William Shakespeare's Portrayal of Goneril, Lear, and the Fool in King Lear

988 Words4 Pages
William Shakespeare's Portrayal of Goneril, Lear, and the Fool in King Lear Goneril begins her speech with an insult towards her father, claiming that his nights and squires are acting like his Fool, it is evident in this passage that Goneril thinks her father is as silly as his Fool, as he is senile. She makes a snatch at him with her first lines ‘…but other of your insolent retinue’ Seeing what her father has become out of senility, she lashes out at him. It is interesting that Shakespeare may use these words to start Goneril’s speech, insolent to mean rude and audacious, Shakespeare uses this language to instil in the reader the manner in which Lear and his men now lead their lives. Shakespeare makes it clear that Goneril, now one half the monarchy of Britain may have ultimate power over her half of the country, she cannot but lecture her dear father. Goneril’s character is autocratic, cold and ambitious, she wants nothing more than to get hr father out of the way so that she and her sister Regan, can get on with running the country as they see fit. The Fools role throughout the play is partly the commentator, Lear’s closest friend, and his voice of consciousness. But in this passage, the Fool is criticising Lear, saying that he is risking himself by living with his two daughters, his speech where he compares the situation to that of a bird feeding its young for too long, saying ‘…had its head bit off by its young’, the description shows what Lear’s consciousness (the Fool), knows will happen if this relationship persists, but Lear is oblivious to this. The Fool comments on how the relationship with his daughters will get p... ... middle of paper ... ...hat he was capable of when he was in power, i.e. banishing Cordelia and France, leading the audience to believe, that with his new attitude towards life, he may incorporate this into his method of running the country. The audience is more likely to feel for Cordelia, granted she and Regan plan evil things towards their father, but, in this instance Cordelia has done nothing but speak her mind and letting her father know the errors of his ways, but the audience already know what the king does to people, even his own daughter, if they speak their mind to him in an odious manner, so the audience would be feeling compassion for Cordelia at that moment. Also apart from fearing possibly her life, the audience would be sympathising with her at the fact that she has lost her father; he disowns her leaving her without a father.
Open Document