The tragedy of King Lear is a timeless play that revolves around the downfall of a great man due to a flaw in his character. The audience follows the tragic heroÃÂs catastrophic demise and is manipulated into feeling sorry for them because their journey to self knowledge is a slow and painful one that they cannot recover from. However, in a feminist reading of this play, our attention is diverted away from the suffering of the Lear and Gloucester to makes us consider women as the victims of the patriarchal society. Furthermore, a feminist reading challenges and criticizes the roles of women depicted in the play. An example of a feminist reading is ÃÂThe Patriarchal BardÃÂ by Kathleen McLuskie.
McLuskieÃÂs argument presents a traditional and conservative male view of the world of the play, and criticizes it as a patriarchal morality play in which the female characters are portrayed as evil and as troublemakers.
In her view of the play, she suggests how the play shows a ÃÂconnection between sexual insubordination and anarchyÃÂ and ÃÂis given an explicit misogynist emphasisÃÂ However, in view of the social and historic context of the play, Shakespeare simply reflected how society at that time viewed and treated women according to the positions and roles that women were meant to fulfill.
Act1 Scene 1 is an important scene in which male dominance and female subordination is portrayed, depicting the gender-based status of men and women prevalent at the time. Kent and GloucesterÃÂs dialogue at the start of the play immediately introduces manÃÂs perception of a womanÃÂs role as mother, wife, male property, and for ÃÂsportÃÂ. GloucesterÃÂs explanation of EdmundÃÂs illegitimacy and of EdmundÃÂs mother is harsh and irresponsible. ÃÂI have so often blushed to acknowledge himÃÂ EdmundÃÂs mother is seen as little value and respect,