William Shakespeare is a renowned poet, playwright and actor. Many believe that he was the most

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William Shakespeare is a renowned poet, playwright and actor. Many believe that he was the most zealous writer in the English language and also the most significant playwright in history. Shakespeare wrote his plays for an assorted audience, he manipulated complex and universal themes such as patriarchy and gender roles while placing emphasis on women’s quest for power, equality, happiness and identity. Shakespeare embarked on issues that everyone could relate to, hence, his stylistic techniques appeal to an extensive audience. Shakespeare wrote for an “audience encompassing almost an entire social spectrum of his time- from the monarch to the working class citizens who could occasionally just afford a penny to see the play” (Anderson…show more content…
in Singh 33). Shakespeare’s plays consistently reflect the social norms of the Elizabethan era; we witness the banishment of Cordelia in King Lear when she refuses to soothe her father’s ego by perpetuating over exaggerated compliments to gain her father’s love and fortune. The play opens up with an atmosphere of male and paternal dominance where the females or daughters are expected to conform to the gender role expectation and submit to male authority. In response to King Lear’s question of who loves him most, Cordelia replies; “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave/My heart into my mouth: I love your Majesty/According to my bond; no more no less” (1.1.90-93). By refusing to add to her sisters fabricated lies of love and respect for her father, she is shunned for deflating herself from adapting the prescribed female gender role of doing and saying anything to please the masculine gender. Cordelia’s refusal to compliment can be seen as an act of resistance against Lear’s preconceived notion of love. Cordelia’s lack of words when describing her love for her father, hints at the silence that women during Shakespeare era were subjected to in terms of expressing displeasure. King Lear then vents his disapproval by stating;
Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my
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