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Word Count: 1,345
In King Lear Shakespeare constructs the play so that originally as Harbage argues We weigh circumstances and view Lears reverses at least partly in terms of his faults yet eventually find that disaster is created by the immeasurable evil of his two daughters This technique results in complex character development which stimulates the reader to evaluate each player repeatedly as they each experience many reverses Lears initial behavior sets in motion a chain of events which uncover his primary vulnerabilities as a king a father and man Although the reader recognizes this as Lear becomes increasingly aware of his faults his daughters evil natures unfold and the blame shifts to them for the misfortunes that occur through the rest of the play As the first act commences Lear conducts himself in a manner that is true to a king yet causes the reader to blame him for the onslaught of turmoil that follows King Lears first entrance is replete with ritual and ceremony He decides to apportion his kingdom as a gift rather than an inheritance to his three heirs He chooses however to have his daughters declare their love to him as a condition for their share of the kingdom Which of you shall we say doth love us most That we are largest bounty may extend Ii52-3 he declares making obvious to the reader that his method is flawed yet does not himself notice because he is only speaking with the self-assurance of a monarch It is thus partly his own fault that the superficial speeches given by Goneril and Regan are credited especially because they are consistent with the ceremonial provisions Lear tries to maintain Oppositely Cordelias response is borne of genuine love and honesty yet is foolishly disregarded by Lear because he is blind sighted by his adherence to imperial formalities The reader feels further compelled to place the blame on Lear because he rashly disclaims all his paternal careIi 120-21
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