How is Lear more like a King at the end of King Lear?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Lear is more regal at the end of the drama precisely because he recognizes that which is real and transcendental, as opposed to that which is temporal.  It is not without irony that this revelation happens when Lear loses everything.  He becomes a king when he no longer has a kingdom.  When Shakespeare constructs the idea of regality, he uses Lear to demonstrate that the best kings are ones who transcend the throne.  When Lear is a king, he demands phony displays of temporary love that is more self- glorifying than anything else.  Yet, when Lear loses everything, he understands his own sensibilities and grasps his true nature.  This is what makes his a king, a symbol and a leader to individuals.  He represents an example of what should be as opposed to what is, an inspirational figure who has found redemption out of his own pain and suffering.  It is here where Lear is actually more of a king, a spiritual leader that can inspire others to transform both their realities and their own senses of self.  It is here where Lear is more of King after his days of ruling than at any other time during it.


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