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Lear’s Three Daughters

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Darchelle Curry British Literature 12/5/01 Period A Lear's Three Daughters The Shakespearean tragedy, King Lear, illustrates what happens when children are consumed by greed and loose the love for their parents. All three of Lear's daughters represent a different part of himself. Regan and Goneril, Lear's two "evil" daughters, represent the darker side of Lear. They represent his greed and cruelty. Lear's youngest daughter, Cordelia, represents his softer side. She represents his softer nature, which comes out at the end of the play when he is so sad, because of Cordelia's death, that he dies also. "Lear was a selfish, proud man, using his daughters' love as a way for the daughters to win rule over the kingdom."1Goneril is the eldest of King Lear's daughters. She is the first of his daughters to lie to her father about loving him. "Sir, I love you more than words can weild the matter; Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life with grace, health, beauty, honor; As much e'er loved, or father found; A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable: Beyond all manor of so much I love you." ...read more.


Also like Goneril, Regan has a cruel nature. But even though they have a cruel nature, you can also say that they are very persistent people who believe in getting what they want. "They have a goal which they seek to attain and everything they have to say is bent upon this."3 Regan cheers when her husband, the Duke of Cornwall, puts out the Earl of Gloucester's eyes. When one of the servants tries to stop Cornwall, Regan kills him. "Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus?" (Act 3 Scene 7, line 5). Regan is also envious and deceitful. When her husband dies, she shows no remorse. Thinking that Goneril has feelings for Edmund, she simply tries to marry him before her sister gets a chance to. ". . . My Lord is dead; Edmund and I have talked; and more convenient is my hand than for your lady's" (Act 4 Scene 5, lines 30-32). Both Regan and Goneril represent Lear's greed and cruelty, which he demonstrates at the beginning of the play, when Cordelia refuses to declare her love for Lear. Because of Lear's selfishness, when Cordelia does not say the words that Lear wants to hear, he disowns her and does not give her any of his land. ...read more.


Ha!'"4 Act 5 Scene 3, line 273 Not only does Cordelia posses Lear's softer nature, she also obtained other characteristics of Lear. "Lear is headstrong, he is he is independent, straightforward and to the point, honest, and unbending. Cordelia seems to have these same traits."5At the very end when Cordelia dies, Lear comes out of the prison, with her body in his arms. It is then that he realizes that she is the one who has loved him the most of all. Because of the overwhelming sadness of loosing his daughter, Lear dies trying to revive her. When Lear turned over his land to Goneril and Regan, he also turned over the worst characteristics of himself, and then they used them against him. Cordelia, on the other hand, remains the same throughout the play. She does not let greed get the best of her, as her two older sisters did. Even though Lear does not believe it at the point that he disowns her, by the end of the play Cordelia proves herself to her father to be the true daughter that she is. 1 Website-http://plato.acadiau.ca/courses/engl/young/shakes/KL/grp/k � Bloom 3 Wolfgang Clemen 4 Article by James L. Jackson 5 Website-http://plato.acadiau.ca/courses/engl/young/shakes/KL/grp1/k ...read more.

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