a character sketch of Earl of Kent in the Play King Lear

Essay by ingmarHigh School, 12th gradeA-, January 2003

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The Earl of Kent

(Play: King Lear)

The Earl of Kent is an interesting character. He remains loyal and is true to the King even when he is banished.

When the King banishes Cordelia in the first scene of the play, Kent sees this as a foolish move and pleads with him to reconsider his decision. He sees the fury in Lear, when his daughter did not say what he wanted to hear, and knows this is just frustration and a short temper. Kent is trying to prevent Lear from making a ?rash? decision. However, Lear is still in his fury, does not listen, and instead banishes Kent as well. The Earl bids his goodbyes and expresses thanks to Cordelia for telling the truth.

?Reverse thy state,

And in thy best consideration check

This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgement,

Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,

Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds

Reverb no hollowness.

(Lear, I, 1, 151-156)

In Act I, Scene 3, Kent decides to disguise himself as a servant, and asks for a position as a servant to Lear. He wants to stay loyal, and close, to the King. Kent changes his appearance and accent to fit the role of a servant. When he offers his service, Lear questions him about his abilities and motives to work for him. Kent answers in a jovial manner. As an Earl, Kent speaks in verse, but he changes to prose when he is disguised, as servants are not able to speak in verse. He convinces Lear and is taken on. When Kent is interviewing for the servant position, he acts like a fool. His witty humour, spoken in Prose, convinces Lear. Kent knows how a fool should behave and tells Lear accordingly a long list...