Lear's enlightenment has more to do with himself than with his two daughters. He does not necessarily realize that they are evil. He realizes that they are liars and that they care nothing about him at all. An especially revealing soliloquy comes in Act IV Scene VI, where he says:
They flattered me like a dog; and told me I had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there. To say ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to every thing that I said!—‘Ay’ and ‘no’ too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, and the wind to make me chatter; when the thunder would not peace at my bidding; there I found 'em, there I smelt 'em out. Go to, they are not men o' their words: they told me I was every thing; 'tis a lie, I am not ague-proof.
Lear was born a prince and then became a king. This gave him an inflated opinion of himself, as is the case with many people who are born to privilege and high social status. He is like many selfish aristocrats, but even more so because he...
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