• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Betrayal in King Lear

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Hina Qureshi Eng-4UO Mrs. LaFrance April 7, 2003 Betrayal A kingdom without order is a kingdom in chaos (Bradley). William Shakespeare's play King Lear is a play full of deception, betrayal, and insincere promises. It's a tragic play that demonstrates what happens when children are concealed by greed and loose their love and respect for their parents. Goneril, Regan, and Edmund declare their affection to their loved ones for their ambition for power and to raise there status in Britain. After they get what they want they reveal their heartless characters by disowning their loved ones. Regan and Goneril trick their father, King Lear, into believing that they love him all for the passion for power. Edmund too, tricks his father, Gloucester, and his brother, Edgar, into thinking he is a loving loyal son and brother all for the obsession over the title of Earl of Gloucester. In Shakespeare's play King Lear, the declarations of love are many, but only as the means for something in return, and thus those who trust these declarations are betrayed. The declarations of love made by Goneril, Regan, and Edmund in King Lear are related to whatever material gain they can accomplish. Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves (Trust, Deception, Betrayal). King Lear's tragic flaw is the division of his kingdom and his inability to see the true natures of people because of his pride. ...read more.

Middle

"Wear this; spare speech. / Decline your head [she kisses him.] This kiss, if it durst speak, / Would stretch they spirits up into the air" (IV ii 25-28). Goneril is showing her affection to Edmund that she will do anything for him. When Regan's husband, Duke of Cornwall, dies Regan shows no remorse and seeks to marry Edmund: "My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talked, / And more convenient is he for my hand/ Than for your lady's. You may gather more, If you do find him, pray you, give him this..." (IV v 34-37). Regan tells Oswald to go tell Goneril that it is more appropriate that Edmund marries Regan than Goneril, since her husband just died. This shows that she is greedy and does not care about anyone except for herself. These declarations of love lead their victims to betrayal and fatal consequences. When Lear is rejected by Goneril and Regan and stripped of his "hundred knights and squires" (I iv 248), he is left with "nothing" besides the loyal company of Kent and the Fool. Before entering the hovel, he realized that he has been a man "more sinned against than sinning" (III ii 63). He has realized that he was foolish to do Cordelia wrong, the only daughter who truly loved him, and that the truth has been revealed about his daughters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Edmund forges personal prosperity with betrayal and treachery, and his obsession with his legitimate brother proves that he is obsessed with status in the play. His goals are set out to get recognition by any means necessary. Both Goneril and Regan fall in love with Edmund but their jealousy destroys them both. Goneril says: "I had rather lose the battle than that sister/ should loosen him and me" (V i 22-23). This proves how greedy she is; she will rather lose the battle with the French than to lose Edmund to her own sister, "If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine" (V iii 116-117). Embittered by this rivalry, Goneril poisons Regan, and takes her own life. Their jealousies of one another ultimately lead to their destruction. Gloucester and Lear both get the wrong impression about there children, because of which one goes sightless and the other loses his sanity. This only happens after they both can finally see the true personality of their children. To hide their true ravenousness, Regan and Goneril deceit their father by making him believe that they love him. Being the bastard son, Edmund was deprived of respect and rank that he thought was rightfully his. He too wins his fathers' and brothers' trust and then destroys them. This proves that betrayal can only happen if you love (Trust, Deception, Betrayal). Betrayal is motivated by ambition and greed which all these characters had. Ambition, greed, and deception all lead to one culmination ending, death. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Social injustices in King Lear

    Lear from the kingdom 'must needs taste his folly' which he ultimately does taste. Men controlled society and Lear brought this about "must needs taste his folly" this could be Goneril foreshadowing the storm, his madness and his death. Goneril and Regan have to wield their power through their husbands

  2. To What Extent Can King Lear Be Described as the Tragic Hero of Shakespeares ...

    Does Lear's punishment exceed his crime? He certainly seems to think so: 'I am a man More sinned against than sinning.' In the events leading up to the end of the play, Shakespeare includes a number of devices to ensure the audience knows who the truly evil characters are compared to those, like Lear who just have their 'tragic flaw'.

  1. How does Shakespeare present Edmund in King Lear?

    further highlight Edmund's evilness. By making Edmund appear at obscure times Shakespeare makes him seem somewhat more evil. When a character is always appearing at times of agony and crisis the audience is bound to be wary about their intentions.

  2. With particular reference to Act 1, Scene 1, show how Shakespeare presents the character ...

    Again, with reference to the title, Lear shows his foolishness here, as he cannot distinguish between true, honest feelings and flattery, because as it is praise that Lear wants, and he cannot see beneath it. Not only is Lear arrogant, vain and shallow, but he is also very hasty and quick tempered.

  1. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the characters of Edmund and Edgar in ...

    By giving Edgar a short, unpunctuated sentence Shakespeare creates several effects. The short sentence shows that Edgar does not know what to think, he is shocked and has very little to say. Shakespeare presents him as rash by giving the sentence no punctuation.

  2. Explore the presentation of Edmund in 'King Lear'

    He shows a combative vigour, precisely expressed in 'the lusty stealth of nature' and in the belligerent questions which dominate his opening speech and encapsulate his rejection of moral standards. The words 'nature' and 'natural' are picked up again here; for Lear and Gloucester they represent behavioural norms, all that is part of the right order of things.

  1. Compare and contrast madness: its possible causes; its manifestations; its consequences; and its resolution, ...

    The actions of Lear and Leontes throw their respective environments into relative chaos. As Lear descends into insanity, so too does his kingdom; as his kingship is invalidated, the entire concept of parenthood becomes void on a wide scale. Examples of Lear's madness "like a plummet thrown from a boat

  2. The Nature of Redemption and the Limits of Pessimism in King Lear

    Such a definition is offered at the very end of Shakespearean Tragedy: Let us renounce the world, hate it, and lose it gladly. The only real thing in it is the soul, with its courage, patience, devotion. And nothing outward can touch that.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work