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The Journey Into Madness

  • Date Submitted: 11/15/2013 07:55 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69.7 
  • Words: 2537
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According to the Oxford Dictionary (2013), madness can be defined as the state of having a serious mental illness. It is also defined as extremely foolish behaviour. In the text, “King Lear” by Williams Shakespeare and the film, “Ran” by Akira Kurosawa, both the author and the director show that the Protagonist’s past haunts them so much that they eventually become insane. As a result of their hamartia, both King Lear and the Great Lord, Hidetora, have a past that haunts them, and because they are unable to accept their sins and mistakes in the past, they become mad. Their journey into madness is evident throughout the film and play, and can be seen through their sudden loss of power, through their ‘loved ones’ betrayal, and through their blindness to reality. Although the protagonists do undergo a dramatic change in character by the end of both the play and the film, it is their past mistakes and sins that lead them into madness, and what eventually leads them to their own downfall and catastrophic death.
A sudden loss of power can be difficult to accept, especially if you had ultimate authority beforehand. In both “King Lear” and “Ran”, Lear and Hidetora go from having full power to having nothing unexpectedly. When Lear divides up his kingdom, although he acknowledges that he is giving away all of his authority and kingly duties, he still expects to keep his title as King.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Preeminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights
By you to be sustained, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only shall we retain
The name, and all th' additions to a king.
(1.1.130-136)
In this quote, we see that Lear is not fully ready to give away his entire kingship when he demands to keep the title of King. We see that he wishes to hold a position of power, but he does not want the responsibility that comes with it. Likewise, in Ran, Hidetora does...

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