King Lear, Wisdom, Morality, success

Essay by unowhatidont69 June 2006

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Wisdom is the accumulated knowledge and the trait of utilizing that knowledge and experience with common sense and insight. Morals are standards of what are right and wrong assessed by an individual and how one might abide by them. Many characters in the play King Lear written by William Shakespeare possess these characteristics. Some characters abuse their qualities, while others stay true to themselves. Wisdom may provide opportunity, but morality is needed to achieve true success.

A great virtue for one to hold is wisdom. Although it may provide an individual with opportunity, once that wisdom is too deeply abused it leads to ones downfall. Edmund uses his wisdom over his relationships and his wisdom is general to gain opportunity, but lacks the morals to attain true success. Edmund uses his wisdom regarding his relationships. He knows his Father and Brother trust him, and therefore will believe what he says.

After Edmund talks to Edgar he mutters to himself "That he suspects none; on whose foolish honestly/My practices ride easy! I see the business"(I.ii.178-179) showing he is satisfied that he has indeed fooled Gloucester and Edgar, his plots have furthered. Furthermore Edmund uses his wisdom in general to try to attain success; he comes up with a very clever plan to achieve all the land. Alone in Gloucester's castle he says to himself "Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land"(I.ii.16) encouraging himself even more to give Gloucester the fake letter he wrote. This very wise plan opens an undeserved opportunity for Edmund, but only for a while. Finally Edmund lacks the morality to maintain his success. In the British camp near Dover, Edgar finally confronts Edmund and Albany charges him with treason, and in response to this he says, "What you have charged me with, that I have done, and...