King Lear

Literature Studies: King Lear by William Shakespeare Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


Written by William Shakespeare, King Lear is must-read attractive work that features the old King Lear whose role well develops the play’s main theme of tragedy. Bad luck is clear in the story through the inconsistent relationship between King Lear and his daughters as well as from the role of dishonesty and power in the play.

Heartbreaking consequences arise after King Lear’s move to divide his property between his two daughters, excluding Cordelia (Shakespeare 153). King Lear’s pride hinders him from knowing the truth about his daughters, especially Cordelia who truly loves him. The basis of the play on the Lear of Britain helps in depicting how young people rise where the old ones fall.

The Young rise where the Old fall

In Act one, King Lear states his resolution to confer power and kingship to young people. He decides to shake off all his burdens, cares, and businesses of kingship to the energetic young generation so that he can retire peacefully. King Lear is of age to retire as he has reigned over a long period. However, he faces the start of his downfall when he decides to retire and give a portion of his country to the daughter who professes best her love for him.

Due to his pride, Lear blindly divides his estate between Goneril and Regan, who only sweet-talk him, while leaving out Cordelia. This situation shows that his daughters (the young) will only rise in power and wealth upon the falling of the old King Lear.

In addition, Act 3 depicts the conflict between the young and the old generation based on the claims that foolish and old people such as King Lear do not deserve any power (Tweg 35) with reference to his two daughters, Goneril and Regan, after their success in inheriting their father’s fortunes. Through this scenario, the two daughters show the shift and rise in power from the old to the young generation.

Although King Lear’s old age does not allow him to undertake responsibilities, he feels that it will make him vulnerable. However, his daughters are happy to treat their powerless father like a baby, thus embarrassing him to show how youngsters rise when the old fall.

Edmund visualizes the conflict with his father as a generational conflict between the young and old (Shakespeare 135) because of his father’s support of King Lear even when he is against Cornwall’s wishes. The result is a social problem where few old men are in charge of power and wealth while many young people possess nothing. As a result, young people develop bitterness.

They yearn to rise when the old folks fall regardless of the means. Furthermore, the various themes portrayed in the play provide evidence of how youngsters take up the positions of the old once they fall.

For instance, the conflicts between a father and Gloucester’s sons as well as Lear’s daughters show generational differences (Tweg 30). The younger generation manipulates the older one, thus rising in wealth and power while the older counterparts are often unaware.


In my opinion, the play clearly depicts how young people replace the old once the latter category falls as evidenced by the various themes and symbolism in the play, King Lear.

Despite the challenges that the old folk face in relinquishing power to the young, it is obvious from the daily routine that young people only rise in wealth and power when the old ones fall. They are strong, unlike the helpless old generation. King Lear’s fall from power and the inheritance of his country by his daughters form the main basis for the discussion.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. King Lear, Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes Publishers, 1990. Print.

Tweg, Sue. William Shakespeare’s King Lear, Wellington: Insight Publications, 2011. Print.

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