In the essay "The Humanity of 'King Lear'", the main idea that Kettle is trying to get across is how King Lear becomes a man. In Kettles' thesis that states "When I say that Lear is the story of how a King becomes a man I do not mean at all that it is an allegory or that we should use a word in like symbolic to describe it", two ideas of nature, inhumanity of the characters and the stages that Lear takes to become a man are introduced. Within the Kingdom there are two individual "camps." The first one is the camp that accepts the old order, which is the chain of being and also those who follow the new order. The characters in 'Lear' that follow the traditional chain of being are Lear, Kent, Albany and Gloucester. The characters that follow the new order, that are also Machiavellian's are Edmund, Regan, Goner il and Cornwall. Although these two groups are separate they both seem to discuss nature in many ways.
An example of this is when King Lear refers to his own daughters as "Unnatural hags." In this play nature seems to be portrayed as evil and also stated by Hobbes " The state of nature was the state of war" At the beginning of the play, 'Lear' proves to everyone that he is inhuman when he banishes his daughter Cordelia, for she spoke of her true feelings. He also banishes Kent from the Kingdom out of pure rage. Throughout the play Lear begins to realize how inhuman his actions were and his journey to becoming a man begins. The main reason for Lear's progress toward man was because of the relationships that he had with the needy or the poor.
Regardless of Lear's progression towards humanity, he is also beginning to lose all power that he once had. Because of the loss of power, he has nothing left and is forced to appreciate what he does have and also understand the poor. Lear's new 'Identity' causes him to do many things that at one time, he would not dream of. For example Lear removing all of his clothes because he felt that this would bring him down to the level of Poor Tom. As King Lear is reduced by the new people to the depth of humiliation, falls only to rise, and become a new man. When comparing both King Lear and Hamlet the main character is defeated by his history, rather then his rivals or weaknesses.
In both stories a new King becomes in charge but does not live up to the standards of the past.