Essay PreviewMore ↓
Two powerful characters in the play, aging King Lear and the gullible Earl of Gloucester, both betrayed their children unintentionally. Firstly, characters are betrayed due to family assumption. Lear banished his youngest daughter Cordelia because he over estimated how much she loved him. When questioned by her father, she responds with, "I love your Majesty / According to my bond, no more nor less." (I,i, 94-95) Lear assumed that since Cordelia was his daughter, she had to love him in a certain way, but he took this new knowledge and banished her without further thought. Secondly, characters were betrayed because of class. Edmund, the first-born son in the Gloucester family, should have been his father's next of kin. He would have been able to take over the position of Earl upon his father's death if he did not hold the title of a legitimate bastard. In his first soliloquy he says, "Why Bastard? Wherefore base? / When my dimensions are as well compact/ my mind as generous, and my shape as true " (I,ii, 6-8) Edmund believes he is at least equal, if not more, to his father in body and in mind, but the title that his father regrettably gave to him still lingers. Lastly, characters were betrayed because of family trust. Gloucester trusted his son Edmund when he was told that his other son was trying to kill him. Upon reading the forged letter written by Edmund, he responded with, "O villain, villain! His very opinion in the letter! Go, sirrah, seek him." (I,ii,75-77) Gloucester inadvertently betrayed Edgar because he held so much trust in his one son that he was easily persuaded to lose all trust in his other one. These blind characters were unfortunately betrayed there children, but they did it unintentionally and will eventually see there wrong doings.
How to Cite this Page
"King Lear - Family: A Medium For A Betrayal." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Mar 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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.... [tags: William Shakespeare, tragedy, betrayal]
992 words (2.8 pages)
- Shakespeare’s stylistic devices convey not only a feeling of dejected despondency and suffocating anguish, but also tempestuous petulance and melancholic despair to illustrate the consequences of a lack of self-awareness and the painful process of enlightenment which follows. In addition, the breaking of the filial bond provides this necessary hardship for Lear which elicits both a feeling of pity for his state of affairs and retribution for the vanity which previously consumed him. However, these feelings eventually morph into a sense of resolution as Lear gains understanding of his past mistakes and displays an unwavering resolve as a result.... [tags: William Shakespeare, imagery, tragedy]
1149 words (3.3 pages)
- King Lear's Transition in Shakespeare's Play, King Lear In the play King Lear, by William Shakespeare, the main character, Lear, takes the audience through his journey toward his enlightenment. At the beginning of the play Lear appears to be an arrogant man who is too much of the flesh. He associates money and power with love and respect. Thus, when Lear has given all this material possessions to his daughters, Goneril and Regan, he begins his long journey of self discovery. Through an analysis of two passages, one can see the transition of Lear from a man blinded by the flesh to a caring and compassionate madman that sees the truth.... [tags: King Lear Essays]
1079 words (3.1 pages)
- The Redemption of King Lear It is said that no other playwright illustrates the human condition like William Shakespeare. Furthermore, it is said that no other play illustrates the human condition like King Lear. The story of a bad king who becomes a good man is truly one of the deepest analyses of humanity in literary history; and it can be best seen through the evolution of Lear himself. In essence, King Lear goes through hell in order to compensate for his sins. Lear's relationship with his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, is, from the beginning, very uncharacteristic of the typical father-daughter relationship.... [tags: King Lear essays]
740 words (2.1 pages)
- The Use of Letters in King Lear William Shakespeare used letters as a dramatic device to reveal the characters' loyalty and betrayal in his play King Lear. The purpose of the letter is to develop the plot and reveal the characters' attributes. Three letters help to develop the plot and reveal the characters of Edmund, Gloucester, Goneril and Albany. The first letter that appeared on the stage is Edmund's false letter. The letter talked about Edgar's plan to kill to his father, Gloucester.... [tags: King Lear essays]
464 words (1.3 pages)
- Nothing is Something in King Lear In The Critical Experience, David Cowles tries to explain the theory of deconstruction to befuddled literature students in a boiled-down version of basic tenets that discuss impossibly cloudy concepts like destabilized centers and traces and referents. Though I try to wrap my brain around these ideas, I inevitably fail to get to the heart of what Cowles means. My own interpretive inadequacy feeds on irony, because deconstruction theory itself warns that we cannot "get" to the transcendental center of meaning.... [tags: King Lear essays]
1183 words (3.4 pages)
- An Overview of King Lear I chose King Lear as the classic tragedy to analyze. Famous for its difficult plot and its intriguing themes of family, loyalty, madness, and community, it is rich with ideas to pursue. Arrogant, powerful, and sure of himself, Lear decides to retire and pits his three daughters against one another for the choicest pieces of his realm: they must outdo one another in professing their love for him. Two sneaky daughters (Regan and Goneril) compete as directed, and the third, Cordelia, states simply that she loves him according to her bond, no more nor less (I.1.97-99).... [tags: King Lear Essays]
894 words (2.6 pages)
- Imagery in King Lear In the immense amount of writing that William Shakespeare had done in his career as a playwright and or writer in general there are bound to be some consistencies and reoccurring themes that make his writing so popular and interesting. In many cases it is hard to tell whether the thematic structure that many writers follow is intentional or not, but it is possible that there is a reasoning for a specific kind of imagery that a writer likes to outline his/her writing after.... [tags: King Lear essays]
776 words (2.2 pages)
- Effective Foreshadowing in King Lear The first scene of a play usually sets up the basic themes and situations that the remainder will work with. In Shakespeare’s play King Lear, the very first scene presents many of the play's basic themes and images. The recurrent imagery of human senses and of "nothing," the distortion of familial and social ties, the gradual dissolution of Lear's kingship, all make their first appearances in the first lines of Shakespeare's play. Much of the imagery in King Lear's first scene presages what is to come in the play.... [tags: King Lear essays]
1138 words (3.3 pages)
- King Lear King Lear of Britain has decided to abdicate his throne. In order to bestow his kingdom between his three daughters; Goneril, Regan and Cordelia he calls them together. His intentions are to split the kingdom between them based on each’s expression of love for him. The two older daughters sweetly talk their way in their father’s heart for sizable kingdoms. Cordelia however, the youngest and Lear’s favorite, sees the sinister motivations of her sisters and tells her father of her deep true feelings.... [tags: King Lear]
396 words (1.1 pages)
Although being betrayed, the children of the powerful characters in the play were not all that innocent. Some were in turn betraying their parents concurrently. This was caused again by family assumptions and family trust, as well as family intimidation. Firstly, characters are betrayed because of the assumptions made about their children. King Lear is betrayed by his two older daughters Goneril and Regan. They both wanted more land, so they embellished their love towards him. Goneril said, "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter " (I,i,56) Lear assumed this to be true because they were his children, and children are meant to love their father. Secondly, the older characters are betrayed by their children because of family trust. Edmund deceived Gloucester by stabbing himself while framing his brother. He tells his father, "Here stood he in the dark, his sharp sword out, / Mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon." (II,i,37-38) Edmund betrayed his father by convincing him that his son was out to get him. Lastly, characters were betrayed due to their belief in a label given to them. Goneril and Regan repeatedly reminded Lear that he was old and foolish, which in turn caused him to believe it more. Regan said, " O, sir, you are old!" (II,iv,145) They used this to convince Lear that they were right and he was wrong and slowly restricted his power. Because of their greed for power, riches, and land, the these children intentionally betrayed their parents, causing them to make unwise decisions.
Towards the end of the play, the wise and kind hearted characters are forgiven for their acts of betrayal, but the greedy and foolish are not. The older characters are forgiven by their children. Edgar, upon learning of his father's literal blindness, sees the figurative blindness he once had, and forgives him. Before leading his eyeless father to Dover, he says, "Bless thy sweet eyes, they / bleed." (IV,I, 55-56) Edgar still loves his father, and unknowingly to him, forgives this old blind man. Secondly, the good characters are forgiven by their parents. Cordelia, who at one time was banished since she didn't have enough love for her father, is forgiven by Lear once he is able to see the truth. After Lear's insanity climbs to the highest point, he says to Cordelia, "
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me, for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not." (V,iii,72-75)
Lear sees that Cordelia was actually the one who loved him the most, and not just his power. Finally, the greedy characters are not forgiven for their betrayals. Lear at no point forgives his daughters Regan and Goneril for their crimes. In fact, he doesn't even care when they die like he does for Cordelia. When his youngest daughter is killed, he says, "I might have saved her; now she's gone for ever! / Cordelia, Cordelia! Stay a little." (V,iii,270-271) He felt no remorse for his other two daughters, who died just as painfully as Cordelia did. The characters that become wise are eventually forgiven by the ones they once betrayed but the power driven ones are not, mostly due to the lack of growth in the person.
Deception, working both ways, takes place in the parent-child relationships in this tragedy. The closeness of the characters is a strong catalyst that brought on the strong theme of betrayal. Parents are influenced very easily by there children partially because of the initial trust that exists because they are family, but also because they see a bit of themselves in the child.
King Lear Essay, Family: A Medium for a Betrayal
March 16, 2006
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of King Lear . 2nd ed. Toronto: Harcourt
LeCarre, J. Introduction quotation.