King Lear is a play written by William Shakespeare that focuses on the relationships of many characters, some good, and some evil. This is a great tragedy that is full of injustice at the beginning and the restoration 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. King Lear and Gloucester both make great mistakes by banishing their righteous children and trusting in treacherous characters.
Lear made the great mistake in this play when he decided to divide up his kingdom among his three daughters. In order to determine which share each should receive, he had each of his daughters give testimonies of love for him. Cordelia, the youngest, after listening to her sisters’ proclamations, 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 nor less"(I, i,91-93). Lear became enraged and cast 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,113-116).
In her simple proclamation of love for her father, Cordelia refrained from trying to persuade him to give her a portion of his kingdom. It was apparent early that Cordelia was struggling with what she was going to say to her father. In her asides she said, "What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent"(I,i,62), and after Regan spoke...
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.... However, justice seemed to be served somewhat at the end. I do believe that Cordelia was very good-natured and was the only "true" daughter of King Lear. In a play full of evil people, she was one of the few characters who was totally honest and loving. It is amazing that only through great hardships, such as Gloucester having his eyes plucked out, could he and Lear receive true insight.
Bradley, A.C. Lecture IX: Macbeth . Shakespearean Tragedies: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth . Macmllan & Co., 1904.
Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn: Studies of the Structure of Poetry. London: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947.
Curry, Walter. Shakespeare s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter Smith, 1968.
Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Eric A., McCann, ed. Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, Canada Inc., Canada. 1998
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