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King Lear Presentation

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Monic Moore

on 7 October 2012

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Transcript of King Lear Presentation

The critical motif of loyalty and betrayal is repeated throughout the brutal play. King Lear is betrayed by the daughters he initially trusted, and shuns the only daughter that is truly loyal to him. Likewise, Gloucester experiences the same situation with his two sons. Monic Moore King Lear Presentation From the very beginning, King Lear's two wicked daughters Goneril and Regan use flattery to manipulate him. They both claim that they love him more than anyone could love a father. Goneril states that she loves him "As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found;/ A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable./ Beyond all manner of so much I love you." (1.1.59-61) Regan follows with " I find she names my very deed of love;/ Only she comes too short..." (1.1.72-73) When he gives them their share of the kingdom however, they treat him with disdain. They purposely are disrespectful towards him and try to remove what little power he has left by seizing him of his hundred knights (his last symbol of status). The king cannot believe they would betray him. Eventually, he is driven to madness by both his cruel daughters and his own betrayal of Cordelia, the only daughter that truly loves him. Exploring The Motif of Loyalty and Betrayal Examples of Betrayal King Lear's Betrayal From the beginning of the play, Gloucester's illegitimate son Edmund plots to dispose of him and his legitimate son, Edgar in order to inherent his father's wealth and power. Edmund forges a letter from Edgar that describes his plot to kill their father in order to quicken the inheritance process. Edmund then manipulates his brother by lying to him, saying that Gloucester is upset with him so he should avoid him and always carry a weapon. After seeing the fake letter and Edgar's behavior, Gloucester is convinced that his legitimate son is trying to murder him. He sends his men to dispatch him. In doing so, Gloucester betrays his legitimate loyal son and believes his scheming bastard son, who in turn betrays his father. Later in the play, while in Regan's castle, Gloucester goes to help King Lear and shows Edmund a letter from the French, led by Cordelia, announcing that they will be invading Dover in an attempt to help Lear regain power. Gloucester asks his son to hide the letter and not to tell anyone where he is going. As soon as he leaves, Edmund goes straight to Regan's husband Cornwall, shows him the letter, and tells him of Gloucester's plans. Cornwall later punishes Gloucester by ripping his eyes out, blinding him. Gloucester's Betrayal Examples of Loyalty Cordelia's Loyalty Even though Gloucester sent his men to kill Edgar, he remained loyal to his father in the end. When his father was blinded, he guided him to Dover. When Gloucester wanted to kill himself, Edgar saved him by pretending that he survived attempted suicide, a divine sign from the gods that it was not his time die. Towards the end of Gloucester's life, Edgar finally reveals his identity and that he is off to fight Edmund because of his treason. Gloucester dies, tied between happiness and grief. Edgar's Loyalty Correlation to Order and Chaos The motif of betrayal and loyalty in the story correlates with the idea that there is order within chaos. Through all of the treason and treachery of children betraying fathers and siblings betraying siblings, there are a few characters that remain loyal and benevolent, untainted by the chaos around them. Conclusion In conclusion, Shakespeare uses the juxtaposition of betrayal and loyalty to represent the larger contradiction of order and chaos. This motif is central to the play. Without it, King Lear would have lost its depth and meaning. Unlike her two power-hungry sisters, when asked to tell her father how much she loves him, Cordelia does not respond with flattery. After listening to her sisters' responses, she says to herself "Then poor Cordelia! / And yet not so; since I am sure my love's / More richer than my tongue."(1.1.78-80) When it is her turn to respond, she tells her father "Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave/ My heart into my mouth./ I love your Majesty / According to my bond; no more nor less." (1.1.93-95) King Lear is outraged. He disowns Cordelia and banishes her. She marries the King of France without his blessing and leaves to her new kingdom. Even though he betrays her, Cordelia remains loyal to her father. Later in the play, she leads French soldiers in an invasion on England in order to help Lear regain his power.
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