William Shakepeare’s King Lear engages the theme of loyalty as it is shown in two totally different ways. After King Lear asks his daughters to voice their love for him, Cordelia voices her honest opinion while Regan and Goneril play with Lear’s feeling. In Act 1 Scene 1, Cordelia says “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty according to my bond, no more nor less.” Blinded by his “love” for Goneril and Regan, King Lear is baffled from the answer he gets from Cordelia. In order for King Lear to understand true affection, he has to reach rock bottom and have everything taken from him in order to realize what’s most important in his life.
In Act 3 Scene 7, it isn’t King Lear who gets plotted against, but rather Gloucester. Although the letter to plot the good hearted Edgar happens earlier, Gloucester is about to get his eyes plucked out and as a called to rescue he calls for the evil Edmund. Gloucester is told that it was Edmund that betrayed him and as a result Gloucester says “O my follies! Then Edgar was abused. Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!” Gloucester has realized what a fool he was and made the same mistake that King Lear made; not going up to their child and getting the real truth, rather assuming.
After King Lear has lost everything he begins to realize who was actually important in his life. In Act 4 Scene 7 Cordelia and King Lear are reunited and Lear says to Cordelia “If you have poison for me, I will drink it. I know you do not love me, for your sisters Have, as I do remember, done me wrong. You have some cause; they have not.” Lear realizes all along that it was Cordelia who showed her true affection that night in the castle and that she didn’t want any personal gain from him. King Lear realizes how important Cordelia is to his life and that he never wants to leave her now, even after all the wrong that he has done.