It Has Been Suggested That a Key Aspect of the Enduring Relevance to Audiences of the Play King Lear, Is the Play’s Examination of Human Identity. to What Extent Does Your Personal Understanding Concur with This View?

Topics: King Lear, William Shakespeare, Hierarchy Pages: 3 (1128 words) Published: July 24, 2013
It has been suggested that a key aspect of the enduring relevance to audiences of the play King Lear, is the play’s examination of human identity. To what extent does your personal understanding concur with this view? The play King Lear is primarily an assessment of human identity in its exploration of the relationships between characters. As a fundamental aspect of life, human identity comprises of elements that constitute our daily lives and is the point from which we define and present ourselves to others. The existence of human identity as a constant through time allows the play to be applicable regardless of era or context and audiences can still relate to the values presented in the play, making it a popular and enduring work of literature. In considering the way in which the themes of human nature versus nature, deception and family relationships are relevant to our own personal context, we realise the universality of the play to all audiences. Human nature versus nature is a prevalent theme throughout the play that contributes to the enduring exploration of human identity. Shakespearean society held the belief that human identity was determined by nature and that the state of nature reflected individuals’ positions on the Chain of Being. Through this we notice that the society within King Lear is merely a microcosm that is a replica of the macrocosm. This parallel between man and nature can explain why in King Lear the turmoil of the natural elements reflect not only the chaos in the kingdom, but the inner thoughts of certain characters. Following Lear’s banishment from his daughters, Regan and Goneril, there is a tremendous storm raging and Lear calls on nature, ‘Rumble thy belly; spit, fire; spout, rain! / Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters. [ … ]Here I stand your slave’. This disturbance in the cosmos confirms that Lear is the rightful king and his exile is a violation of the natural order, reflecting Lear’s inner thoughts and emotions...
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