Cordelia Is the Sole True Daughter of King Lear - Essay Example

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The essay "Cordelia Is the Sole True Daughter of King Lear" is aimed to analyze the behavior of King Lear's daughters in the play "King Lear" written by William Shakespeare. The main idea is that daughters who spoke loud words of love to their father, in real life shown their betrayal nature…
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Cordelia Is the Sole True Daughter of King Lear
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Download file to see previous pages Cordelia understood too well the sibling rivalry amongst her sisters Goneril and Reagan. She was inclined to believe that actions spoke louder than words so she did not enter into the competition on the war of words. We are privy to the thoughts of Cordelia as we read her despair at being thrown into the arena to compete for her father’s love and wealth. She becomes distraught:

[Aside] ‘Then poor Cordelia!

And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's

More richer than my tongue.’

Shakespeare had shown by comparison and contrast that if there was true love that Goneril had mentioned, one would be indeed rendered speechless. This was his way of implementing little tests of love and moral character that he was so fond of including in his plays. Reagan, being the second daughter, had little opinion of her own except to echo Goneril’s words.

When Lear questioned Cordelia, she gave a sensible reply; ‘“Nothing, my lord.”’ She could have meant that she had nothing more to say that would upstage Goneril’s and Reagan’s declarations of love. King Lear, being as pompous as he was, took it in the common way and wrongly deduced that she had nothing to love him about. He then proceeded to disown, banish and humiliate Cordelia in all manner of insults. The selfish sisters did not attempt to speak up on behalf of Cordelia. We see how they are in conspiracy against her. Only the Earl of Kent, one of the three faithful subjects, dared to speak up against the King’s severe sentence.
...
Reagan's declarations of love. King Lear, being as pompous as he was, took it in the

common way and wrongly deduced that she had nothing to love him about. He then

proceeded to disown, banish and humiliate Cordelia in all manner of insults. The selfish

sisters did not attempt to speak up on behalf of Cordelia. We see how they are in

conspiracy against her. Only the Earl of Kent, one of the three faithful subjects, dared to

speak up against the King's severe sentence. The literary scholar Zak was also of the

opinion that King Lear was foolish; 'Lear appears to play a peremptory, self-important,

willfully impatient part in a ludicrous series of comeuppances following his foolish

banishment of Cordelia and Kent; even more significant perhaps, at no point in the play's

evolution does he ever face a conspiracy of circumstances that forbid turning toward

Cordelia for forgiveness and relief.' (Zak 11). We read how Kent had agreed with

Cordelia and warned his king explicitly but King Lear stubbornly refused to revoke his

earlier condemnation but furthermore meted out the same punishment of banishment to

Kent.

The literary scholar, Holland, wrote that before we fault Cordelia for her stubborn

attitude against flattery, we should understand her background. Holland said that;

'Twentieth-century school editions show a return to criticism of Cordelia's 'misplaced

obstinacy', a 'defect not uncommon in women.' (Holland 115). He explained that

because Cordelia was educated, she developed her own opinions and refused to subjugate

herself or sell herself out. She stressed instead her bond of filial piety but the King, in

direct contradiction to her pleas, ignored the paternal bond and ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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