Lear Reading Response

Out of all the tragedy plays that we have read during the class, Lear is certainly the most gruesome. I feel like there were a decent amount of characters in this play that met a tragic end that did not deserve it. However in terms of Gloucester, it is rather complicated. At the beginning of the play, Gloucester came across as a terrible person with how he regarded his illegitimate son, Edmund. Gloucester openly talked badly about Edmund practically to his face. With this in mind, it initially makes you feel that it is deserved that Edmund wants to seek revenge on him because he was a terrible father. However, once you experience when he has both of his eyes gouged out of his head and the despair that he has afterwards it is rather hard to not feel sympathy for him. Perhaps the reason why is because what was done to him was so cruel, whereas, if they had just killed him straight off it would have seemed as more reasonable. Another aspect that makes you have some pity for Gloucester is the fact that he actually tried to help protect Lear from the traitors. That’s why I feel like because of his loyalty it is a shame that he was made to seem like a traitor and treated so brutally. Also in terms of Lear himself it was very sad to see how he mentally deteriorated throughout the play. It almost was like a case of someone who had Alzheimer’s because there were moments where he would seem like he had his wits about him, but not long afterward he would go back to being a bit out of it. People with Alzheimer’s are known to have their good days and then their bad days and I think you could certainly see this when it came to Lear. Cordelia’s fate at the end of the play was also undeserved since she was a loyal daughter and good woman based off of the small amount that she was in the play. It is heartwarming that Lear and Cordelia made up before they both met their demise, and that Lear realized what a mistake he had made when he was so cruel to her in the beginning of the play. It was rather saddening that the others were not able to make it in time to save Cordelia and Lear.


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