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Analysis Of Lear And His Daughters

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To start, the readers are introduced to the King’s daughters: Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. Goneril and Regan are asked to express their love to their father and do so without hesitation, going off into their own monologues about their great and noble father. The eldest daughters in this scene act as the ideal women of the time: submissive and willing to flatter a man at his request. Lear’s daughters follow the system of “man knows best”, rather than going against the rules of their roles as wives and daughters. Were any of the words they offered honest affection, though? While the King was pleased to hear their praise and rewards them for it, he never tries to decipher the validity of their words. Here is where the shift occurs within the…show more content…
Charles Hanly, author of “Lear and his Daughters”, defends Goneril and Regan by revealing how, “Goneril and Regan have been placed in a situation of severe humiliation by their father...in the knowledge that they must lose to his favourite Cordelia” and how their deceit could stem from “their own chilling realization that nothing they can do or say could win for them an equal place in their father’s heart” (Hanly 214). With this in mind, while it may not look as if Goneril and Regan were at their father’s mercy, they truly were. Having a sister who is chosen as the favourite over and over, with no chance of becoming the favourite themselves must have been crushing to each of them. This could be the reason behind why they gave up, and decided to follow along with their father’s wishes before turning the tables on him. As the indirect cause of his daughter’s becoming power hungry women, Lear is at some fault for their deaths at the end of the play. Had Lear given all of his daughters an even ground to walk on, then perhaps they would not have been so spiteful towards him and…show more content…
This act is awfully brave, as Cordelia is made out to be the daughter who knows Lear the most. This means she knew his reaction would be one of anger and harshness, yet still refused to change her answer to one similar to her two sisters. As Lear prompts her to say something, Cordelia politely refuses. She says that while he is her father, it is impossible for him to be the only one she loves. Cordelia’s defiance and refusal to give her father what he wants creates tension and disrupts the overall order of things. When going into detail about her reasoning behind her choice, she makes the relationship between her and her father sound like equal trade rather than a loving tie. Cordelia’s phrasing could be one of two things: her lack of “eloquent rhetoric” making her statement sound harsher than intended, or her honest to God feelings on the matter. Cordelia, as if rubbing salt in Lear’s wounds, also brings up how her husbands would share half of her love once she married. Having had enough, Lear banishes his own daughter and gives her away to the King of France. His eyes only see betrayal from his favourite daughter, and therefore he does not see the pure meaning behind his loving daughter’s
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