The first words that Goneril speaks are totally empty and are the complete opposite of what she really feels. She says, "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty;" (I.i.54-55) The reason why there are no words to express her love for her father is that she has no love for him and it does not exist. The same goes for her sister, Regan, who is plotting against her father as well. She says that she feels the same way as her sister and expresses how Goneril has named her very deed of love. Regan adds a little twist to this and professes that she loves Lear more than her sisters and that Goneril's affection for her father "comes too short."
We immediately get the notion that Lear is attention loving and that he loves flattery. As the scene develops we also discover that he knows almost nothing about his daughters, as he couldn?t recognize their falseness. As long as his eldest daughters flattered him, he was happy. He doesn?t even recognize honesty, as he scolds Cordelia for being true when she told him ?I love your majesty according to my bond, no more nor less?. Lear shows poor judgment when he banishes his favorite daughter and leaves her without a dowry.
The scene opens with Gloucester and Kent discussing Lear's plan to retire and partition his kingdom amongst his daughters. The king's public drama of the love test denotes the insecurity and fear of an old man who requires reassurance of his importance, blindly accepting his elder daughters' seditious falsehoods. As opposed to a genuine assessment of his daughters' love for him, the test seems to invite, rather demand, flattery. Goneril and Regan's professions of love are banal and insecure, 'I love you more than word can wield the matter,' however Lear unreservedly welcomes these trite remarks. Regan echoes her sister by saying, 'I find she names my very deed of love; only she comes too short.'
Lear suffers through his madness to realize who can bring him true happiness. Self-awareness is difficult to develop within a person. The play King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare that develops multiple characters throughout the play with downfalls and valuable lessons learned. Lear obtains a lack of self-awareness; due to this Lear makes many selfish mistakes. From a lack of self-awareness Lear becomes “mad” because he is unable to cope with all of his faults.
Act I, scenes i–ii Summary: Act I, scene i Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. -Cordelia speaks these words when she address her father, King Lear, who has demanded that his daughters tell him how much they love him before he divides his kingdom among them (I.i.90–92). In contrast to the empty flattery of Goneril and Regan, Cordelia offers her father a truthful evaluation of her love for him: she loves him “according to my bond”; that is, she understands and accepts without question her duty to love him as a father and king. Although Cordelia loves Lear better than her sisters do, she is unable to “heave” her heart into her mouth, as her integrity prevents her from making a false declaration in order to gain his wealth. Lear’s rage at what he perceives to be her lack of affection sets the tragedy in motion.
He gives away his kingdom in relation to his daughters ability to flatter him and articulate their love. King Lear’s stubbornness and oversized ego is blind to the error he makes in rewarding something as immeasurable love in this competitive environment. Cordelia is the only one who sees the ridiculousness of such a task and unlike her sisters does not fully participate in the competition for her father's inheritance. She describes her love for her father honestly, as important but not consuming of her entire being as her sisters do. Her father sees this as direct and personal insult and banishes her as well as taking her dowry.
Lear's relationship with his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, is, from the beginning, very uncharacteristic of the typical father-daughter relationship. It's clear that the king is more interested in words than true feelings, as he begins by asking which of his daughters loves him most. Goneril and Regan's answers are descriptive and sound somewhat phony, but Lear is flattered by them. Cordelia's response of nothing is honest; but her father misunderstands the plea and banishes her. Lear's basic flaw at the beginning of the play is that he values appearances above reality.
The focus in this scene is to show that Lear has so much pride that it made him blind to Cordellia’s love and the reason to why he loved. His pride made him think that flattery is love thus he gave everything to Goneril and Regan. This was his biggest mistake, leaving him completely dependent upon his two hateful daughters. He kicked Cordellia out so there is no hope of him being helped now. Imagery: blindfolded & candle on Props: red cloth, lots of chairs, map, crown of jewels.
When Goneril professes her "love" for her father, it is ironic that she says she loves him more than eyesight itself, because Lear is "blind" to the fact that he is being set up by her and her sister, Regan. In act 3, scene 6, Gloucester is literally blinded when Cornwall digs out both of his eyes. Although Lear isn't physically blind, he is unable to see which of his daughters really love him. Lear chooses not to acknowledge the fact that Cordelia really does love him. As the reader, we know that Cordelia truly does love her father.
Both Regan and Goneril flatter King Lear, telling him what he wants to hear. On the other hand, Cordelia responds honestly, first expressing that she can say "nothing" in response to the question (1.1.92). When Lear presses her further, she explains, "You have begot me, bred me, loved me;" and vows to "return those duties back as are right fit" but that someday she will get married and will not possess the ability to give her father all her love (1.1.102-103). King Lear makes his first error here; he bases his decision on the superficial aspect of his daughters' words. He favors Regan and Goneril because their words sound nice to the ear.