King Lear Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the main theme, or the main idea, in Shakespeare's play  King Lear?

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My perspective on Shakespeare'sKing Learis that the main theme is the painful fact that each succeeding generation pushes out the generation that came before it and was responsible for its creation. In order to evaluate the theme or meaning of the play, one would have to consider both the main plot involving Lear and his daughters and the subplot involving Gloucester and his two sons. It is natural for a father to love his children, but it is not necessarily natural for children to love their father. Each new generation has to fight to find and maintain a niche on the small, rotating globe and then reproduce, and this means displacing those who are trying to hold on to their little niches.

In John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" he uses the phrase "No hungry generations tread thee down." That is the truth about life: the hungry generations of all the various species, including homo sapiens, are forced to "tread down" those that came before them. When Lear and Gloucester get together in...

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