King Lear Essay

1395 words - 6 pages

King LearKing Lear is a play written by William Shakespeare that focuses on the relationships of many characters, some good, some evil. This is a great tragedy that is full of injustice at the beginning and the restoring of justice towards the end. The good are misjudged as evil and the evil are accepted as good. It is not until the end of the play that the righteous people are recognized as such. There is great treachery and deceit involved in the hierarchy of English rule. The great mistake in this play was made by Lear when he decided to divide up his kingdom to his three daughters. In order to determine which share each should get, he had each of his daughters give testimonies of love for him. Cordelia, the youngest, refused to go overboard with her statement. When asked for her testimony, she simply replied, 'Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty according to my bond, no more no less.'(I,i, ln 91-93) Lear becomes enraged and casts her off saying, 'Here I disclaim all my paternal care, propinquity and property of blood, and as a stranger to my heart and me hold this from thee for ever.'(I,i, ln 113-116). Some think that Cordelia was prideful, or even a fool in her response, but I believe she was simply being honest and true.Another mistake that was made in the course of the play was by the Earl of Gloucester. After being tricked by his bastard son, Edmund, into believing that his other son, Edgar, was plotting to kill him, he put all his faith in Edmund, which would eventually lead to his demise. Besides believing that Cordelia was being true and honest to her father, I think that Lear and the Earl of Gloucester were fools, regarding the banishments of their righteous children.After reading this play, I found it hard to believe that Cordelia was being anything but true in her simple proclamation of love for her father. I can't believe that Shakespeare was trying to portray her as a spoiled, prideful child. I do not believe she was foolish in her decision to restrain from trying to persuade him into giving her a larger portion of his kingdom. I think it was apparent early that Cordelia was struggling with what she was going to say to her father. In her asides she says, 'What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent'(I,i, ln 62), and after Regan spoke, 'Then poor Cordelia; And yet not so, since I am sure my love's more ponderous than my tongue.'(I,i, ln 76-78). It is obvious that she loves her father, but she can't express it the way in which Lear wants her to. Because of this, she is disowned and sent away to France. The King even refers to her as, 'Unfriended, new adopted to our hate, dow'red with our curse, and strangered with our oath.'(I,i, ln 203-204). Cordelia's love for her father was shown further when she received the letters concerning Lear's mental state after being mistreated by his two other daughters. It was said that, 'now and then an ample tear trilled down her delicate cheek.'(IV,iii,...

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