Please, present the motif of power in King Lear

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Enotes has a wonderful "Sample Essay" topical outline that details the political struggle for power in the play.

Here are some details:

I. Thesis Statement: The emotional effect is heightened in King Lear with Shakespere’s use of a subplot that mirrors the father-child relationships, the corruption of political power, and the death of the protagonist in the main plot.

Parallels of greed in political power

I. Goneril and Regan seek political power.
A. They strip the King of all his train of followers.
B. They reject the King’s title and turn him out into the storm.
II. Edmund has high political aspirations.
A. He allows Gloucester to be blinded for his own political gain.
B. He usurps Edgar’s legitimate title as the future Earl of Gloucester.
III. Kent and Edgar both lose their nobility.
A. The Earl of Kent is banished for his honest defense of Cordelia.
B. Edgar loses his claim to nobility through the deceit and trickery of Edmund.

Conclusion: The subplot intensifies the emotional impact of the main plot in the areas of political power and the death of the protagonist.

So, the struggle for power is on the familial, socio-economic, and political levels.  We see daughters competing for power; natural and unnatural (bastard) sons competing for legitimacy; and an old king trying to retain his army and his wits in a world where the young are trying to push him aside.