Essay Comparing King Lear And Sunset Boulevard

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Many times it is not because of age that the mind goes crazy, but the length of time a sane mind is kept in an unhealthy environment. The authors use the adjunct characters in both King Lear, by William Shakespeare, and Sunset Boulevard, by Billy Wilder, to indicate why the main characters, Lear and Norma, are so delusional. Comparing the two we can see a pattern of “loyalty to a fault” that, in the end, leads to the main characters’ downfalls. Examining King Lear, we can see that Kent is responsible for King Lear’s delusion of power. In Sunset Boulevard, Max is to blame for Norma’s false sense of pomp. Though both Kent and Max have the best intentions, they ultimately are responsible for Lear and Norma’s lost sense of reality and saneness.
The main plot in Shakespeare's play King Lear is the downfall of King Lear himself. Though there are many factors that lead to this, such as his unfaithful daughters, we can see that it is Kent’s everlasting loyalty that pushes King Lear over the edge. Because Kent is so loyal, he stops at nothing to make the king feel as though he is still respected, despite the fact that he is not. Although it may seem that this act is kind, it is not in the best interest of the king himself. King Lear is no longer held in such high respect.
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For one, Max shields Norma from the real world. Max’s statement to Joe, “I wouldn’t look too closely at the postmarks” (Wilder), shows how Max helps create the delusions Norma has about still being famous. He has been sending fan letters to Norma, so she doesn’t find out the public is oblivious to her. This is doing a disservice to her because she is like a swinging pendulum. One second she is talking normal and the next she is acting like she is in one of her movies. If she were to find out the truth about her situation, it would be like a wrench was thrown at her pendulum knocking the whole thing
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