Loyal to a World Lacking in it

In King Lear, Cordelia, Lear’s daughter, is banished as the result of her father’s misinterpretation of her loyalty. Right from the beginning scene of the play, Lear asks his daughters to make clear to him how much they loved him for pieces of the country’s land. As Regan and Goneril, his other daughters, expressed their false claims of love, Cordelia was troubled with how she would display her loyalty and fondness for her father. On Cordelia’s turn she insisted that she would not comply with her father’s demand as she explained that it was a deceitful method for her sisters to exploit their father’s compassion. She says, “I return those duties back as are right fit: Obey you, love you, and most honor you. Why have my sisters husbands if they say they love you all?” (I.I.106-110). She questions how her sisters are able to fully love Lear if they have husbands to love. Cordelia explains how she is able to completely give herself over to Lear as she has no one else to give herself too in contrast to her sisters who have husbands. Cordelia has an unconditional love for her father as she explains is greater than what her sisters can prove to him through words because she recognizes her sisters deceiving scheme. Loyalty is clearly shown in this first scene although Lear is not able to interpret it in a level headed manner which he later looks back upon and regrets.

3 thoughts on “Loyal to a World Lacking in it

  1. Ann Marie H.

    I really agree with your argument about the importance of loyalty and would agree with you about how Cordelia shows this loyalty. In the beginning of the play, it seemed as if she didn’t contain that loyalty but definitely at the end it is proven.



    I thought this was a really insightful interpretation, and I agree with your comment about Cordelia’s recognition of her sisters’ plans, that was a very interesting point.


  3. ALINA S

    I really like your interpretation of this scene and of Cordelia and Lear. I agree that loyalty is a huge part of this play and between characters, and you did a really nice job of explaining that and how it can be misinterpreted although the idea is there.


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