Themes in Shakespeare
Ismael Sadik Lavoie
February 21st 2013
In the play “King Lear” written by Shakespeare, several themes are observable and easy to understand: love, ambition, power, betrayal, foolishness. One of the ideas that is important to understand and easy to grasp while reading the play is ‘’loyalty’’. In ‘’King Lear’’ loyalty is contrasted through the relationship Lear has with his three daughters especially the drive for power of Goneril and Regan, while Cordelia is a definition of the theme itself in that she demonstrates honesty and allegiance, to her father. This essay will explain the importance of loyalty and its contrasts throughout the acts of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
The two oldest daughters of the King, Goneril and Regan are interesting when discussing the theme of loyalty in Shakespeare’s tragedy. They contrast this theme by lying to their father when they are asked how much they love him. Their ambition for power being greater than their sense of morality, they utter an expected speech to their father in order to get the most part of the land that he is giving away by reason of his old age. Goneril starts by making up elegant words to her father: ‘’ Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, Beyond what can be valued rich or rare, No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour, as much as child e’er loved or father found; A love that makes breath poor and speech unable beyond all manner of ‘so much’ I love you.’’ (I.i.55) Impressed and blinded by the words spoken by his two daughters, the king decides then and there to give his kingdom to the both of them. This is a decision that he regrets shortly after. Later in the play, the two daughters betray their father by taking away his power, forcing him to give up on his knights, and making him go mad; therefore, Lear becomes virtually homeless. Goneril, being the first one who...