King Lear – Good vs. Evil In the King Lear play, Shakespeare creates many conditions in which humans live in the world. The main characters in the play are used to portray Shakespeare’s ideas.
One of these ideas which Shakespeare is trying to portray is evil between the characters and in the world which are emphasized throughout the play. The evil, created by humans, is outweighed by good in the world of King Lear. Evil was created by humans who decided to do wrong to others. Duke of Albany, said that all evil people will be justly punished (ACT V, iii, 303). Albany indicated that it is the people who caused evil and people decided to do evil, not gods.
Lear believes that since Edgar is out on the heath he must have given everything to his daughters as well (ACT III, iv, 62ff). Since he believes that Edgar gave everything to evil Lear must believe that people are the cause of evil. It were Lear’s daughters who decided to do wrong to Lear and it was Lear’s fault in giving away all of his land. Si ughters are the humans in the play, it is the humans who caused the evil and Lear believes that humans were the ones who created evil. Edgar, is another character in the play who believes that evil is caused by humans and not the gods. Edgar said, “The gods are just, and of our peasant vices make instruments to plague us” (ACT V, iii, 169).
Edgar clearly says that the gods are right and it is the people who are responsible for promoting evil in the world. It is us who make the instruments necessary for evil to spread and plague the world. In the world of King Lear many characters believe evil was caused by the people and not by the gods. Even though evil was created by humans good will always exist.
After King Lear was captured he showed that even if evil exists, good will always be present. Lear speaks about love with Cordelia in the prison cell and how they will still have each other despite of the evil around them (ACT V, iii, 8). On another occasion Lear also says that despite all the evil in the world the raw nature, which is good, is still unharmed (ACT IV, iv, 90-92). Lear discovers nature’s beauty by playing with the mice and listening to the signing birds. While all the evil is at its peak and everything seems to be lost, the raw nature in the play is unharmed. The good exists even while the evil dominates the world.
Good will not only exist if evil dominates, good will also outweigh evil eventually. The war which was lost by Cordelia and Lear, the good side, showed evil win (ACT V, ii). However, good over powered it after the war by Duke of Albany. The good in the play first was diminished to almost nothing but in the end more good was able to defeat evil in the play.
When the two sisters began fighting between each other evil began fighting against evil (ACT V, i and iii). Eventually, because of that fighting between evil, good was able to over power evil. When the evil seemed strong and good almost non-existent, evil managed to fight itself and give good a chance to get stronger. At the end of the play evil was completely defeated and good once again dominated the world in the play. Although evil will always be present and people will be the reason why it exists, good will always outweigh evil. Through the characters, Shakespeare is able to portray how evil and man compose in the world.
The evil will always exist but good will always win and dominate in the world of King Lear.