The Death Of Cordelia In William Shkespeare

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The Death Of Cordelia In William Shkespeare’s King Lear Essay, Research Paper The Death of Cordelia in William Shakespeare’s King Lear King Lear is a tragedy unlike any other written by William Shakespeare. It focuses on the psychological downfall of a powerful King. It proves that as long as a nation has a king on the throne all is well, but as soon as a king steps off the throne nothing but chaos transpires. The downfall of the king results in the downfall of the kingdom. More importantly, it focuses on the relationship between parent and child. This is proven in two plots with the most important being the relationship between Cordelia and King Lear. Lear goes through a period of great mental instability in which he gives up his throne, gives up his daughter Cordelia,

and also gives up his sanity. When this happens all hell breaks loose among the characters, and the evil persona Edmund takes control of the plot. In most cases love is thought to shine through all evil, however it is not the case in King Lear. Cordelia must die to illustrate that good does not always conquer evil, and this is shown no matter how painful it may be for the audience. This is stated in an essay by Northrop Frye called King Lear who says that this reflects “the principle that the evil men do lives after them” (148) no matter what good may try to do to defeat it. Cordelia is the epitome of a true person. Unlike her sisters, she is sweet, honest, loving, and good. From the start Cordelia speaks the truth even though it hurts her father’s feelings, and sends him

spinning into an eventual rejection of her. Her sisters Goneril and Regan are hypocritic wenches who profess their undying love for Lear without an ounce of truth to back it up. Cordelia tries to show this to her father, but he is completely blind to it, and cannot see that Cordelia loves him the best of all three of his daughters. When Lear asks Cordelia how much she loves him she simply replies “I love your Majesty/According to my bond, no more nor less”; (Act 1, Scene1, 94-5) plainly she loves him as much as a daughter should love her father without over or understepping her bounds. The reader instantly takes a liking to Cordelia for her truthfulness, and feels nothing but sorrow for her when Lear disowns her because of what seems to be a redeeming quality. Cordelia never

loses her love for her father even after he has disowned her, and this is yet another reason it is so hard to see her die. Lear’s downfall begins when he gives up his kingdom to his daughters. He is no longer the ruler of the kingdom, and has no real authority left. When he breaks his crown, the powers of evil burst through and take over everything virtuous they come across. Evil is directly connected to the downfall of the kingdom. This can be compared to a wheel rolling down a hill; when the wheel of evil starts rolling it gains momentum crushing everything in its path until it reaches the bottom. Nothing is spared, and nothing can stop it. Cordelia is not spared, and love can not stop it. Lear does not begin to regain his sanity until he overcomes his blindness towards his

daughters. Even after he finds out that Regan and Goneril only used him for his land and title, Lear does not blame himself for falling into their trap. He still puts the blame on everybody else saying “I am a man/ More sinned against than sinning” (Act 3, Scene 2, 58-9). He does not realize that he cannot start healing until he takes responsibility for his own actions. One reason that for Cordelia’s death is to punish Lear for thinking that Cordelia did not love him. It takes Lear a very long time to realize that his two seemingly precious daughters have swindled him, and it is this long time period that allows evil to penetrate into all the characters including the faultless Cordelia. By the time Lear regains his sight and sees Regan and Goneril as “a disease that’s