King Lear

Essay by isungUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, June 2007

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King Lear is a tragedy that uses family angst, greed and pride, wrapped up with regrets. During the play, many different values are seen, from loyalty to betrayal, platonic love to obsession. Two of the characters embodied these characteristics very well and are going to be further discussed later on in this paper by first giving a summary of the character and then its distinguishing characteristics. They are Cordelia, Lear’s youngest daughter, and Gonerill, Lear’s oldest daughter and wife to the Duke of Albany.

Going with our first character, Cordelia, we know facts such as her being the youngest of the family, the stereotypical adored little girl. And at the same time she was also the one that held the most love for her father. Loyal, loving and firm in her beliefs were some of the traits that she may be defined by, but there is also courageous warrior.

It did not matter to her that her father had once betrayed her; she still loved her and did her best to help him. She lead armies against his enemies and even died for him.

On the other end of the spectrum we encounter Gonerill, oldest daughter and rightful heir, proud and selfish. Her greed was big, but more so was her obsession for an ambitious man, Edmund (Gloucester’s illegitimate son). This forbidden love that was shared with her sister and eventually caused both of their deaths.

Siblings they may be, but their values and goals are very different. They give a picture of the reality of the time, a reality that still applies today even if it is seen in a different context. The love for power and the ambition for land were powerful drivers for betrayal and war.

ReferencesLusardi, James P. & Schlueter, June. (2007). Reading Shakespeare...