At the beginning of the play, Lear seems like a fine ruler and in his generosity, he decides to divide his kingdom equally among his daughters. But then he encourages his daughters to compete by pledging their love for him.
Divine Law The play opens with the debate between the sisters Antigone and Ismene about which law comes first—the religious duty of citizens, or the civil duty? Antigone invites Ismene to join her in burying their brother Polyneices, though the king has forbidden burial on pain of death.
Antigone denies that Creon has authority in the matter of burial, a sacred duty she feels bound to fulfill. Creon, on the other hand, believes the state is supreme.
He says to the city counselors: Furthermore, since he represents the city-state of Thebes as its king, his will is sovereign. They point out here that the two laws are in conflict—civil and religious.
Tragedy is bound to occur when these two vital laws are set against one another, for both sacred law and civil law are necessary for the welfare of the people. The gods also weigh in through omens, and the prophesy of the seer, Teiresias.
He proves by example the will of the gods overrides human law. An early choral ode praises the wonders of human accomplishment: On the other hand, humans seem limited by their mortality and their fate, or predetermined destiny.
Someone like Oedipus, born with a certain prophesied fate, is not able to circumvent it by any means. Creon, however, seems to suffer through his own choices and stubbornness.
Creon feels confident that through his will, he can make laws for the city of Thebes, and at first he sticks by his decision to punish Antigone.
Together the fates were called the Moirae, the ones who apportioned human destiny. In early Greek literature, Fate was all-powerful, even more powerful than the gods, for even Zeus did not know when his reign would end. Sophocles and the later philosophers like Plato, however, tried to balance the picture by glorifying human reason as an echo of the reasoning intelligence behind cosmic law.
Humans could thus modify their own destiny if they were wise. For this world came into being from a mixture of Necessity and Intelligence. Intelligence controlled Necessity by persuading it for the most part to bring about the best result, and it was by this subordination of Necessity to Reasonable persuasion that the universe was originally constituted as it is.
Fate still is powerful in this view, but more so where humans are arrogant and blind.
The purpose of tragedy then is to show how humans bring fate down on themselves. There is usually more than one choice available, and the tragic hero makes the wrong choice, as in the case of Creon. Antigone, however, is entangled in a legacy of fate that plagues everyone in the family of Oedipus.
Her destiny seems more set and less her fault, though she does brings it down on herself by rebelling against Creon. She could have chosen as Ismene did.
In tragedy, Fate usually has the upper hand, because tragedy highlights the limitations of humans when they overreach, and when they do not possess wisdom.
When Antigone is led away to her death the Chorus sings: Power Sophocles, like Shakespeare, includes political discussions in his plays that are important topics for the audience. What would the ideal ruler be like? Creon is king and in an early speech to the city elders the Chorushe explains how he will be a tough ruler because of his loyalty to Thebes.
He will not let partiality or family connections dictate over the good of the city: He then tries to prove his tough impartiality by denying burial rites to his own nephew, Polyneices, who was a traitor to Thebes. Creon then sets guards around the body. The Chorus does not defy Creon as Antigone does, but they do give feedback to him at critical points.
Creon sees her as a rebel, a threat to his power: Antigone is more of a threat than a man would be, for she has the status of a slave in Thebes, and he calls her a slave lines A woman should not be seen or heard.
If he gives in to her, he is doubly shamed. First, she is a relation, and it would seem like giving special favors.
Secondly, she is a mere woman, and yielding to her would make him seem weak.Explore the different themes within William Shakespeare's tragic play, King Lear. Themes are central to understanding King Lear as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary..
Power. Important is the notion of power — who has it, how one obtains it, how one defines it, and how it plays into King Lear. With this look at power should also come an investigation of. Create a storyboard that shows how King Lear can be considered a tragic hero.
Identify events of the play or characteristics of King Lear that fit into Aristotelian attributes of a tragic hero. Illustrate examples for Hamartia, Hubris, Peripeteia, Anagnorisis, Nemesis, and Catharsis.
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The character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a perfect example of a tragic hero.. A tragic hero is supposed to have a high noble status. Macbeth is shown to be a warrior, and. King Lear is a tragic hero.
He behaves rashly and irresponsibly at the start of the play. He is blind and unfair as a father and as a ruler. He desires all the trappings of power without the responsibility which is why the passive and forgiving Cordelia is the perfect choice for a successor.
Harold Bloom, regarded by some as the greatest Shakespeare scholar of our time, presents an intimate, wise, deeply compelling portrait of King Lear—the third in his series of five short books about the great playwright’s most significant personalities, hailed as Bloom’s “last love letter to the shaping spirit of his imagination” on the front page of The New York Times Book Review.