King Lear, Searching for Vision
Through the course of the play, King Lear goes through a process of attaining self-knowledge, or true vision of one's self and the world. With this knowledge, he goes through a change of person, much like a caterpillar into a butterfly. In the beginning, King Lear's vanity, and the image and exercise of power dominate his person. But a series of losses (based on his own bad decisions), a 'fool' of a conscious, a powerful storm, a 'supposed' crazy man, and the death of the one who truly loved him, clear his vision and allow him to see the himself and the world as they truly are. The pain and suffering endured by Lear eventually tears down his strength and sanity. Lear is not as strong, arrogant, and filled with pride as he was in the beginning of the play instead he is weak, scared, and a confused old man.
At the end of the play Lear has completely lost his sanity with the loss of his daughter Cordelia and this is the thing that breaks Lear and leads to his death.
In the beginning, King Lear shows his need for praise is how he chooses to divide his kingdom among his daughters. The one who praises him with the most 'gusto' shall receive the largest area of land. This is even more evident when you consider that he already has divided up the kingdom before the praising even begins. As evident as he gives each daughter her land before hearing the next daughter's praise. Thus the who thing is just a show and an ego boost to himself. It is because of his love for praise that makes him react so strongly to Cordelia and Kent when they do not act as...