Machiavelli\'s View of Human Nature


Good King, that must approve the common saw,

Thou out of heavens benediction com’st

To the warm sun

Approach, thou beacon to this under globe,

That by thy comfortable beams I may

Peruse this letter. Nothing almost sees miracles

But misery. I know ‘tis from Cordelia

Who hath most fortunately been informed

Of my obscured course, and shall find time
>From this enormous state, seeking to give

Losses their remedies. All weary and o’erwatched,

Take vantage heavy eyes, not to behold

This shameful lodging.

Fortune, goodnight. Smile once more; turn thy wheel.

Shakespeare (H)

D. Bradford

November10, 1997

Damian Schafgans
"The theme of King Lear may be stated in psychological as well as
biological terms. So put, it is the destructive, the ultimately
suicidal character of unregulated passion, its power to carry
human nature back to chaos....

The predestined end of unmastered passion is the suicide of the
species. That is the gospel according to King Lear. The play
is in no small measure an actual representation of that process.

The murder-suicide of Regan-Goneril is an example. But it is
more than a picture of chaos and impending doom. What is the
remedy for chaos? it asks. What can avert the doom? The
characters who have mastered their passions give us a glimpse of
the answer to those questions."
-Harold C. Goddard,

The Meaning of Shakespeare, 1951

Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, is often thought of as not only one of

Shakespeare’s best works, but also one of his best "poems". The language
follows in Shakespeare’s trademark format using iambic pentameter in much
of the play. Shakespeare’s It is we ll known for its many universal
themes. Some of these themes are: Dealing with he folly of old age and the
ingratitude of youth; Good versus evil; Nature; Vision and blindness; and

Fortune. These themes have been examined for hundreds of years in many dif
ferent forums, but what makes this play so unique is the fact that

Shakespeare incorporates all of these issues in just one tale.

One character that examines some of these issues is a character named

Kent. Kent is a significant character in King Lear, as he is involved from
the beginning to the end. Kent is the ideal first mate to the commander of
the ship of state. From the moment we meet him and observe his tactful
response to Gloucester’s bawdy chatter, we know we can rely on
this good man. It doesn’t take long for us to become better acquainted.

When Lear banishes Cordelia, and Kent speaks up in her behalf, he is bold
but courteous. And he sticks to his guns, even at the risk of his own
banishment. The measure of his devotion
to his master, the king, is shown by his assumption of a disguise. This
enables him to continue in Lear’s service. There are several additional
facets of Kent’s personality. He can be hotheaded, as in the outburst that
infuriates Lear in the very first s cene. And his treatment of Oswald is
hardly gentle. Kent even shows a sense of humor in his lengthy description
of Goneril’s steward. Kent is not a great philosopher, but he does
acknowledge that there are greater forces determining our fates. He
endures disfavor and discomfort stoically. His devotion and faithfulness
are always in our minds. In the midst of the final turmoil, we still have
compassion for Kent when he tells us that he cannot fulfill the only
formal request made of him. He cannot share the
responsibility for restoring order to England because he is nearing his
own end.

As mentioned before, Kent clearly belives in a greater sence of fate and
fortune. This is exactly what his speech is about in act two, scene two.

Kent is at the bottom of the wheel of fortune, and he is looking for the
wheel to turn in his favor. Dissecti ng the speech line for line is the
only real way of understanding the speech. The first line, "Good king,
that must approve the common saw," is an allusion to Lear and his duties
as his subjects percieve them to be, with the word "saw" meaning proverb.
"t hou out of heavens benediction com’st to the warm sun," means that

Lear, out of heavens blessing once again will be in the sun, or recognized
as the king. "Approach thou beacon to this under globe" is the idea that

Kent wants some sort of illumination, wh ether it be the sun or the moon,
to come to his place at the dredges of the society. "That by thy
comfortable beams I may peruse this letter" means that Kent wants to read
a letter that he has received,