TRAGEDY OF KINGSHIP essay plan for King Lear & Oedipus


"King Lear is not only a tragedy of parents and children, it is also a tragedy of kingship." Explore this view of King Lear and in the course of your writing, show how you have been influenced by your reading ofOedipus Rex.

PARAGRAPHS: (1)Breakdown of family relationships to show division of the state. 2) Inverting social roles to emphasise the patriarchal breakdown 3) Lear does not fulfill his duty to retain his kingship which affects his citizens and his people.

Introduction: In both King Lear and Oedipus both the family and kingship are not immune from tragedy.

1: Shakespeare uses the breakdown of family relationships to represent the division of the monarchy. 

  • "we shall express our darker purpose"  - initially Lear is upholding his value of kingship with the royal "we." Lear's use of imperatives"Gonerill...speak first" "Hence, and avoid my sight!"
  • "which of you will say doth love us most" - initially Lear enters the stage as king and withholds grandeur and authority as well as reigning patriarchy of kingship BUT the love test in its absurdity therefore affirms his hubris in being a foolish egotistical father/king/man. 
  • "Here I disclaim all my paternal care, propinquity and property of blood." 
  • Shakespeare uses Kent's unwavering loyalty as a device to remind the audience that kingship is inalienable and indivisible - he says that Lear still has 'that in your countenance which I would fain call master' 
  • AO3i: Oedipus - "Kings must take decisions. Not wrong decisions" - The fragmentation…


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