King Lear - Good vs. Evil
In the King Lear play, Shakespeare creates many conditions in
which humans live in the world. The main characters in the play are
used to portray Shakespeare's ideas. One of these ideas which
Shakespeare is trying to portray is evil between the characters and in
the world which are emphasized throughout the play. The evil, created
by humans, is outweighed by good in the world of King Lear.
Evil was created by humans who decided to do wrong to others.
Duke of Albany, said that all evil people will be justly punished (ACT
V, iii, 303). Albany indicated that it is the people who caused evil
and people decided to do evil, not gods. Lear believes that since
Edgar is out on the heath he must have given everything to his
daughters as well (ACT III, iv, 62ff). Since he believes that Edgar
gave everything to evil Lear must believe that people are the cause of
evil. It were Lear's daughters who decided to do wrong to Lear and it
was Lear's fault in giving away all of his land. Si ughters are the
humans in the play, it is the humans who caused the evil and Lear
believes that humans were the ones who created evil. Edgar, is another
character in the play who believes that evil is caused by humans and
not the gods. Edgar said, "The gods are just, and of our peasant vices
make instruments to plague us" (ACT V, iii, 169). Edgar clearly says
that the gods are right and it is the people who are responsible for
promoting evil in the world. It is us who make the instruments
necessary for evil to spread and plague the world. In the world of
King Lear many characters believe evil was caused by the people and
not by the gods.
Even though evil was created by humans good will always exist.
After King Lear was captured he showed that even if evil exists, good
will always be present. Lear speaks about love with Cordelia in the
prison cell and how they will still have each other despite of the
evil around them (ACT V, iii, 8). On another occasion Lear also says
that despite all the evil in the world the raw nature, which is good,
is still unharmed (ACT IV, iv, 90-92). Lear discovers nature's beauty
by playing with the mice and listening to the signing birds. While all
the evil is at its peak and everything seems to be lost, the raw
nature in the play is unharmed. The good exists even while the evil
dominates the world.
Good will not only exist if evil dominates, good will also
outweigh evil eventually. The war which was lost by Cordelia and
Lear, the good side, showed evil win (ACT V, ii). However, good over
powered it after the war by Duke of Albany. The good in the play first
was diminished to almost nothing but in the end more good was able to
defeat evil in the play. When the two sisters began fighting between
each other evil began fighting against evil (ACT V, i and iii).
Eventually, because of that fighting between evil, good was able to
over power evil. When the evil seemed strong and good almost
non-existent, evil managed to fight itself and give good a chance to
get stronger. At the end of the play evil was completely defeated and
good once again dominated the world in the play.
Although evil will always be present and people will be the
reason why it exists, good will always outweigh evil. Through the
characters, Shakespeare is able to portray how evil and man compose in
the world. The evil will always exist but good will always win and
dominate in the world of King Lear.
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