not always the case though, as is evident in the portrayal of Albany in Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear. Albany does not lack the characteristic or even the accomplishment of heroic deeds, yet his role as the hero is downplayed in favour of Edgar, and it appears that the common perception is that he is an insignificant character in the play. This idea is formed because Albany has very few lines in the play. Albany alternatively exemplifies the idea of being the uncredited hero of the play. This statement is evident in heroic qualities, including his constant attempt to be...

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