Recognizing Through the Self: The Power of Insight in King Lear
In The Tragedy of King Lear, William Shakespeare drags his audience through horrific tragedy to get to the core of truth. Violence, pain, betrayal, and finally death come crashing down upon almost every character, good or bad. This peeling away of pleasantries is fundamental to the meaning of the play. Shakespeare begs his audience to shed the false coverings created by a manmade society. These constraints include language, clothing, and other artificial institutions such as wealth and royalty. The play shows us how these created controls break down in the face of nature. In the end, there is nothing stronger than blood, the very essence of a human being. However, the audience has also witnessed the tie of blood marred by intoxicating forces like greed and power. Since even the deepest truths can become hidden by man's false boundaries, the role of recognition becomes one of the play's strongest points. Recognition is an enlightened form of sight, which is one of the clear themes of the play. It takes a kind of inner vision to see through the artificial and comprehend the real. Recognition requires both seeing and knowing. The play closely examines this relation, between what is seen and what is true, ultimately turning...
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