Essay On Primogeniture In King Lear

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As the first scene unfolds illegitimacy is portrayed through Edmunds character during Kent and Gloucester’s conversation. Edmund is classified as the illegitimate child because he was conceived out of wedlock. Because of this, he is referenced to be the bastard child of Gloucester. In the following dialogue, the audience can piece together a sense of shame and mockery towards Edmund:
But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account. Through this knave came something saucily to the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be ackknowledg’d. Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund? (1.1.19-24).

Gloucester clearly expresses
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Primogeniture is a typical tradition practiced by which a father passes down his inheritance to the eldest child. Commonly most kings during this time would follow the tradition of primogeniture, but Lear takes a different approach. He decides to divide his land and inheritance among his daughters determined by a love test. He does this because of his favoritism towards his youngest daughter Cordelia hoping that she will get the largest amount of his wealth. Disastrously, Cordelia expresses that she loves her father as much as a daughter should. This angers King Lear leading him to banish his beloved daughter. As for Cordelia’s oldest sisters Goneril and Regan, they confess their unconditional love for their father receiving most of the land divided between the two. As for the role of kingship, Lear gives his throne to his son-in-laws. By doing so, the play unravels a potentially catastrophic result for …show more content…
At the beginning the reader sees Cordelia and Lear’s relationship starting off very well. Cordelia seems to fulfill the role of being the perfect daughter; honest, innocent and trustworthy, but her honesty about her love for her father ultimately ruins that. Most fathers would appreciate the honesty shown by Cordelia’s character but Lear disapproves and banishes her. She did not lie about her love, she simply stated the truth regarding her love being evenly dispersed between her father and future spouse. With Goneril and Regan, the reader establishes a sense of desperation and shellfish-ness between the two. Knowing that Cordelia is his favorite child, Goneril and Regan jump on the opportunity to seek revenge since her banishment. Due to the obscene events, the family’s sense of natural order is in an uproar. Goneril and Regan confess their unconditional love for their father but the question remains if it is truthful? It is believed the daughter’s loved their father at one point in time, but now the reader can link their emotions with their actions. Goneril and Regan only confess their love for their father to take advantage of his power. The relationship overall is not honest or loyal to Lear which he is blind to see. Cordelia on the other hand was honest. She never confessed not loving her father, just that it was fair between her father and future spouse. Goneril and Regan only satisfy their father in

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