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Word Count: 570
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work Justice - King Lear is a brutal play filled with human cruelty and awful seemingly meaningless disasters The plays succession of terrible events raises an obvious question for the characters--namely whether there is any possibility of justice in the world or whether the world is fundamentally indifferent or even hostile to humankind Various characters offer their opinions As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods They kill us for their sport Gloucester muses realizing it foolish for humankind to assume that the natural world works in parallel with socially or morally convenient notions of justice Edgar on the other hand insists that the gods are just believing that individuals get what they deserve But in the end we are left with only a terrifying uncertainty--although the wicked die the good die along with them culminating in the awful image of Lear cradling Cordelias body in his arms There is goodness in the world of the play but there is also madness and death and it is difficult to tell which triumphs in the end Authority versus Chaos - King Lear is about political authority as much as it is about family dynamics Lear is not only a father but also a king and when he gives away his authority to the unworthy and evil Goneril and Regan he delivers not only himself and his family but all of Britain into chaos and cruelty As the two wicked sisters indulge their appetite for power and Edmund begins his own ascension the kingdom descends into civil strife and we realize 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 The failure of authority in the face of chaos recurs in Lears wanderings on the heath during the storm Witnessing
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