1 Shakespeare's King Lear is a play which shows the consequences of one
man's decisions, in this case the transition from order to disorder. King Lear is
about political authority as much as it is about family dynamics. L - a father and
king - when he gives away his authority to the unworthy and evil G & R, he
delivers not only himself and his family but all of Britain into chaos and disorder.
2 A G & R indulge their appetite for power & Edm begins his own
ascension, the kingdom descends into civil strife, and we
realise that Lear has destroyed not only his own authority but all
authority in Britain. The stable, hierarchal order that Lear initially
represents falls apart and disorder engulfs the realm.
3 The failure of authority in the face of chaos recurs
in Lear’s wanderings on the heath during the storm. -
his mental deterioration reflects disorder in Kingdom.
4 First mistake - division of the kingdom as a
kingdom is run better under one person. Act 1,
Scene 1 - 'In the division of the kingdom, it
appears not which of the dues he values most.'
- ominous foreboding of disorder to follow.
5 Another indication that order is disrupted is the separation of
Lear's family. L banished C and his loyal servant, Kent. This
foolish act causes Lear to become vulnerable to his other two
daughters as they conspire against him - "His knights grow riotous,
and himself upbraids us on every trifle." - G strips L of power.
Physical breakdown of law and order leads to the breakdown of
6 Order - disorder - accentuated through
nature - storm = complete disorder.
7 Chaos in reverse of the patriarchy - L's daughters have control and
power over him. Similarly, Edm takes control and power and manipulates
G and his older brother.
7.1 C is referred to by the Gentleman to L -
"Thou hast a daughter who redeems
nature from the chaos which twain have
brought her to " - C is good enough to
cancel out the wickedness of G & R and
she would be able to restore order.
8 Lear's madness (which he claims to be a result of "filial ingratitude". His
decent into madness represents the decent of the kingdom into disorder.