The opportunity individuals seize to expand their power is achieved at the cost of moral integrity. Should these individuals seize the day for personal interests, and thus abuse their power, the privileges they derive from seizing the day will be short lived. Shakespeare demonstrates this in his tragedy ‘King Lear’. Through the exploration of Lear’s daughters, Regan and Gonerill, and Edmund, we will learn that these characters seize the day through illegitimate means and therefore negative consequences emerge.
When presented with an opportunity for a potential growth in power, individuals are more likely to seize it through improper purposes instead of acting in a morally righteous manner. In doing so, the individual prioritises wealth, power and personal interests above societal values. We see this demonstrated in the subversion of the positivity attached to the emotion of love when the sisters Regan and Gonerill seize the opportunity to gain land through their deceiving testimonies of affection. Gonerill ironically speaks of “a love that makes breath poor and speech unable” which is further supportive of deceiving intentions of the sisters, seizing this opportunity for improper purposes at the expense of their father’s integrity. Similarly, Edmond has determined to receive the Gloucester inheritance by whatever means necessary despite being an illegitimate son. Hence he plans to seize the day in defiance of the natural order. The use of dramatic irony in Edmond’s soliloquy in Act 1 scene 2 reveals to the audience his alter motive. By taking “nature, art my goddess; to thy law my services are bound”, Edmond rejects the values of society and those particularly relating to inheritance that the illegitimate son will not receive any. This is depictive of Edmond’s conniving character acting outside of God’s provenance, scheming against his own brother and sacrificing ideals of family for material wealth and gain. Thus when taking upon the opportunity to obtain power, we use purely selfish motives to alienate others in order to gain satisfaction. Therefore we seize the day at the expense of rational thought and moral integrity.
However, an individual who has gained power through dishonest acts will inevitably, because of ambition and greed, abuse their power. By seizing the day for improper purposes, the