King Lear – Egocentric and Insecure?

During class on Friday we discussed how King Lear was “obviously” egocentric. I kept thinking about what other reasons besides him being egocentric would contribute to him wanting to hear his daughters declare their love for him. One of the reasons I came up with was that King Lear is a king. As a king he always has to double guess what people say to him and that can make a person paranoid and insecure in themselves. Could King Lear have wanted to hear his daughters explain how much they loved because he thought that his own family wouldn’t lie to him. When Cordelia did not give a good enough answer he might have felt embarrassed by what she said in front of so many people and decided that she needed to be punished.

If this was a reason why he wanted to hear his daughters declare their love for him then it clearly backfired as we find out in Act I that his two oldest start plotting to remove his left over respect and power.

Do you think King Lear could have been insecure in himself, is he just an egocentric king that always wants to be flattered, or is he both?

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