King Lear’s Rendition of the Love Triangle

It is in almost every storyline; two characters fight for the same one, or even more shocking, something similar to Twelfth Night‘s version. However, while Twelfth Night would not be the same without its love triangle, I think King Lear could have gone without its adaptation.

In the majority of King Lear, I was surprised by what occurred. Every flip of the page included another aspect of the tragedy. However, as soon as Shakespeare presented the double love interest with Edmund, the end of the play was already written. I think Edmund’s monologue, where he was torn between the sisters and where he decided to stall his decision, made his storyline crumble. Every flip of the page was no longer surprising but expected.

The play had a lot going on. I mean, every single main character died except three. Even so, the love triangle added minimal effect to the tragedy. Even more, when Goneril poisoned Regan before killing herself, I felt like I read that before. It seems too similar to Romeo & Juliet. While that was between lovers, this was between sisters involving love. Goneril was obviously carrying out the phrase, “if I can’t have him, no one can.”

I feel like Shakespeare did not know what to do with Goneril and Regan, so he included the cliche that is a love triangle. In fact, the outcome between the sisters adds to the stereotype of boy-obsessed women. Like Goneril killed herself over a man. That is crazy! Their entire personas switched in this play from suck-up daughters to betraying daughters to just boy-obsessed girls. It was the downfall of their characters. Before, they were rebels, hard-core, and had personalities beyond men. Yet, when Shakespeare introduced this triangle, their aggressive characters became sisters who lost everything, for an illegitimate boy. I just find it absurd.

While I don’t mean to knock on Shakespeare’s writing, I kinda am. As far as I am concerned, Shakespeare should have left the love triangle in Twelfth Night.

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