Loyalty and Betrayal in King Lear Essay Sample

August 6, 2017 General Studies

The subject of trueness and treachery in King Lear is rather dry ; when normally one who is cast out returns to seek retaliation. in Shakespeare’s chef-d’oeuvre. those who are cast out remain ferociously loyal ; whereas those who are treated good are those who turn their dorsum on their male parents. In both the secret plan affecting Lear and the subplot affecting Edmund. this phenomenon is observed.

In Act One. Scene One. Shakespeare juxtaposes Gonerill and Regan’s “large addresss … and words of love” with Cordelia’s response of “Nothing. ” Lear. in projecting Cordelia out. fails in his filial responsibility and thereby betrays his youngest girl. This is mirrored between Edgar and Gloucester. with Gloucester proclaiming decease upon his boy without first sing the perfidy at manus from Edgar. with this action besides neglecting in his function as a male parent. Gloucester proclaims “…treachery. and all catastrophic upsets. follow us disquietly to our Gravess. ” This foreshadows the hereafter treachery that will take topographic point between Lear and his household. Gloucester besides states that “Love cools. friendly relationship falls off. brothers divide. boy against male parent. and male parent against child” . ironically. Gloucester does non recognize that the boy he should be mentioning to is Edmund. However. Lear and Gloucester’s actions may be excused. due to dotage every bit good as their good purposes. yet both Edmund and Lear’s girls act wholly in selfish desire. For illustration. in Act Two. Scene Three. Regan’s line “what need one? ” strips Lear of all his former power. every bit good as stand foring the ultimate treachery by Lear’s girls. In the hut. Lear realizes his error. noticing “Hast 1000 given all to thy two girls? And art 1000 semen to this? ”

In contrast to the analogues between Lear’s girls and Edmund. Kent and Edgar represent. severally. the loyal sides of the struggle. The contrast between the satiny words of the treasonists. “…love you more than words can exert. ” and the plain-speaking of Kent. “What are you making. old adult male? ” fails to let Lear to recognize the emptiness of his daughter’s words. Throughout the drama. the loyal Kent and Edgar are mistreated. and both are forced to come in camouflage. However. while one can non state their trueness is rewarded. “the wheel is come full circle. ” harmonizing to Edmund. therefore stoping Kent and Edgar’s function at the underside of the wheel of luck.

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Loyalty. every bit good as its antithesis treachery. do up much of the secret plan of King Lear. Shakespeare uses this overarching subject to show that the loyal are rewarded and the unreliable. while they may bask impermanent successes. one time once more finish at the “bottom of the wheel. ” The tragic nature of the decision of the drama demonstrates that possibly honorable actions. uninfluenced by roseola pique produce the best consequences.


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