The importance of Mother in King Lear
“O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!”
~Lear, from King Lear, 2.2
This line goes when Lear arrives at Gloucester’s house to look for his second daughter, Regan after he is expelled by Cornwall, his first daughter. In depth of his heart, Lear still holds the hope that Regan will be kind to her according to what she has said in the love test. He later finds that his messenger who carries the letter to Regan is in the stock, which he thinks is a humiliation to himself as he says “this shame”. Though Kent, the messenger, arrives at Regan’s place a little bit earlier than Cornwall’s post, Regan reads the letter from the latter first. To this point, Lear isn’t able to hold
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All he wants like other old men at his age is just the company of his children, which is the simplest thing in the world, but he chose to break the father-daughter relationship with Cordelia and now the other two abandon him. He feels loss and all the feelings just break out at the same time. He wants love and cries for that. At the beginning of the play, it seems that Cordelia is the most favorite daughters of Lear. Though he has decided which part of his kingdom belongs to which person, he still holds a love test to fulfill his pride since he thinks that Cordelia loves him the most and would say the most touching words to him. We can tell the voice and tone are different from the first and the second time. He expects Cordelia so much that when Cordelia didn’t meet his expectation, he abandons her. But Cordelia accepts him when Lear arrives her place. Lear can’t believe it, because he doesn’t think he deserve it. He even begs for Cordelia’s forgiveness: “Pray, do not mock me: I am a very foolish fond old me…”[?] just like a child who made little mistakes and wants to make up and then Cordelia is like a mother now. In conclusion, mother figures take turns show up in the play. Cordelia can be a daughter and a mother at the same time and Lear just suppresses his emotional part.
Kahn, Coppèlia. "The Absent Mother in King Lear". Rewriting the