Nothing in King Lear Essay

William Shakespearean play King Lear is “nothing. ” The play can also be said to be about nothing because the events of the play either amounts to nothing or leaves the characters with nothing. In Act l, Scene I lines 87-89 we are Introduced to this theme of nothing by the exchange between Lear and Cornelia: Corp.: Nothing my lord. Lear: Nothing? Corp.: Nothing Lear: Nothing will come of nothing.

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Lear says this and it actually turns out to e true for him because he wants his daughters to tell him “which of [them] shall we say doth love [him] most” (1. 1. 51). Out of something so trivial he creates many problems for himself and others throughout the play. He later rues that he asks his daughter this because It Is Lear who in up with nothing. Cornelia on the other hand ends up with something from nothing by becoming the Queen of France. This theme is further explored by another group of relatives in the play Gloucester and his bastard son Edmund.

Gloucester: “What paper were you reading? ” Edmund: Nothing, my lord Gloucester: No? What needed then that terrible Dispatch of it Into your pocket? The quality of nothing hath not such need to hide Itself. Let’s see ?Come if It be nothing, I shall not need spectacles” (1.. 11. 31-36) It is odd that because of his hasty actions Edmund is found out. He earlier says “legitimate Edgar I must have your lands… If this letter speed/and my invention thrive, Edmund the base / shall top the legitimate. This is all a ploy on Edmunds part to gain Gloucester interest in this piece of paper. Gloucester later sown Edgar, loses his sight and attempts to commit suicide because of nothing. Edmunds plotting over nothing which Is actually a test of faith by his brother causes his early demise by the hand of the very brother he defamed. Another example of this theme is from the words of the Fool who says: “ћ. L had rather be any kind toting than a fool, and yet I would not be thee, uncle. Thou hast pared thy wit tooth sides and left nothing tithe middle” (I. IV. 76-179 The fool is telling Lear that he has lost his faculties, by dividing up his lands to his ungrateful daughters that he has lost his mind and all that he once held dear. He later says to Lear “l am a fool, thou art 84-185) The Fool Is really In a better position than Lear because he has status. Lear is no longer King and throughout the play his status goes from royalty to nothing. This theme is evident throughout the play and can be said that it is merely nothing but wordplay. The events of the play itself seem to vary on both ends. There is something to this theme in the play.

When the word “nothing” Is mentioned In the lay, the movement of the play Itself is pushed forward In so many directions and It nothing” his whole demise was based on nothing. All he received were flowery words of false dotage from Generic and Reagan for his kingdom. Because of nothing he causes himself to lose everything that he once held dear; his throne, his trifling daughters Reagan and Generic and his most prized possession Cornelia. In the end Lear could have gained another son, but he was left with the loss of his wits, death and the sweet oblivion of nothing.


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