In What Ways Can ‘King Lear’ Be Read as a Tale of Forgiveness over Grudges?

In what ways can ‘King Lear’ be read as a tale of forgiveness over grudges?

Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ is a play filled with tragedy and misfortunes, all at the cause of power and greed. However, despite the cruel nature of many of the characters, namely Lear, a sense of truth and forgiveness is demonstrated at the very end of ‘King Lear’. Forgiveness can be defined as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you. It is only until the large scenes of the play that we finally see Lear accepting his mistakes and begging for forgiveness from his only truthful and loving daughter, Cordelia. One may argue that Shakespeare decided to do this to enhance the overall moral message of his play; telling the audience that we should not be blinded by false flattery and power, and instead should see clearly the truth. It seems that this awareness and forgiveness can only occur once fatal events and deaths have befallen. Lear can only begin to see clearly once he has absolutely nothing left, including the loyalty of Gonoril and Regan.
The play begins with the most significant scene, the ‘Love Test’, in which Cordelia refuses to speak words of flattery to her father, resulting in Lear banishing his daughter despite her love being the truest. It is during this that we first see Lear’s blindness, an important motif portrayed throughout the entirety of the play. As the play progresses and Lear becomes less and less powerful, the audience is able to see his sanity unravel, through the storm scene in particular. It becomes clear, through the language used within the storm scene, that he has reached a state of madness, however, I believe that it is this ‘madness’ that provides Lear with a real understanding of his actions and wrongdoings. As the play reaches Act 4:7, and Cordelia and her father are finally reunited, the audience can view themselves the change in Lear. Instantly pathos and empathy is felt...