Theme Of Female Characters In King Lear

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In Shakespeare 's play, “King Lear”, the female characters are potent and dominant figures just as their male counterparts, and sometimes even greater. The story begins in Britain where King Lear is deciding to give up his power and divide the kingdom amongst his three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. He is going to give the largest piece of his kingdom to the child who proclaims to love him the most. Goneril and Regan, insincere and corrupt, lie to their father with excessive and sappy declarations of affection. On the contrary, Cordelia refuses to play his “game” and replies blandly that she loves him as a daughter should love her father. Her passionless response, despite its sincerity, infuriates Lear to the point where he completely …show more content…
Well may you prosper. (I.I.289-291)

Cordelia knows for a fact that her sisters are not going to “prosper”. She also knows they are
“cunning” and that everything may possibly end in chaos. It sounds as if the lines she said contained sarcasm. Throughout the whole play, she remains silent instead of warning her father or sisters of what is to come of this. Because she is not talking, she can be seen as a strong-willed character who believes in justice and wants others punished for their wrongful behaviour towards her. Cordelia definitely is a positive role model and has her positive characteristics, but many fail people fail to point out the flaw of her not speaking up throughout the entire play.
Also Regan and Goneril appear to understand the Lear’s mind better than he does. This is evident in their plotting in the first act of the play when Goneril states:
The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
…show more content…
She sees his flaws, deep-rooted habits, and his impulsiveness.. She understands how him being elderly and his state of mental illness will make him more vulnerable to their evil plot. The two elder sisters can see right through Lear to the point where they know precisely how and when to exploit him for their own gain. By presenting the sisters as the driving force of the play, Shakespeare emphasizes the fact that these females do not need to be like the average, submissive, stereotypical, culturally defined women living in society during the Shakespearean time period.

Not only does Shakespeare emphasize how the women in the play are the ones with sight and knowledge, he also emphasizes how women are to be taken more seriously and their importance in society by forming the whole entire main plot around the them. The element of action in the play revolves around the female characters. Cordelia’s stubbornness is what started Lear’s madness, as she did not want to take part in his game. The two powerful and violent sisters, Regan and Goneril, bring in much chaos and dominance. In Act 1, Scene 4, Goneril demonstrates dominance over her father in the palace:
Men so disordered, so debauched and

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