King Lear Rhetorical Analysis

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In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edgar concludes the play by lamenting over the tragic deaths of those the around him and the future of the kingdom. As Kent, Albany, and Edgar are the only characters remaining in the end, Edgar stresses upon the lives lost to acts of deceit and the importance of letting honesty reign through one’s actions instead. Bound to never again let lies tear a family apart, Edgar believes that words should come from the heart and never should one speak with evil intentions. Through a didactic declaration of ethical principles, Shakespeare summarizes the moral of the play that honesty and truth should preside over one’s actions rather than lies and deceit displayed through an antithesis of virtuous actions and with…show more content…
By paralleling “Speak what we feel” with “what we ought to say”, Shakespeare creates a balanced sentence conveying rhythm to contrast the beginning of the sentence with the end. Guiding the audience to what is right versus wrong, Shakespeare concludes the mournful play with a powerful, enlightening statement. He has Edgar demand with sincerity that people act out of honesty and integrity, staying true to one’s beliefs rather than societal expectations pressuring oneself. Within each fragment, Shakespeare’s syntax enacts an accent on “speak” and “not”, driving the rhythm and emphasizing his tone. With such demanding diction, Shakespeare causes the audience to realize how the morals of the statement relate to the events of the play, hoping to inspire their own righteous actions. In order to address his want of honest and trustworthy communication free from lies and deceit, Shakespeare uses an antithesis to contrast his desires with his fears. Though not stated in the second half of the quote, Edgar implies that he does not wants others to speak or say false statements just because they believe that is what the public wants them to say. The use of “feel” in the first statement associates with one’s emotions and true desires in their heart, while the use of “ought” conveys a forceful, untrustworthy tone, depicting one who is untruthful to their beliefs and deceives others. While contrasting love and honesty to lies and deception, Edgar highlights the forces evidently opposing each other throughout the play: the ungrateful, mischievous Regan, Goneril, and Edmund manipulating their fathers against the loyal support of Cordelia and Edgar towards their
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