An Examination of the Theme of Suffering in William Shakespeareâ€™s <i>King Lear</i> and <i>Julius Caesar</i>
Keywords:King Lear, Julius Caesar, tragedy, and self-inflicted suffering.
This article will attempt to examine the theme of suffering in William Shakespeareâ€™s King Lear and Julius Caesar in relation to some of the main characters in each play. Since both plays are tragedies, a lot of suffering is definitely concerned. However, the kind of suffering differs in each play in the sense that the suffering of the tackled prominent characters in the first play is self-inflicted whereas the suffering of the selected main characters in the second is not. The prominent characters that will be examined from the first play are: King Lear, Cordelia, Kent, the Earl of Gloucester, Edgar, and Edmund; and from the second: Julius Caesar and Brutus. To elaborate, this article will demonstrate how Learâ€™s decision to divide power among his daughters leads to his own misery and suffering just as the adopted attitudes and characteristics of the other mentioned characters lead to their own suffering as well. On the other hand, since Julius Caesar defeats Pompey in the civil war that takes place just before the play opens, he is to be crowned â€˜Kingâ€™ by his people who offer him their love, respect, and obedience. This is not well perceived by some distinguished senators who kill him because they see themselves fitter in ruling. The assassination is basically led by Brutus who is persuaded to take part in the conspiracy through deception and who dies at the end of the play for being dragged in this matter for the wrong reasons. In that sense, the suffering of both Caesar and Brutus is consequently inflicted upon them from others and not due to their own conducts.
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