In the play King Lear by William Shakespeare the use of disguises plays a key role in the events that happen. The characters in the novel appear to be to be one ting to the reader, but many of the characters such as Goneril, Regan, Kent, Edmund and Edgar use disguise to hide who they really are. King Lear is a play in which the outer coverings of a human must be ripped off to see their true nature.
The first character that the audience meets that uses disguise is Goneril. In the first seen of act one she is to tell King Lear how much she really loves him to get a piece of Britain. She does not truly love Lear as much as she says she does and uses flattery to fool him into believing that she really does love him. She puts on the disguise of a loving daughter.
?Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter,/Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty,? (1.1.55-56.) The second character to use disguise in King Lear is Regan. She is in the same situation as her sister and must use the disguise of flattery as well to get what she wants from her father. She also puts on the mask of a loving daughter. ?I find she names my very deed of love;/Only she comes too short, that I profess/Myself an enemy to all other joys? (1.1.71-73.) The character of Kent also uses disguise to do his will. When the Earl of Kent is banished for defending Cordelia he has a great desire to come back and look after his master the King because he sees Goneril and Regan for what they truly are and is worried about him. He uses the disguise of Caius a servant to get back into the Kings court so he can look after him.
If but as well I other accents borrow That can my speech diffuse, my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue For which I rased my likeness. Now, banished Kent, If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned, So may it come thy master, whom thou lov?st, Shall find thee full of labors. (1.4.1-7.) Kent changes his looks and his personality in order to become a different person. He uses a true disguise.
Edmund must use disguise to get what he wants from his father. He fools Gloucester in to believing that he is the loving son and that Edgar is the hateful son. He uses the disguise of a loving caring son. Had he not disguised himself he would not have earned Gloucesters trust and would have gotten nothing from his father because he was illegitimate.
The character of Edgar must use disguise to hide from his father when he becomes enraged by what Edmund tells him. Edgar runs away and decides that the best way for him to hide is to disguise himself as a crazy beggar. ?My face I?ll grime with filth,/Blanket my loins, elf all my hairs in knots,/And with presented nakedness outface? (2.3.9-11.) He uses a true disguise to becomes Poor Tom.
Disguises are a very important part of King Lear. Had the characters of Goneril, Regan, Kent, Edmund and Edgar not used disguise the story would not have been the same and they would not have gotten what they wanted or accomplished what they set out to do.