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King Lear Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

William Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, centres on an elderly king (Lear) who intends to divide his kingdom between his three daughters namely Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Since King Lear had no male child to inherit the throne, he decided to share his assets in order to avoid an occurrence of any conflict between the daughters after his demise. Conversely, the early retirement and partition of the kingdom deal caused uproar in the family, breaking apart the kingdom. As a result, family assumption, intimidation and trust caused the betrayals. This also resulted in cold war across the kingdom with family members plotting deaths for each other. Although King Lear wanted to ensure that the kingdom was peaceful by sharing his possessions with the daughters, Shakespeare uses the theme of betrayal to demonstrate conflict in the royal family.
The theme of betrayal is prevalent in the play as it chronicles the manners of the children who profess their love for their fathers. This is contrary to their true feelings since they do not show the love they possess for their fathers. King Lear assumed that Cordelia was the best daughter that truly loved him, but could not express her feelings through spoken descriptions. She tells her father, "I love your Majesty / According to my bond, neither more nor les” (1. 1. 94-95). This exposes the evil habits in both domestic and political jurisdictions as brothers deceive brothers and children betray fathers. For instance, Goneril and Regan’s betrayal of their father enables them to ascend to power while in Britain where Edmund also joins them after deceiving Edgar and Gloucester (Shakespeare and Alan 301). This act of betrayal is a manifestation of greed and selfishness in Lear’s kingdom where each person strives to emerge victorious. As a result, the betrayers inevitably attack each other through jealous intentions, which eventually cause mutual destruction. This implies that betrayal is reinforced through a set of values as the characters deceive each other for their personal benefits.
The major cause of betrayal and deception is the family medium expressed through the assumption of trust and loyalty between the characters. King Lear and Gloucester faced betrayals from their respective favourite children because of the trust they had on them. For instance, Gloucetser trusted his son Edmund while Lear trusted Cordelia before they discovered the underlining secrets of betrayals (Lennard 23). Gloucetser discovered that Edmund was planning to kill him in order to inherit the throne. This is because Edmund forged a letter claiming that his younger brother was the one planning to kill him. In contrast, the fathers also betrayed their children, but this was unintentional since they could not notice the offenses. Alternatively, Cordelia also lied to his father appealing that she was the best among the other children. This is an indication that the children were not innocent despite facing betrayals from their...

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