When the play opens, King Lear is at the point where he wants to retire and divide his kingdom between his daughters. What is interesting, however is that he wants to be retired, but also wants to retain his authority. So effectively, he does not want to have to do the job, but wants the benefits of the job. Think of it as if he wants to keep getting paid for a job he no longer has, wants to still have authority to boss people around, and make all the decisions, even though he is no longer in the office.
"Lear's expectations about his life in retirement are unrealistic. Lear, who uses the royal "we" to refer to himself, announces that
'tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburthen'd crawl toward death."
I think it is safe to say, that at the beginning of the play King Lear has a perception problem. He does not see reality, but...
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