Animality In King Lear Analysis

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Not only are we passive to body suffering, human also passive to its body as socially “vulgar” creature. Many scenes in King Lear expose the vulgarity of human being as an animal. From the first scene Gloucester already mentions sexual intercourse. When Lear rigorously scolds his daughters are born from “the sulphurous pit,” he indicates the biological bonds between them. As Adelman suggests, Lear cannot simply blame Regan and Goneril as pure devil; he shares with them the blood; he produces them. The devil is not the transcendental power – gods, which renders from high above, rather, it is human being who acts according to their lust. Cordelia, in the first scene, already reveals the truth of human: when she says she loves Lear merely for…show more content…
The anthropological machine keeps eliminating the animality in human so as to construct the human being. However, animality incessantly emerges and interrupts the human being; and the machine adjusts to carry on its mission. We can see how stoicism eliminates the animality. For example, the stoic morals regulates the Eros, the sexual desire, sees it as a monster which human have to avoid; in previous section, I have cited from Foucault Epictetus’ lesson of restraining one’s affection. The affection has to be controlled because it will cause instability of the individual and society, interrupting the filial and courtly order. These lessons train people to become healthy subjects, not disturbed by any wild potency. In doing so the stoicism constructs and invents a second nature exclusively for human being as to keep the polis stable. This so-called nature, namely a whole set of system defining and regulating the thought and behavior in different positions, ignores and replaces the animal nature within human to social convention. It is this construction that causes tragedy: Edmund’s evil motivation originates from his bastard identity, which subordinates him only because his identity is not assigned in the present order. Lear, upset by Cordelia because he loves her too much, recognizes his love incorrectly, regarding the flattery as the real love because flattery meets the demand of stoicism. Such is the paradox of stoicism: it opposes flattery but its emphasis on social status makes the real expression impossible. Shakespeare deliberately brings Cordelia to death, breaking up with the original history, the end of the play thus does not resolve or reaffirm the present order, rather engender chaos. Such an end shows that the stoicism, or the social convention, is the illusion for human to suspend the truth of bodily
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