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Word Count: 1,689
Exposure to human cruelty is a powerful force in changing ones character or outlook on life This is demonstrated in William Shakespeares play King Lear Throughout the play it is seen that for a variety of reasons both King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester move from arrogance to humility and finally to wisdom This pairs arrogance is evident through their gullibility and rash decisions their humility shown through their loss of power and resulting empathy and lastly their wisdom displayed through remorse and reconciliation Lear and Gloucester begin their journey as egotistical characters Each of these two possesses great gullibility and allows their arrogance to influence their decision-making abilities In an attempt to impress his subjects with his popularity Lear decides to split up his kingdom based on the quality of his daughters vows of love Lear feels that because he is King his daughters would dare not defy him nor lie to him Thus when Regan and Goneril profess their undying love he fully trusts that they are sincere It is unfortunate for Lear that he believes solely in his own excellent judgement of character as it is this overconfident behaviour that leads him into making some uninformed decisions When it is Cordelias turn to express her love to her father she replies Unhappy that I am I cannot heave my heart into my mouth I love your Majesty according to my bond no more nor less 1193-95 Lear is absolutely appalled by his daughters response and decides that he will disclaim all his paternal care propinquity and property of blood 11115-116 It is clear that he is most angry with Cordelia because he feels that he deserves a much better declaration as he is the King This presumptuous belief causes Lear to exile perhaps his most worthy daughter Similarly the Earl of Gloucester is just as quick to believe and banish Edmund Gloucesters bastard son greedily plots to take his fathers
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