Lady Jane's Reviews > King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare
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Oct 04, 11


This play is about a king who was starting to feel old and tired, and endeavored to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters. All he required of them in return was to express their love for him. So the two eldest daughters, being the Machiavels that they are, promise him the moon and the stars. The youngest daughter, who in the end proved to love him the most, replies in a nonchalant manner that she cannot compete with her sisters' expressions of love, and henceforth, she haughtily assertes, "I cannot heave/ My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty/ According to my bond; not more, not less" (1.1:90-92). The king her father rightfully asks in dismay, "So young, and so untender?" (1.1:105), to which she insolently replied, "So young, my lord, and true" (1.1:106).

The girl is obviously very philosophical. However, she overdoes it in the philosophy department, for she undermines the power that language can give a person to release the contents of their heart. I understand Cordelia, though. She is trying to prove a point to her father. She seeks to make him understand that love does not require poetic speeches; that love is just love regardless. The king, however, being older and irrational like most typical parents, does not understand it that way, and personally, I can see it from his side as well. Really, is it that difficult to use language to describe her love to her father? Now, as everyone who knows me is aware, I am the type of person who would rather lose a job over giving false flattery to undeserving employers. However, I believe that when a person's love and/or admiration is as true as Cordelia's love for her father, there is nothing wrong with using metaphors and poetic sentiments to describe it. I am also one of the strongest advocates against hypocrisy and "sweet-talking" for motives other than expressing that which our sweet words convey. This is why I really dislike Goneril and Regan, King Lear's eldest daughters-- because they use the power of language and persuasion for the wrong reasons, which is merely to obtain a piece of their father's kingdom. So indeed, I do agree that actions speak louder than words-- HOWEVER, when actions are accompanied by beautiful words, the result is simply wonderful.

In the end Cordelia proves to love her father more than the two daughters who keep his kingdom and end up overthrowing King Lear. Cordelia forgives Lear and helps him when he was shunned by his two ungrateful daughters who threw him out naked in the storm. But why oh why was she so stubborn in the beginning? Why could she not simply express the love that she has for him? Just to adhere to some useless philosophy? To prove a point? -- and prove a point she did! Due to her unwillingness to do something as simple as describe her love for her father, the king assumed she must not love him and she lost her part of the kingdom. So she ends up marrying France and became the queen of this wonderful country, but property is not the issue. The issue is that she was thrown out of her own kingdom due to her philosophical stubbornness, and the kingdom is left to the two daughters who knew nothing about love and only cared about money and property. I think it was very irresponsible of Cordelia to act that way. If only she had expressed her love for her father, he would have never disowned her and she would have stuck around in the kingdom and never allow her father to be mistreated by his bad daughters. But no, the girl just had to prove her point and cause all that conflict.

In conclusion, using beautiful speeches and poetic sentiments is wrong if the words are not meant. However, in the above circumstance and in relationships, it is very important to tell the person how one feels since people are not psychic. It is a cold and cynical world we live in, in which people are narcissistic and have trouble expressing emotion. However, to be loved is a very human need, especially when it is complemented by actions that prove our words. Therefore, since Cordelia really loves her father, she should've just told him! She should've made use of the beautiful metaphors and similes that our language offers to convey her feelings!
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