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.