King Lear - Shakespeare "Loyalty Within King Lear".

Essay by lemon1303High School, 12th gradeA-, January 2004

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King Lear Essay


"Loyalty is a noble quality, so long as it is not blind and does not exclude the higher loyalty to truth and decency." Putting one's faith in something that is not real is worse than putting one's faith in nothing at all. Cloudy thinking and unreasonable thoughts lead to such a thing. This is shown throughout Shakespeare's King Lear. Characters question the loyalty of offspring with no evidence. Characters also are unreasonable in thoughts surrounding those true to them within the kingdom. As well, characters form an erroneous view of what love is, and that makes them unreasonably question loyalties. In Shakespeare's King Lear, when one is illogical in determining where loyalties lie, it leads to treachery and suffering, until one recognizes the error.

Devotion from one's offspring is wrongly judged. In parenting, it is difficult to do what is right and wrong all the time, poor decisions will always be made.

In the case of Gloucester, he chooses to favour his legitimate son, Edgar, over the illegitimate, Edmund. This is through no fault of Edmund's save birthright. That unfairness causes flaws in Edmund's character. After years of feeling inadequate, evil begins to manifest within him, or just misunderstanding. He feels the need to get even with his father and his brother for the easy life they have led. This caused him to come up with a ruse to convince Gloucester that Edgar was planning to kill Gloucester and claim his inheritance:

Seeing how loathly opposite I stood/To his unnatural purpose, in fell motion/My unprovided body, launched mind arm;/And when he saw my best alarumed spirits,/ Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,/Or whether gasted by the noise I made,/Full suddenly he fled./Let him fly far./Not in this land shall he remain...