William Shakespeare 's King Lear

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44) Those who are subjected to treachery by those, whom they love, if they are truly good, loyal, and loving, will remain true to their oppressors. This is why love and goodness always prevail, even if only by a small degree. In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the majority of characters are ruthless and without pity. They do everything for their own personal gain and not that of anyone else. What makes this play a tragedy however, is not only the selfishness of those characters, but the purity of those whom they abuse. Hence in the beginning of the play, truth is perceived as a disastrous quality, although in the end, is reverted as a virtue. In the play this virtue is depicted through three major characters. Cordelia is always honest which shows a great mark of her strength of character. Kent through defense for Cordelia shows great uprightness. Finally Albany deviates throughout the play and develops into a very truthful character. The interaction between Lear and his daughter, Cordelia, is one of the most tragic elements of the play. Upon Lear’s asking his daughters to profess their love for him, Cordelia is at a loss for words. It is evident that her love for Lear is great because she refuses to speak as to not say anything untrue. “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love your

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