Shakespeare's King Lear - Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear

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The Characters of Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear  

Nothing makes a story like a good villain, or in this case, good villainess. They are the people we love to hate and yearn to watch burn. Goneril, of Shakespeare’s King Lear, is no exception. Her evils flamed from the very beginning of the play with her lack of sincerity in professing her love for her father:

"Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour; As much as child e'er loved, or father found; A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you. (I.i. 56-62)

One can just feel the
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I think the time I would say I felt "sympathy" for her was when she killed herself because she saw the person she had become, in a matter of speaking. This shed some light in that we must come face to face with the question of if she regretted her actions, and SOMEWHERE deep down inside, her icy heart was beginning to thaw. To some degree, I find her a tragic character in this regard. Could she have redeemed herself if she had lived? Did she really deserve to die?



Cordelia is the epitome of goodness in Shakespeare’s King Lear.  "What shall Cordelia speak?/ Love, and be silent" (I.i.63-64). These words echo a reminiscent time when loyalty to the king and one's father was paramount. King Lear, Cordelia's father, planned on dividing his land among his three daughters, but for a price, the price of their love. While her sisters exaggerated their love for their father to win the "prize," Cordelia stayed true to herself and her loyalty to Lear by not making a mockery out of her feelings for him and playing it cool. She was also not characterized by her openness of her feelings. She was a quiet girl who kept emotions locked inside. Even so, Lear got angry at her response and disowned her. Why such a brutal attack on his daughter? Cordelia is known to be Lear's favorite and he had hoped that he could give her the largest piece of land so he could reside on it with her, but the plan failed. Overall, the King's decision lead him and his
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