Mitra Final 15

Topics: Gerontology, Death, Ageing Pages: 4 (1213 words) Published: April 24, 2015
Nile Quick
Dr. Mitra
Final Essay

In Shakespeare’s play King Lear, Lear exhibits the tendency to truly believe that his old age perceives him. Lear says “And we’ll wear out, In a walled prison, packs and sects of great ones That ebb and flow by th’ moon.” (V.iii.18-20). It is because of this action of Lear that causes the death of his daughter Cordelia, to be more devastating. In blind rage he kills the murderer with the unexpected strength of his youth. However, soon the thought tires him and he is dejected that he could not stop the death of Cordelia. He proclaims, “I am old now, and these same crosses spoil me.” (T V.iii. 334-335) Lear can only helplessly hold his daughter in his arms, as he regrets the feeble state that his old age has left him. The death of Cordelia is striking to readers of king Lear. The magnitude of her death in significantly enhanced when you take into account the age of her death. ….Says…. “Unjust and unnatural due to her age.”() King Lear morns her death and wishes that she was alive. Lear is old and his aging is a slow agonizing crawl to death. Lear’s death is inevitable and he knows this to be true. This fact angers him and he questions why the life of his daughter be stripped away at such a young age when he is still alive to walk the earth, “Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,” he cries, “And thou no breath at all?” (V.iii.370-371). Lear refuses to acknowledge that death has consumed his daughter’s life. It perplexes him.

In the final scene of the second act Lear’s age has clearly determined how those view him and his ability to rule. Regan and Cornwall disagree with Lear’s desire to stay with Regan and her unwillingness to have so many attendants. Regan says to Lear “ O sir, you are old. Nature in you stands on the very verge of confine. You should be ruled and led by some discretion that discerns your state better than you yourself (II, iv, 165-9). What can be said about Regan’s thoughts through this...
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