King Lear: A Man More Sinned Against than Sinning

  • Saloni Nandan Faculty of English R C College of Commerce Ahmedabad-380006
Keywords: tragedy, tragic fault, misfortune, hamartia

Abstract

Shakespeare's, King Lear has no superior in all the wide range of the world's drama in tragical pathos, in dramatic force, in grandeur of sentiment and diction. The tragedyrepresents a real picture of life, and teaches that human sufferings at times are enormously disproportionate to human follies. The play seems to be dealing less with merely the human beings, or human passions, or human frailties, but more with the phenomenon of human suffering itself.Shakespeare presents in his tragedies helplessness of men, who are caught in thosestances which are outside their control, who in Cordelia's words "with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst" (King Lear. V.iii.4). King Lear is the play which depicts the misfortune resulting from the fatal ingratitude shown to a king, an old man, and most important, a father by his two elder daughters. Lear is indeed "a man more sinned against than sinning". We feel pity and admiration for his heroicefforts to be patient, the nature of his repentance towards the end of the play touch us and the scene of the reunion with Cordelia moves us to the core. In the end we are forced to feel that though the storm which overwhelmed Lear in the beginning of the play seems to be generated by his own deeds, he is in fact more a patient, that is, a sufferer, than the wrong doer.

References

Bradley, A C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lecture on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Macmillan Education Ltd, 1904.
Butcher, S H. Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art, Kalyani Publishers, XII-2, reprinted in 2002.
Mack, Maynard. “King Lear in Our Time”. Shakespeare: King Lear A Casebook, ed. by Frank Kermode, Macmillan, 1969.
Foakes, R A. King Lear. Arden Shakespeare, 2013.
Published
2018-08-22
Section
Articles