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Many themes are evident in King Lear but perhaps one of the most prevalent relates to the theme of justice Shakespeare has developed a tragedy that allows us to see mans decent into chaos Although Lear is perceived as a man more sinned against than sinning p62 the treatment of the main characters encourages the reader to reflect on the presence or lack of justice in this world The characters also vary in their inclination to view the world from either a fatalistic or moralistic point of view depending on their beliefs about the presence or absence of a higher power The theme of justice in relation to higher powers can be illustrated from the perspective of King Lear Gloucester and Edgar When reading King Lear it is helpful to understand the Elizabethan Chain of Being in which nature is viewed as order Rosenblatt 1984 states that there was a belief in an established hierarchy within the universe Everything had its own relative position beginning with Heaven the Divine Being and the stars and planets which are all above On earth the king is next then the nobles on down to the peasantry Holding the lowest position were the beggars and lunatics and finally the animals Interrupting this order is unnatural King Lears sin was that he disrupted this chain of being by relinquishing his throne By allowing his daughters and their husbands to rule the kingdom the natural order of things was disturbed His notion that he can still be in control after dividing the kingdom is a delusion According to Elizabethan philosophy it would seem that this is the beginning of his mistakes and is also the cause of much of the misfortune that occurs later on in the play Chaos rules the unnatural As well King Lear makes another devastating mistake which affects his relationship with his daughters by asking them to tell him how much they love him in order
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