King Lear



Truly the play’s tragic victim, Cordelia’s character is defined by absolute love, loyalty and honesty. In spite of Lear’s cruel treatment, she never ceases to keep his best interests at heart and uses all the powers at her disposal to help him. She forgives her father completely for banishing her, and rejoices in being reunited with him. Her senseless and undeserved death—a cruel consequence of Edmund’s manipulations—results in one of the most tragic moments in the history of drama, when Lear carries her body onstage while uttering the animalistic “Howl, howl, howl, howl” (V.iii.255) of grief. The poignancy of this scene is grounded in Cordelia’s utter innocence, and her death speaks of a miserable world without reason or justice.

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Essays About King Lear