King Lear

Discuss the theme of nothing in king lear


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Shakespeare really plays on "nothing" or "nothingness" in Lear. Lear tests his daughters for love and devotion (act 1). He asks her, "What can you say to draw a third (of the kingdom) more opulent than your sisters?", Cordelia answers, "Nothing." Lear is severely pissed off, "Nothing will come of nothing...Speak again." So, basically Cordelia has to flatter her father or get nothing of his kingdom. "Nothing from Nothing" is the opposite of the Biblical (Genesis) idea that God made the Earth (Something) out of nothing. The concept of nothing extends to other parts of the play like when the fool challenges Lear that he is nothing without his power. Nothing begins to take on more and more significance as it defines who Lear is and the nature of material possessions, titles....