Justice

King Lear, determined to make Goneril and Regan suffer after they have betrayed him declares; “If you do love old men, if your sweet sway / Show obedience, if you yourselves are old, Make it your cause. / Send down, and take my part” (II.iv.218-220). King Lear is calling out to the heavens, requesting that they send down a terrible storm to punish the actions of Goneril and Regan. Ironically, the storm King Lear begs the heavens to bring upon Goneril and Regan, strikes him. In a twist of fate, Lear feels as if the entire world is out to get him, and states Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain! / Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters. / I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness” (III.ii.16-18). He is trying to convey to the Gods that he has never challenged them, but was just asking for justice to be enforced against Goneril and Regan. He is trying to save himself from the Gods, but is clearly afraid as his freight train diction is very strong. Words such as “Rumble, Spit, Spout”, and the frequent usage of exclamation points within a couple of lines is very indicative of Lear’s fear.

Now that Lear is homeless; he realizes the horrors the poor have to deal with. He begins to reminisce about his times in power, and realizes that he had the power to solve the homelessness problem within his kingdom. He states, “How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, / Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you / From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en” (III.iv.34-36). The thought of homelessness never crossed his mind, as he has spent the majority of his life as an aristocratic, wealthy man. The mere exposure to this type of pain is an ironic sense of justice. The fact that Lear chose to ignore the poor, while he indulged in his status, is now coming back to bite him. I believe this ironic twist of justice was one of the main messages Shakespeare was trying to convey. He was trying to convince the readers that status is just status, nothing more, and that at the end of the day we are all human beings.

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