"King Lear" by William Shakespeare Act one

Essay by joelgeorgia April 2004

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In the first act of King Lear by William Shakespeare, there are many themes throughout. One of the biggest themes is love, but there are two different types of love. Cordelia truly loved her father, but her sisters had a false love. It is very ironic that the daughters that lied about how much they loved their father received more land then the daughter who told the truth about her love for him.

Lear's oldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, are almost the same person. They are both ruthless liars. Goneril is very aggressive, and is very controlling towards her husband, the Duke of Cornwall. That shows that she doesn't have love or respect for her husband. When Lear was dividing his land, he asked each daughter to confess her love to him. Both Goneril and Regan proclaimed how much they truly loved their father, but the reader can tell that they were lying.

"Love is not love when it is mingled with regards that stand aloof from the entire point" (1.1).

Cordelia loves her father as much as any daughter should. She also brings up a good point, "Why have my sisters husbands if they say they love you all"(1.1). Cordelia is the daughter who truthfully told her father how much she loved him. "You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I return those duties back as are right fit, obey you, love you, and most honour you" (1.1). This how a daughter should love her father, not love him so much that he is the only person she loves. Cordelia made the mistake of telling her father this, because he took away all of her land and then banished her.

In conclusion, the king is somewhat blind to which daughter truly loves him, and the daughters who are...