King Lear is one of the greatest dramas written by Shakespeare. It is a poetic tragedy in which the good as well as bad characters play their role. King Lear has three daughters; Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Cordelia is the youngest daughter. She is an important character of the play. In the last act, she is hanged and her death seems unjustified. Her death heightens the tragic ending of the play; thus there is the defeat of Cordelia’s army, the imprisonment of Lear and Cordelia, and Cordelia’s murder in the prison. Although Cordelia's character can be argued to be a one dimensional, she contributes to the play's theme and a dramatic device since King Lear's downfall can be directly attributed to Cordelia and there is dramatic irony in her tragic death and banishment. Old king Lear banishes his good daughter, Cordelia, in his characteristic fit of anger, and it initiates the play's action. Cordelia's banishment is suggestive of the abandonment of reason in Lear and his impending madness. The irony of King Lear is that the two daughters he rewards for flattering him betray him entirely while the daughter who refused to flatter him and to whom he gives nothing, is the one who truly loves him and remains faithful to him and comes to his aid. Her character’s role throughout the play is to be the peacemaker and the angel archetype.
Cordelia is a stabilizing force, As the honorable and beloved daughter of King Lear, Cordelia ranks among Shakespeare's finest heroines. Although Cordelia's role in the play is minor, she is ever-present as the symbol of virtue and mercy, in stark contrast to her sisters, Goneril and Regan. Cordelia heals Lear’s madness. Moreover Lear names her “a soul in bliss” 1, a name which clearly makes reference to Cordelia’s sanctity. O the other hand, a second approach refuses King Lear being a “Christian Play.” Why evil goes solong unchecked? Why such a bleak ending? Characters such as Cordelia seek to do good, but they are...
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