Shakespeare’s “King Lear”

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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People have many different reactions to being tested. Some people get furious and is toxic to everyone including themselves. Sadly in this day in age, that is all way too common. Along those lines, people would often give up because its “too hard” or a “waste of my time”. When tested we should be patient and reliant on God. We need to be calm and have an open mind. In Shakespeare’s King Lear and the biblical Book of Job, they both have reactions to Love Tests.

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The both teach humans how they should react, and how not to react to tests.

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Lear himself puts his three daughters to a Love Test to see which, out of the three, love him the most. The who does will have most of the kingdom as he divides it amongst them. The older two sisters, Goneril and Reagan, gave a fake answer and mimicked each others answers. They were corrupted by greed to get more land. On the other hand, Cordelia shows us how to react, truthfully. She said that she can not love her father 100% and that she also loves her husband. Her answer was the truth and the most loving answer.

Lear “disclaim all my paternal care”, which he took the land Cordelia was going to give her. It also means that he bans her and is now no longer his daughter. Lear removes Cordelia rom his heart because he didn’t receive the answer he was looking for. Lear becomes petty, and Cordelia and Kent tries to council Lear, but Lear was too “hurt” and from his anger banishes his friend along with his daughter. All of this because Lear’s daughter truly loves him. He shouldn’t have responded in such a crude manner, for no good can come from Lear’s reaction from true love.

In the biblical Book of Job, God puts Job through a Love Test. Job is a wealthy man in the world as well as to God. He is a God fearing man with unwavering faith. Satan sees this and comes before the Lord asking if he takes down his hedge of protection so that Satan can make Job denounce God. God allows Satan to do horrible things to Job in order to change his faith. Satan takes everything from him. Satan takes all of Job’s children, livestock, fields of grains and his servants. Upon hearing the horrible news, “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshipped,” (Job 1:20 NKJV). Job didn’t even blink, right when he hears the the news of his 10 children death, the loss of all his land and servants, Job immediately worships God. Unlike King Lear, Job’s response is that of good. He sees what God is doing and Job has faith in God and knows that God truly loves him back. Whereas Lear doesn’t see Cordelia’s act of true love as true love and completely removes Cordelia from Lear’s life. Lear punishes everyone who tries to convince him otherwise.

Ferocity and toxicity is not how someone should react to statements of love. That is what King Lear did. He got violent and upset. In the end lost everything and eventually lost his life. Job is on the other end of the spectrum. Job reacted with patience and worshipped right then and they. After the test, “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before,” (Job 42:10 ESV). Be more like Job, with staying faithful to God, unlike Lear with toxicity and hatred and hurting those around him.

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Shakespeare’s "King Lear". (2019, May 22). Retrieved from