Disguise In King Lear Essay Outline

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Importance of Clothing in King Lear Essays

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Importance of Clothing in King Lear

 

     Nakedness and dress in Shakespeare's King Lear, represented the status of a

character. Many scenes use clothing to show one characters dominance over

another.  The more opulent the clothing, the higher the status, or the lack of

clothing, the lower the status.   A few characters go through many wardrobes.

Lear and Edgar, both start the beginning of the play wearing expensive,

luxurious clothing, but each at different times wear less glorious clothing or

even no clothing at all.

 

     Lear who is the most powerful and authoritive character in the beginning of

the play, is also the best outfitted.  Lear during the…show more content…

 

     Edgar, legitimate son to the Earl of Gloucester, is well dressed, not as

much as Lear, but still above commoners.  Edgar is believed to be plotting to

annihilate his own father.  So every one is after someone named "Edgar", who is

a well dressed noble.  In order to protect himself, Edgar becomes no one.  He

becomes nobody by shedding his noble garments, and disguises himself by, "My

face I'll grime with filth,/ Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots,/ And

with presented nakedness outface..."  Now Edgar is nobody, and there is nobody

looking for nobody.

 

     Edgar, wanting revenge on his bother, must take the status of somebody, so

he becomes a lunatic.  Still needing protection, but also needing to be somebody,

Edgar chooses a person near nobody.  The person he chooses is given in the line,

" Poor Turlygod! poor Tom!/  That's something yet! Edgar I nothing am."  Edgar

becomes Tom of Bedlam, an insane lunatic.  Now that Edgar is somebody, he can

once again mingle with the other characters in the play.  His first meeting with

another character as Tom, is Lear, who is reaching madness himself.  By both

Lear and Edgar being naked at the same time allows Edgar to

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Deception in Shakespeare’s King Lear

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Using detailed supporting evidence, discuss the significance in the play of ONE of the following. Deception. William Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ is a tragic play of filial conflict, deception and loss. Characters Lear and Gloucester shape the story line due to their lack of insight which their children take adavantage of. These are the antagonists who decieve their fathers, to gain more power and status. Deception usually has negative connotations and one would expect the characters who use it to be antagonists.

Shakespeare challenges the norm by showing that the protagonists such as Edgar and Kent, who have insight, also need to decieve to survive. King Lear is easily decieved as he lacks the insight to see beyond what people say. He only takes things at face value and blatanly flaunts his lack of insight through his rash actions and bad decisions. The play begins with Lear demanding words of praise. His evil daughters Goneril and Regan realise this as his fatal flaw, he has too much pride. He reveals his lack of insight when he divides the Kingdom ” publish our daughters several dowers so that future strife may be prevented now”.

Lear does not have the insight to realise that with daughters such as Goneril and Regan strife will always follow and that giving them his Kingdom would only lear to his downfall. Goneril and Regan use his flaws against him, by decieving him with their words. They blatantly lie when professing their love for him, but he takes their words as absolute truth. Regan even professes she is “an enemy to all other joys” suggesting she loves not even her husband as much as she loves her father. She realises and uses his lack of insight to decieve him into believing her lies.

Cordelia, Lear’s youngest daughter claims she cannot “heave her heart into her mouth”. She is banished by Lear for saying that she only loves him “according to her bond”. She is being completely honest and refuses to decieve her father. Even though she possesses insight, she does not use it to decieve him. She recognises that her sisters are unscuplous and wishes Lear “to a better place”. This shows that the good cannot prevail against deception unless they manipulate it themselves for good. Cordelia’s refusal to decieve cost her her place in the Kingdom. Goneril and Regan use Lears pride to render him homeless.

They are aware that he loved Cordelia best but his pride prevented him from asking to stay with her and he banished her. They are aware that he would need to live with them so they decieve him into believing that they cannot not house so many of his attendants ultimately rendering him homeless. First Goneril suggests his dismisses half his men, knowing that he would not agree but when Regan proposes only half of that Lear is agrees. Knowing he would do this they keep emphasizing that followers and unnecessary and they pretend to offer more solutions knowing that due to his pride he would never agree.

Regan deeply offends Lear when she asks “what need one? “. They knew this would cause him to leave either house as he had too much pride to agree. Edmud, Gloucesters bastard son is the most insightful character in the play. He is a Machiavellian character, guided by expediency. In act 1 sc ii, He uses his insight to decieve his father, Edmund, Goneril and Regan! He decieves his father by planting a fake letter, suggesting that Edgar is plotting against his fathers life to inherit his title. This is ironic as it is exactly what Edmund is doing.

Gaining power is his sole motive “Edmund the base shall top the legitimate… i grow, i prosper”. He decieves Edgar into believing that someone else is plotting against him and lying to his father to make his father angry. He uses the trust his family members have in him to to this. “Brother, i advise you to the best”. He, like Goneril and Regan have the insight to realise that their father cannot see their motives and believe everything they say. He uses this to decieve his father. Edmund is as unscuplous as Goneril and Regan and due to the nature of their deception they had to face the dire consequences.

Edmund promises his affectioin to them both so that he can ultimately use the daughter that is most successful in gaining possession of the Kingdom. The sisters decieve each other for his affection and one poisons the other. It is unusual that Edmund mentions “yet Edmund was beloved” before he is killed by Edgar in Act 5 sc iii. It questions whether his motive for deception sprang not from some innate cruelty but some thwarted desire for the familial love he witnessed around him. It seems the main they key to survival in the play was surviving in the Kingdom.

As a bastard Edmund might have had a hidden inferiority complex that motivated him to decieve to gain power for acceptance and therefore love. Similarly, Kent believed that to survive in the Kingdom, he needed to diguise himself. As a loyal supporter of King Lear, he knew that when Lear banished him, it was due to his flaws of pride and lack of insult. Kent is a protagonist that uses deception to remain in the Kingdom and watch over Lear. Like Cordelia he first attempts honesty “Be Kent unmanneryly when Lear is mad” but when he sees that Lear is blind to the truth he uses deception.

Disguised as Caius, as a servant, much below his status he decieves Cornwall, Regan and the other antagonists as well as Lear. When the antagonists have control Kent is stil able to survive in the Kingdom due to his decieving disguise. Like Kent, Edgar, Gloucesters legitimate and “good” son disguises below his status as a beggar and madman “Poor Tom”. He also realises that people like Lear and Gloucester take things at face value and cannot see beyond the appearance of people and the words that they speak. He decieves Gloucester twice, first by pretending to be “mad Tom”and then by being a passer-by.

When Gloucester is suicidal he leads him to a a step in the landscape and tells his father it is a cliff. Although Gloucester is blind he does not doubt what this supposedly mad beggar is telling him. This shows his trusting nature, the route to being decieved. When Edgar eventually reveals his true identity Gloucester dies of shock. This shows that his character could not handle the truth and perhaps needed to be decieved to stay sane and survive. It is of much significance that Kent and Edgar were two of the three main characters that survive amid the carnage in Act 5 sc iii.

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It shows that only the protagonists that used deception for with noble intentions survived. Lear and Gloucester were susceptible to deception and could not survive because they could not detect it. Deception used by the antagonists lead to their downfall as Goneril and Regan decieved each other and Edmund was brought to trial for his deception. It was used for unjust purposes and they therefore faced the consequences. This shows that deception is necessary to fight deception, it helped good prevail and also moulded the storyline.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in King Lear

Deception in Shakespeare’s King Lear

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