Theme: justice and fate

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‘The quality of being just’ it’s a moral principle of determining ‘just’ conduct. The use of cruelty and portrayal of human suffering in King Lear make the world seem unjust. Characters constantly go to the gods for aid but are rarely answered. This could suggest that the gods either do not exist or they are acting cruel. King Lear seems to argue that it is up to human beings to administer justice in this world. King Lear being a brutal play, filled with human cruelty and awful, meaningless disasters. The horrific events that occur raise the questions whether there is any justice in the world, or whether the world is fundamentally indifferent or even hostile to humankind. Each character is intituled to their own view of the idea of justice, each being different in their own ways.

Supporting Quotes and there explanations

LEAR: Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join'
Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! 'tis foul!
EDMUND: Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true;
The wheel is come full circle: I am here.

Lear sees himself as a victim of injustice – his daughters have betrayed him and now he's caught out on the heath during a terrible storm. What's interesting about this passage is the way Lear literally accuses the storm of being his daughters' agent ("servile minister"). For Lear, it seems the whole world is against him.

After the wicked Edmund is mortally wounded by his brother, he says "the wheel has come full circle" (once again, he's at the bottom of fortune's wheel). In other words, he suggests he got exactly what was coming to him. Is he right?


‘The universal principle by which the order of things is presumably prescribed.’ And also the predetermination of destiny. In the play King Lear, fate decides where people will go, how they live and how they die. Individuals believe that god or a higher power; control the good and unfortunate events in their lives, they blame their misfortune and complicated lives on the gods, but when they are guided by someone they feel more confident, knowing someone is watching them. The imagery of a wheel is used in Act 2, Scene 4. Its relationship to fate and destiny continues to be prevalent. Fate makes the characters in King Lear commit the acts which then create their destiny. This affects all the characters, Lear is fooled by fate, he is deceived to see reality in all lies. Fate also makes Edmund the ‘evil illegitimate son’ and Edgar the ‘good legitimate son’, fates able to go as far as labelling individuals and brings people together to fight a battle of good vs. Evil.

Chelsea Swan

“For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; By all the operation of the orbs From whom we do exist, and cease to be.”( Act 1, scene 1, line 112-115) In this quote king lear asks the gods why his youngest daughter Cordelia

10:58 a.m.

Supporting Quotes and there explanations

“For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist, and cease to be.”

( 1.1.112)

In this quote king Lear asks the gods why his youngest daughter Cordelia does not love him as much as his oldest daughters. Lear is blind to see the truth in his daughter Cordelia.

Lear: ‘No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,

That ebb and flow by the moon.’

In this quote Lear is merely a tool of the gods. Lear says that they will talk like they understand the worlds mysteries like they were connected to god instead of being a mere prisoner in his own kingdom. It seems as though Lear is giving up and submitting to the fate that the gods have dealt him. The ebb and flow means a stage of decline or decay, moving from bad to worse. Lear not only accepts his fate but he accepts the fact that he will slowly die in the prison, he feels totally helpless to the will of gods and the fate he was dealt.

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