The Great Chain Of Nature In King Lear

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The Early modern period is the time between the late 16th century and the early 18th century, coinciding with the end of the Elizabethan era, considered the 'golden age ' of England, and the beginning of the Jacobean era. During the reign of the Tudor dynasty, England was characterized by the expansion of poetry, literature and new social construction by virtue of literary works of William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, and, few decades later, poets like George Herbert and John Milton. In their era, the English Rennasaince, was present neoplatonic thought called the Great Chain of Being. This conception of the universe states that the universe has the highest ammount of different species, those species and forms share at least one feature with the closest one to them and they vary …show more content…

Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous tragedies, King Lear, between 1603 and 1607. In the center of the play is king Lear and his relations with his three daughters; Cordelia, Regan and Goneril. He asks them to describe how much they love him so he could decide how to divide his kingdom between them. The first mention of nothingness is introduced by Cordelia after she answers 'Nothing, my lord. ' With her repetition of nothingness, Shakespeare introduces one of the authors of the Chain of Being, Aristotle, who stated that 'nothing comes out of nothing '. The play actually follows the fall of the king Lear, who becomes 'nothing ' during the play by losing his kingdom, by betrayal of his daughters and by reduction of his knights to none. This Aristotle 's claim is opposite to God, who created everything out of nothing. Therefore, by means of repeating the motif of nothingness through the play, Shakespeare shakes the Chain of Being, at the top of which is God himself. Eventually, after losing his kingship, Lear falls into some kind of the identity crisis. So impoverished, Lear goes one step down in the Chain, becoming equal to all other humans, as seen in

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