King Lear responds to Cordelia in an insane rage by saying to her: “Here I disclaim all my paternal care, / propinquity, and property of blood, / and as a stranger to my heart and me / hold thee from this forever” (King Lear 1.1.113-116). King Lear responds to his favorite daughter by telling her that he no longer views her as his own flesh and blood, that he views her as a stranger from now on and disowns her. Such an egregious response to truth about love can be nothing but insanity. The king’s response is completely disproportionate to the cause. Lear could have responded with a bit of compassion and asked Cordelia to explain and expand upon her statement, but he did not. King Lear could have taken a moment or two to ponder his daughters’ responses and decide the validity of each response, but he does not. King Lear seems to be looking for the sweet flowery speeches and ego inflating words from his children and when he does not receive these from his favorite child, he responds most unpleasantly and out of
Dividing the Kingdom is not the only indication that order is disrupted. The separation of Lear's family also provide evidence that disorder is inevitable. The banishment of Cordelia and Kent is a harsh act carried out by Lear while blinded by anger. By banishing the only daughter who truly loves him, and a loyal servant who refuses to stand around and do nothing while Lear makes a big mistake, Lear surrounds himself with people who only loved him for his money and power. As Lear's family breaks apart, one must wonder if Lear is capable of ruling a country when he cannot even keep his family together. Again, Lear's desire to fuel his ego is the cause of the separation of his family. When Cordelia refuses to speak lovingly, &quot;Unhappy that I am. I cannot heave My heart into my mouth.&quot; (I,i,92-94), Lear becomes angered and banishes her. As an act of loyalty, Kent stands up
King Lear an imprudent, old man symbolizes selfishness like no other. What is most daunting is the fact that he is adamantly loyal to appearances and ranking in life. He carries a title which most can not even dream of attaining, but wants to give up the position and all the responsibilities that follow it. “ Know that we have divided/ In three our kingdom, and `tis our fast intent/ To shake all cares and business from our age” (1.1.37-39). It is quite understandable if he just wanted to end his reign as king, but it’s another thing when he also wants to bask in the glory of the title and be treated like he still owns it. This egotistical attitude of his is more annoying than anything else, for he brought forth all his problems upon himself, and also unto others. His most arrogant moment is at the very beginning of the play, when he demands his daughters to profess their love for him openly, “which of you shall we say doth love us most?” (1.1.53). The use of his words in this quote is disgusting, it exudes pride, self-importance, and flattery. It’s because of these very words, that Cordelia denied him his right to the, all so selfish public display of love. Although Lear made costly mistakes throughout the play, his love to Cordelia rang
Our fear and pity for Lear are both intensified and relieved. His disturbed conscious is magnified when he is mad, and the reality and his awareness is further denied by those sensible such as Edgar, Kent, ironically the Fool, and Albany. Although Scene 6 is written with intention to galvanize our fear and pity by presenting to us both Gloucester and Lear wretched circumstances, it also relieves both our understandings and our sentiment. Nevertheless, this tragic “relief” quickly turns into deceit. We learn of an old man seeking awareness in suffering to discover the subplot of another old man betrayed
Immediately after King Lear awakens, he sees his daughter Cordelia next to him and exclaims “Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound/Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears/Do scald like molten lead.” (4.7.46-48) King Lear feels a great shame and cannot face Cordelia after becoming aware of how much he has wronged her. Moreover King Lear’s wisdom allowed him to have a realization of the nature of his daughters as he expresses to Cordelia that “for your sisters/Have as I do remember, done me wrong:/You have some cause, they have not” (4.7.73-74). King Lear now recognizes that Cordelia is the one who truly loves him. King Lear is also in a state of humility as he accepts his status as simply Cordelia’s father by referring to himself in the first person instead of with the royal “we”. In his humility, King Lear also realizes how much he was wronged Cordelia and tells her that he will “kneel down/And ask of thee forgiveness” (5.3.10-11). Although King Lear acquires wisdom, he must now bear the burden of his past actions; he admits that he is “a very foolish fond old man” (4.7.60). He now understands that not only did his arrogance bring suffering to himself, he brought suffering onto others. When Cordelia dies, King Lear can no longer accept the grave consequences of his past foolishness and his heart ceases to beat. Unfortunately, King Lear’s wisdom arrived at a time where it was too late for him
At the beginning of the play King Lear has more power than anyone else, the feeling of power made him think it was okay to ask his three daughters who loved him the most. When his youngest and favourite daughter Cordelia did not give him the answer he wanted by saying, “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave / My heart into my mouth/ I love your majesty / According to my bond, no more nor less” (King Lear 1.1.91-93). he started lashing out. Lear clearly values Goneril and Regan fawning over him over Cordelia’s sincere honesty. Out of pride and anger, Lear banishes Cordelia, as well as Kent for defending her. Lear splits the kingdom in half to Goneril and Regan which leads to the deaths of many people in the play. Throughout the play he becomes increasingly shocked when people do not obey him the way they did before and the lack of respect he receives. With his loss of power Lear often responds to these problems with anger saying things like “My curses on her!” (2.4.138). about his own daughter. By the end of the play he recognizes that he takes responsibility for both his own problems and for those of others. King Lear’s actions were the first step to the plays tragic outcome.
King Lear meets all the requirements of a tragedy as defined by Andrew Cecil Bradley. Bradley states that a Shakespearean tragedy has to be the story of the hero and there is exceptional suffering and calamity slowly being worn in. Also, the current time must be contrasted to happier times. The play also depicts the troubled parts in the hero’s life and eventually he dies instantaneously because of the suffering and calamity. There is the feeling of fear in the play as well, that makes men see how blind they are not knowing when fortune or something else would be on them. The hero must be of a high status on the chain and the hero must also possess a tragic flaw that initiates the tragedy.
Of the deaths in Shakespeare’s King Lear, the death of Cordelia and King Lear at the end of Act V are most significant in revealing the development of Lear and how his development contributes to the theme surrounding it. The dynamic King Lear is a tragic hero whose fatal flaw, arrogance, prompts his removal from power and eventually the death of both himself and Cordelia. However, by the time of King Lear’s death, his arrogance has been replaced with a compassion which allows him to mourn the death of Cordelia and die from his own grief. Besides redeeming himself for his flawed judgement, the compassionate King Lear of Act V recognizes the loyalty in characters like Kent and Cordelia, while also seeing through the dishonesty of Regan and Goneril which fools the King Lear of Act I. King Lear’s transition from disowning Cordelia because of his arrogance to recognizing her as his only faithful daughter is demonstrated through Lear’s death, which serves as the culmination of his development and a reversal of his character. Furthermore, his death elaborates the theme of how someone’s arrogance may blind them from the reality of others’ intentions, which can be seen through a more compassionate and humble lens.
In King Lear, the characters deceive one another constantly. Most of them deliberately misrepresent themselves, but others are naturally difficult to understand. Some are trying to gain power while others are protecting themselves. There is an extreme contrast between reality and what each character appears to be to the other characters. This quality about the characters fuels the plot, bringing it to its ultimate end.
8 p.141-158, Ivor Morris takes a somewhat similar, but mostly different approach to the attribution of the fault of sending the kingdom into such a chaotic state. He opens the article by saying that “whatever view is taken of King Lear, the responsibility of its tragic events must rest in the main upon Lear himself.” Lear has acted foolishly in banishing the one daughter in whom he would have been able to put his full trust. In fact, Lear seems to be the only person who is oblivious to the mistake he has just made. Lear’s reaction however, is also partially Cordelia’s fault because she did not react properly to her father’s but also her king’s request, thus provoking him. Morris discusses the possible reasons for such a response from a daughter who very clearly loved her father. One possibility is that she is simply not good with words and was unable to speak under pressure. However, it would be difficult to justify her defiant answer that she has “nothing” to say to improve her response. Second, Morris suggests that the magnitude of her love for Lear may have caused her to belittle it. Last, he suggests that it may come from “a passionate devotion to truth.” Morris still believes however that at least some of the blame should fall on Cordelia because there are greater things at stake than the preservation of truth, specifically the retirement of her father. Morris eventually says that he believes Cordelia’s
beginning of the play proves to be false. Lear discovers that his necessity to keep
King Lear's hot temper and hasty decisions play a significant role in his fall from grace. His old age has caused him to behave impulsively, without any consideration for the consequences of his actions. When Lear asks his devoted daughter Cordelia to express her love for him, he becomes upset with her because she cannot put her feelings into words. He
Cordelia’s disinheritance and banishment are frighteningly disproportionate to the “sin” she has committed in not flattering Lear. So too, is Kent’s treatment at his hands. This concept of disproportionate consequences for actions done, underlines how monstrous Lear’s arrogance is, as well as his petty tyranny and his lack of self-knowledge. However, the horrors Lear himself will have to suffer later in the play, as a result of his own folly, will also be out of all proportion to his initial blunder. Without Cordelia in the play, these actions would not have been sparked in Lear.
When Lear and Cordelia finally reunited near the end of the play, Lear expressed his sorrow for what he had done. "You must bear with me, I pray you now, forget and forgive:/ I am old an foolish." ( 4, 7. 82 ) But it was too late, Lear's rashness and inability to see clearly had already cost him, and Cordelia their lives.