DEATH OF CORDELIA--KING LEAR:
“King Lear” is one of the greatest dramas written by Shakespeare. It is a poetic tragedy in which thegood as well as bad characters play their role. King Lear has three daughters; Goneril, Regan andCordelia. Cordelia is the youngest daughter. She is an important character of the play. In the lastact, she is hanged and her death seems unjustified. But it is not true. Shakespeare changed hissource material to give his “King Lear” a tragic ending. Thus there is the defeat of Cordelia’s army,the imprisonment of Lear and Cordelia, and Cordelia’s murder in the prison. This tragic end did notfind favour with some critics who felt Coprdelia’s death is unjustified. The other school of thoughthowever feels that dramatic inevitability demands the death of Cordelia. Before justifying Cordelia’sdeath, it is necessary to understand some points of her nature.In the first Act of the Play, when it is Cordelia’s turn to tell her father how much she loves him, shesurprises everybody by saying that she has “nothing” to say. In this context when asked by her father if she has really nothing to say, Cordelia repeats the word “nothing”. Lear then tells her:“Nothing will come of nothing.”Cordelia elaborates the reply she has already given. She says that he as her father, has brought her up and loved her and that in return she has always obeyed, loved and honoured him. She says thatwhen she gets married, half of her love will go to her husband and remaining half for her father.This reply irritates Lear and he disinherits her. Then the Duke of Burgundy refuses to marry her onbeing told that she will bring him no dowry at all. Cordelia makes a dignified remark:“Peace be with Burgundy!Since, that respect of fortune are his love,I shall not be his wife.”We also see that she has a deep love for her father. Later in the play, when Cordelia and Lear areunited, she looks after him in his illness. When Lear says that she has sufficient cause to beannoyed with him, she says: “No cause, no cause.” It is a touching moment in the play. As aconsequence of a plot hatched by Edmond, Cordelia is hanged, and we then see Lear carrying her dead body. The death of Cordelia comes as a shock to all of us. To justify her death, we should lookat the weakness of her nature.The whole conduct of Cordelia in the opening scene shows that she is a woman of few words. Sheis by nature reticent. She does not believe in showing off her affections for her father. At the sametime, we cannot deny that this incapacity on her part to express her love for her father is a fault inher nature. If the old man wanted to gratify his dignity, Cordelia should have come out with somesort of assurance that she loved her father deeply because sometimes it is better for a person toexpress his love in words in order to satisfy the other person. There was no need for her to be asblunt as she has proved to be. Her father is aware that she loves him the best but he wants to hear her speak about her love; and her failure to speak annoys him greatly. Thus the fault is not entirelyon Lear’s side; Cordelia cannot completely be exonerated. Her sere nature proves to be the, causeof Lear’s undoing (ruin) and her undoing too. Later on, when she comes to fight against the BritishForces, she makes it clear that it is not on account of any military ambition or any desire for conquest that this invasion is taking place but on account of her love for her father an for therestoration of his rights to him. Thus it cannot be another fault because she could succeed in her purpose by some other means than by fighting. .Bradley rightly points out that Cordelia suffers from a tragic imperfection. It is true that she isdeeply wronged by Lear in the opening scene, but we cannot assert that she her was wholly rig inher behaviour. At a moment, when a momentous issue is under discussion, Fate makes on her theone demand which she is unable to meet. It is a demand which other heroin of Shakespeare’s playscould have met. They could have made the old, unreasonable king feel that he was loved fondly bythem .But Cordelia could not do so because she is Cordelia. We neither blame her, nor justify her completely; we simply experience the tragic emotions of pity. It is noteworthy that Cordelia is notalways reticent; she is not always tongue-tied as several passages show in the play. But tender emotion, for her father makes her dumb as she says:“Unhappy that I am; I cannot heaveMy heart into my mouth.”
The Tragedy of King Lear
- Length: 1090 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The Tragedy of King Lear
King Lear is a tragic story by William Shakespeare is a story of a man King Lear and his decision that led to his fate and the fate of others. With every tragic story comes a tragic hero. The tragic hero of the story is King Lear. According to the definition of a tragic hero one must be born into nobility, endowed with a tragic flaw, doomed to make a serious error in judgement, fall from great heights or high esteem, realize they have made an irreversible mistake, and faces and accepts death with honor meets a tragic death. King Lear meets all of these qualities.
King Lear was a tragic hero that was born into nobility, endowed with a tragic flaw and doomed to make a serious error in judgement. King Lear was born into nobility. "He owned vast amounts of land and ruled over many people. Give me the map there. know that we have divided In three our Kingdom." Not only was King Lear born into nobility he was responsible for his own fate. He disowned his daughter Cordelia and made his other two daughters rulers of his land once divided into three now divided into two. His two daughters really did not love him they just wanted the land and power. They turned against their father and had him sentenced to death by Edmund. Lear's death was his own fault. This reason came about because of King Lear's tragic flaw, his pride. Pride is also his reason of how he is a tragic hero. "Tell me, my daughters,-- Since now we will divest us both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state,-- Which of you shall we say doth love us most, That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge?" King Lear was egotistic in the first act where he asked his daughters who loved him most. When he found out his favorite daughter Cordelia did not have much to say about his love for him he disowned her and divided his land to his two evil daughters Regan and Goneril, "From whom we do exist, and cease to be; Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee, from this, for ever." This was also the error in King Lear's judgement.
How to Cite this Page
| Sanity Through Tragedy: King Lear Essay - King Lear is the protagonist within the play, he wears the label of a successful leader but he uses his power to project an artificial personality toward his observers. Beneath his high class physicality, Lear struggles to maintain his confidence within himself because he depends on the constant admiration from others to feel content with who he is. One who leads with counterfeit beliefs and unstable values is bound for failure. Shakespeare designed this playwright to display the tragedy of a King who slowly goes mad, however in order to reach sanity sometimes one must go completely out of their mind to gain the wisdom in telling the difference.... [tags: King Lear, Shakespeare, ]|
:: 1 Works Cited
|The Tragedy of King Lear Analysis Essay - The Tragedy of King Lear Analysis Lear: By Jupiter, I swear no. Kent: By Juno, I swear ay. In The Tragedy of King Lear, particularly in the first half of the play, Lear continually swears to the gods. He invokes them for mercies and begs them for destruction; he binds both his oaths and his curses with their names. The older characters—Lear and Gloucester—tend view their world as strictly within the moral framework of the pagan religion. As Lear expresses it, the central core of his religion lies in the idea of earthly justice.... [tags: King Lear Shakespeare Essays]||2095 words|
|Free King Lear Essays: The Tragedy of King Lear - Tragedy of King Lear Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear are the four most prominent and revered works that William Shakespeare had ever produced, though the first three that I mentioned seem to be recognized as more superior to King Lear. The opinion of many critics and others who are familiar with the bard’s work, myself included, feel that King Lear is one of, if not, the greatest achievement in William Shakespeare's repertoire. Many people, however, on the other side of the token, feel that King Lear is not his best play by far which puzzles me as a reader.... [tags: Essays on King Lear]||422 words|
|The Tragedy of King Lear Essay examples - The Tragedy of King Lear King Lear is a tragic story by William Shakespeare is a story of a man King Lear and his decision that led to his fate and the fate of others. With every tragic story comes a tragic hero. The tragic hero of the story is King Lear. According to the definition of a tragic hero one must be born into nobility, endowed with a tragic flaw, doomed to make a serious error in judgement, fall from great heights or high esteem, realize they have made an irreversible mistake, and faces and accepts death with honor meets a tragic death.... [tags: Shakespeare Analysis]||1090 words|
|traglear King Lear Essays: Elements of Tragedy in King Lear - Elements of Tragedy in King Lear One Work Cited King Lear meets all the requirements of a tragedy as defined by Andrew Cecil Bradley. Bradley states that a Shakespearean tragedy has to be the story of the hero who endures exceptional suffering and calamity. The story must also contrast the current dilemma to happier times. The play also depicts the troubled parts in the hero's life and eventually he dies instantaneously because of the suffering and calamity. There is the feeling of fear in the play as well, that makes men see how blind they are not knowing when fortune or something else would be on them.... [tags: King Lear essays]||1240 words|
|Oedipus the King and The Tragedy of King Lear Essay - Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Lear One of the key themes in both Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Lear and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is the importance of having a good understanding of our condition as human beings – knowing ourselves, the world that surrounds us and our place in it. At the same time, however, both authors recognize the fact that blindness to this knowledge of the human condition is a basic mortal trait. Thus, before we can have an understanding of the human condition, we must endure a journey to wisdom.... [tags: compare contrast]||1274 words|
| Essay on Folly in William Shakespeare's King Lear - Folly in William Shakespeare's King Lear In "East Coker," T. S. Eliot pleads "Do not let me hear / Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly…." (Eliot 185) The folly of old men must surely be a central trope in any discussion of Shakespeare's imposing tragic accomplishment, King Lear. Traditional interpretations of the play, drawing on the classical Aristotelian theory of tragedy, have tended to view Lear's act of blind folly as hamartia, precipitating the disintegration of human society.... [tags: William Shakespeare The Tragedy of King Lear]|
:: 8 Works Cited
| traglear King Lear as a Bradley Tragedy Essay - King Lear as a Bradley Tragedy King Lear meets all the requirements of a tragedy as defined by Andrew Cecil Bradley. Bradley states that a Shakespearean tragedy has to be the story of the hero and there is exceptional suffering and calamity slowly being worn in. Also, the current time must be contrasted to happier times. The play also depicts the troubled parts in the hero’s life and eventually he dies instantaneously because of the suffering and calamity. There is the feeling of fear in the play as well, that makes men see how blind they are not knowing when fortune or something else would be on them. The hero must be of a high status on the chain and the hero must also posses... [tags: King Lear essays]|
:: 3 Works Cited
| Tragedy Through Misreading in William Shakespeare's King Lear Essay - Tragedy Through Misreading in William Shakespeare's King Lear Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, portrays many important misconceptions which result in a long sequence of tragic events. The foundation of the story revolves around two characters, King Lear and Gloucester, and concentrates on their common flaw, the inability to read truth in other characters. For example, the king condemns his own daughter after he clearly misreads the truth behind her “dower,”(1.1.107) or honesty. Later, Gloucester passes judgment on his son Edgar based on a letter in which he “shall not need spectacles”(1.2.35) to read.... [tags: William Shakespeare King Lear Essays]|
:: 1 Works Cited
| Essay on traglear King Lear as an Arthur Miller Tragedy - King Lear as an Arthur Miller Tragedy If we seek to justify Shakespeare's King Lear as a tragedy by applying Arthur Miller's theory of tragedy and the tragic hero, then we might find Lear is not a great tragedy, and the character Lear is hardly passable for a tragic hero. However, if we take Aristotle's theory of tragedy to examine this play, it would fit much more neatly and easily. This is not because Aristotle prescribes using nobility for the subject of a tragedy, but, more importantly, because he emphasizes the purpose of tragedy -- to arouse pity and fear in the audience, and thus purge them of such emotions.... [tags: King Lear essays]|
:: 4 Works Cited
King Lear Tragic Story Tragic Death Own Fate Nobility Cordelia Goneril Amounts Serious
Disowning his daughter was the worst thing he could do. This mistake led to many outcomes the division of his country to his two evil daughters, the loss of his armies and men, and the loss of his own life.
Eventually all tragic heroes fall from great heights or high esteem, realize they have made an irreversible mistake, faces and meets a tragic death. King Lear eventually met all these outcomes. What made King Lear a tragic hero was that he fell from great heights or high esteem. King Lear was a great king that had everything, he had his love of his daughters, money, power, and contentness. But eventually he has to lose everything. He is stripped of his money and power and is ordered to death because of his two daughters Regan and Goneril who once claimed they loved him more than their husbands. "I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness; I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children, You owe me no subscription: [why] then let fall Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave, A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man: But yet I call you servile ministers, That have with two pernicious daughters join'd Your high engender'd battles 'gainst a head." He was no longer the high and mighty King he use to be. What made King Lear a tragic hero as well was that he realized he made an irreversible mistake. When he went to visit his daughters in their he realized they were evil and the decision he made to give them all that power and land was wrong. He realized it all should have gone to his daughter Cordelia. He starts to go into a depression and starts to lose his grip on sanity. "Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st, Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need,-- You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need! You see me here, you gods, a poor old man [fellow], As full of grief as age; wretched in both! If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts Against their father, fool me not so much To bear it tamely [lamely]; touch me with noble anger, And let not women's weapons, water-drops, Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags, I will have such revenges on you both, That all the world shall--I will do such things,-- What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be The terrors of the earth. You think I'll weep No, I'll not weep: I have full cause of weeping; but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!" These are the reasons of why King Lear is a tragic character but another factor is his tragic death. They way King Lear died was a tragedy. He dies after he is freed from prison. He carries his dead daughters body in his hands, proclaims his love for her and how he was wrong and dies over Cordelia's body because of heartache and pain he felt. "And my poor fool is hang'd: No, no, no life? Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more, Never, never, never, never, never. Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir. [O, o, o, o] Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips, Look there, look there!" These are reasons why King Lear is considered a tragic character.
Shakespeare's King Lear was one of his greatest tragic pieces. A tragic hero is neither good or bad and this was what King Lear was. He possessed many different qualities that labeled him as a tragic hero. His death and well being affected the audience to feel pity over someone who was once great but became a lowly man. King Lear will continue to be one of the most memorable characters in the history of Literature because of his characteristics as a tragic character.