Trace Lear's reawakening from his own mistakes.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lear, in Shakespeare's play King Lear, gradually discovers that he has been mistaken about his daughters. The first stage occurs after Lear has divided his kingdom between his two daughters, when Lear is living with Goneril, and she begins to speak with him harshly and mistreat him. At this point, he becomes aware that her verbal outpouring of affection at the beginning of the play may not have been grounded in real love. The reduction in his train of followers causes him to leave for the palace of his other daughter, Regan. At this point, he starts wondering if he misjudged Cordelia. He decides to leave Goneril and visit Regan.

Next, a sequence of slights to both himself and his followers at Regan's house make him aware that Regan was just as duplicitous as her sister Goneril in her statements of affection. Lear's descent into madness in the storm is the beginning, in a sense, of his awakening to a more accurate and thoughtful understanding of human nature. Lear's final reunion with Cordelia returns him to sanity and full understanding of his own mistakes.