Madness, marginalization, and the epistemic limits of justice in Shakespeare's King Lear

dc.contributor.advisorEoff, Shirley M.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberCelso, Anthony N.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberBechtol, Bruce E., Jr.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberTaylor, William A.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberTasker, Twyla J.
dc.creatorPreston, Morgan Jane
dc.date.accessioned2022-05-17T20:33:24Z
dc.date.available2022-05-17T20:33:24Z
dc.date.issued2022-05
dc.description.abstractCritical interpretations of Shakespeare's King Lear have for too long focused narrowly on the experiences and redemption of Lear in isolation from the other characters and the political landscape of the play. I respond to this tradition of reducing the play to the character with whom it shares its namesake by emphasizing where Lear and Lear diverge. I argue that the play as a whole denounces Lear's attempt to discover knowledge of metaphysical order through isolated introspection, and whereas the popular humanist interpretations of the play celebrate Lear's escape from the political world, I argue that the play itself condemns this selfish choice and demands its audience to pursue justice despite its inevitable difficulties. The main way that the play condemns or condones the actions of its characters, I argue, is the effect that these actions have on the pervasive forces of marginalization within the play. Lear's inability to respond to clear examples of injustice during his isolated epistemic pursuit of an objective basis of justice marginalizes the other characters, and it especially silences his favorite daughter Cordelia. I offer an interpretation of the play that fully recognizes the constant marginalization that Cordelia suffers before she is ultimately silenced in death. By expanding the scope of investigation into Lear to include Lear's constant marginalization of Cordelia, I argue against redemptive readings of the play and instead offer an alternative source of optimism through the character Edgar. The play endows Edgar with the moral authority of its final lines because Edgar recognizes the limits of his reason, responds to others' needs, and uplifts the voices of those around him, making him a better source of optimism in the play than Lear.en_US
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2346.1/38829
dc.language.isoen_US
dc.rightsPublicly accessible
dc.subjectMadnessen_US
dc.subjectMarginalizationen_US
dc.subjectJusticeen_US
dc.subjectSkepticismen_US
dc.subjectShakespeareen_US
dc.subjectKing Learen_US
dc.subjectEpistemic Limitsen_US
dc.titleMadness, marginalization, and the epistemic limits of justice in Shakespeare's King Learen_US
dc.type.dcmiText
dc.type.genreThesis
thesis.degree.departmentEnglish and Modern Languages
thesis.degree.departmentPolitical Science and Philosophy
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglish
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophy
thesis.degree.grantorAngelo State University
thesis.degree.levelUndergraduate
thesis.degree.nameBachelor of Arts

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