Essay on Madness By William Shakespeare 's King Lear

2154 Words Jul 6th, 2015 9 Pages
Madness, craziness, insanity—all are terms derived from the human psychosis of unstable mental health. Through this mental instability, one can lose sight of proper reasoning and plunge themselves into a pseudo-reality of delusions and hallucinations that can result in the tragedy of not only self-deterioration, but have a stark impact on the people around you. However, this madness does not just manifest out of thin air, it evolves from deeper rooted problems. In William Shakespeare’s King Lear this idea of madness is brought to light through King Lear’s descent into madness and his futile attempt to recover his mental faculties. King Lear, authoritative and willful at first, commands his court and makes the baneful decision to reward his two older daughters with his kingdom and disown his compassionate and loyal one in an effort to preserve his own pride. Ironically, Lear’s recognition of the true betrayal by his daughters is ascertained through his descent into madness. Through the use of the frequency of punctuation, tone, and change in rhythm and meter, Shakespeare echoes this degeneration of a healthy mind by showing Lear’s progression from rage, to despondency, and finally to madness. After the betrayal by his two older daughters, Lear becomes infuriated at the fact that he has been treated as nothing more than another commoner. Kicked out of both his daughters’ residence, stripped of his soldiers, and cast out on to the heath, Lear shouts at a bellowing storm with…

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