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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 280



     We have now to look at the characters in King Lear; and I propose to consider them to some extent from the point of view indicated at the close of the last lecture, partly because we have so far been regarding the tragedy mainly from an opposite point of view, and partly because these characters are so numerous that it would not be possible within our limits to examine them fully.



     The position of the hero in this tragedy is in one important respect peculiar. The reader of Hamlet, Othello, or Macbeth, is in no danger of forgetting, when the catastrophe is reached, the part played by the hero in bringing it on. His fatal weakness, error, wrong-doing, continues almost to the end. It is otherwise with King Lear. When the conclusion arrives, the old King has for a long while been passive. We have long regarded him not only as 'a man more sinned against than sinning,' but almost wholly as a sufferer, hardly at all as an agent. His sufferings too have been so cruel, and our indignation against those who inflicted them has been so intense, that recollection of the wrong he did to Cordelia, to Kent, and to his realm, has been well-nigh effaced. Lastly, for nearly four Acts he

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