Weve all seen shapeshifters through different storylines, some of them important, and some not. They may start off as evil, vile characters that we all dislike but love in the end, or a lovable character that twists from favorable to malicious with a snap. The tragedy, King Lear, written by William Shakespeare, is about a king, struck with two malicious daughters and one good one, and the shadow, Edmund, who plots to kill everyone to take land for himself. The play demonstrates several themes and topics and portrays them enough for us to realize how important they all are.
This tragedy has also one well-known example of a shapeshifter. A brilliant example is the character Albany in King Lear. The coward turned willpowered. From ineffective to vigorous, Gonerils husband, Albany, grew continuously through the play. Because of his characters ability to change consistently, hes made his stance at the end; a trustworthy and strong symbol of justice.
During the beginning of King Lear, the audience sees the overall personality of Albany as weak, feebile, indecisive, and blind towards his wifes, Goneril, actions. Albany was weak; he didnt know of his wifes intentions. He also didnt seem to care or want to know what was happening with Goneril, this including her plan to take some of the land as her own. As stated in Act 1, Scene 4, Albany doesnt seem to know what his wife intends as Shakespeare writes, My lord I am guiltless, as I am ignorant of what hath moved you (Lear. 1. 4. 265-266). His character is definitely a standby, and because of this, we see him as an extra. Albany is a weak man who is oblivious to Gonerils intentions and thats what we all see him as in the beginning, however this introduction is what brings him closer to being a true symbol of justice.
After the establishment of what Albany appears to be, we see him change through the circumstances that are soon brought to light. Albanys character soon begins to nurture and develop as we see him becoming more of a trustworthy man. After his finding out of his wife, Albanys transformation develops. This occurs during Act 4, Scene 2, where Albany spits, O Goneril, You arent worth the dust the wind blows in your face. (Lear. 4. 2. 29-30). He decides to step up to her, only knowing that shes treating her father poorly. Albany goes on to become a strong character who stands up to his wife. Since the has had this epiphany, he takes King Lears side, and the audience acknowledges him as a better character.
Speaking of the end, we see that Albany bestows himself as a strong and masculine character. He stands as a symbol of divine justice, and feels no empathy towards the fallen Regan, Edmund, and Goneril. In the end, specifically Act 5, Scene 3, Albany says finally that This judgement of heavens, that makes us tremble, Touches us not with pity (Lear. 5. 3. 243-245). Now that hes conquered his older self, Albany becomes a stronger and better person. Therefore, in the end, we see him not as an extra nor standby, we see him as an enforcer of justice, whose constant and unchanging will of God provides him with strength and nobility, which ultimately establishes his shapeshift (Catholic Church).
In conclusion, Albanys transformation was a dramatic one. Going from a power-hungry, traitorous, and feeble-minded character to someone who enforces divine justice, Albany grows throughout the play, and very nicely at that. He builds his strength because of the challenges he faced. Albany had grown consistently throughout the play due to his wifes actions and challenges involving King Lear as well as the kingdom had demanded for some sort of change, which we had perceived in the end; he had become a known symbol of divine justice. Youve probably seen a shapeshifter in movies or plays, whether it be the beast from Beauty and the Beast or Scar from The Lion King; it seems that no matter what movie or tale we come across, theres always going to be a character which we all love and respect in the end, and Albany is a true example. Because of this, the character Albany in King Lear is one to remember. He stands as a symbol of justice and strength in which we all can view as something to gaze upon as true and mighty.