Essay on William Shakespeare 's King Lear

1056 Words Nov 25th, 2014 5 Pages
One theme that is consistent in all of Shakespeare’s plays is that of family dynamics. King Lear is a tragedy that accounts for the loyalties and betrayals between multiple characters within a single family. The relationship between Lear and his three daughters, as well as the daughter’s relationships to each other are analyzed. In King Lear the responsibilities of parent to child, child to parent, and sister to sister are scrutinized. Shakespeare’s play questions the obligations and duties that family members hold for each other. Familial bonds are tangible ideas that modern day readers would have experience with and gravitate toward. Contemporary audiences would be able to identify with the trials of familial responsibilities that Shakespeare portrays.
From the opening lines of the play readers realize that Lear esteems Cordelia more than he does her sisters. Lear introduces Cordelia as his, “joy” (1.1.80) and even the older sisters know she is dearer to their father stating, “He always loved our/ sister most” (1.1.290-291). Cordelia also loves her father more than either of her older sisters. When asked to describe her feelings toward her father Cordelia thinks, “my love’s/ more ponderous than my tongue” (1.1.77-78). However, because Cordelia loves her father she refuses to pander to his silly competition for love, land, and loyalty; instead she leaves him with “nothing.”
In response to Cordelia’s refusal, Lear abandons “all [of his] paternal care, / propinquity, and…

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