Lear’s Common Family Issues

King Lear’s relationships with Regan and Goneril is a heightened version of the common family power struggle. As children get older, the parent child relationship changes drastically and it is up to both parties to work together to maintain peaceful playing ground. However, as opinions differ and the child grows more into their own version of self, they often stray from the once close relationship with their parent and separate themselves in order to establish their own beliefs. This separation is the root of Lear’s family issues and others. Beginning in act one when Lear demands his daughter proclaim their love for him in order to gain his approval and then his kingdom, when Cordelia admits to only caring for Lear a normal amount, she is disowned and virtually kicked out of the family. Now, Lear has already lost one daughter by his own will and he is unknowingly about to lose two more as they separate themselves from him.

Later, Lear is blindsided by Regan and Goneril when both do not permit him to stay in their castles if he keeps all his guards. This powerful move by the daughters had been in the works since Lear created the initial separation of his family when he needed a declaration of love to qualify for land. Lear did not make any efforts to save his relationship with any of his daughters and even swore revenge on them when he said, ” I will have such revenges on you both/ That all the world shall- I will do such things-/ What they are yet I know not, but they shall be/ The terrors of the Earth!” (II.iv. 320-323). Although Lear never attempted to rekindle his relationship with Cordelia, he worsened his issues with Regan and Goneril by swearing terrible revenge on them. Regan and Goneril both stood by their own beliefs which caused strife with Lear as he had lost some of his power. The power struggle that Lear faced with Regan and Goneril is reflected in less serious ways such as the child taking their car out when the parent disagrees or phone usage, but it is still applicable. The opinions on many family issues vary depending on the situation and parent-child relationship but many problems can be traced back to the initial separation when establishing beliefs.

4 thoughts on “Lear’s Common Family Issues

  1. ZACHARY B

    I like how you connected family ties with power from a play to actual reality, as beliefs tend to stand in the way of family agreements in reality. Lear being blindsided was over a matter of beliefs and beliefs his daughters couldn’t obtain without the power of there king father. Power also can be conveyed as something that can tear relationships and I like how you mentioned that in your own wording in your blog post as well. Power isn’t something a single individual can manage and the growth towards madness is displayed through multiple characters due to the thematic idea of power within the play. This was well written and I thoroughly agree and like the way you structured your blog post.

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  2. cassie m

    I think this is really interesting! While this play may not seem very applicable to modern life on the surface, it clearly is! Especially as we grow old, our beliefs often shift and usually differ between generations, just as Goneril and Regan believe they should have more say and power while Lear disagrees, modern families often disagree about similar things. Such as the age-old belief of having an older man be in charge of a household.

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  3. AVERY M

    I think that this principle is interesting in the context of King Lear. The idea of the parent/child binary reversing is common in literature and life, but seems to affect these characters in ways more extreme than in typical situations. Lear, though part of him knows that he is growing old and mad, misses that part of him that is a father. He is thrown off by the change in dynamic, which is think is really interesting and true in the way you put it in your post.

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  4. Sarah K

    I wrote about something similar in my blog post but with the theme of gender roles. I like how you took the same idea and connected it to family binaries, it shows how a lot of the themes in the play are interconnected. I also really liked how you connected it to the present day because sometimes it seems like we would not be able to connect to something written so long ago but actually, things are very similar.

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