Loyalty And Betrayal In Shakespeare's King Lear

Submitted By KMOR2015
Words: 855
Pages: 4

King Lear
Loyalty and Betrayal
Kaitlyn Morris

Loyalty and Betrayal in King Lear
• The theme of loyalty and betrayal in King Lear is quite ironic.
• Normally if a person is cast out or betrayed, then he/she will seek revenge and those receiving favor will remain loyal.
• But, in Shakespeare’s masterpiece, those who are cast out remain fiercely loyal; while those who are treated well, betray their fathers.
• King Lear is betrayed by the daughters he initially trusts and shuns the only daughter that is truly loyal to him. Likewise,
Gloucester has a similar experience with his two sons.

King Lear, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan
• King Lear asks his daughters to profess their love of him and he will then decide, based on their answers, how much of the kingdom each daughter shall receive.
• Goneril and Regan both manipulate and flatter King Lear with declarations of their love. However, Cordelia knows both of her older sisters are lying and she refuses to participate in this display and simply states that she loves him as is appropriate.
• King Lear is furious with Cordelia and banishes her.
• Once Goneril and Regan have their lands, they both betray King Lear and work to remove all aspects of his power.
• Later both Goneril and Regan fall in love with Edmund and betray their husbands. Betray
Gloucester, Edgar, and Edmund
• Edmund, Gloucester’s illegitimate son, plots to destroy Gloucester and Edgar, in order to inherent his father’s wealth and power.
• Edmund forges a letter from Edgar that describes his plot to kill Gloucester in order to quicken the inheritance process.
• Edmund then manipulates Edgar by lying to him and saying that Gloucester is upset with him so he should avoid him and always carry a weapon.

• After seeing the fake letter and Edgar’s behavior Gloucester is convinced that his legitimate son is trying to murder him.
• Gloucester believes Edmund and betrays his loyal son Edgar. Gloucester sends his men to kill Edgar.
• Later when Gloucester leaves to help Cordelia, who is attempting to help King Lear,
Edmund betrays Gloucester.
• Gloucester shows Edmund the letter from France and asks him to not show it to anyone or to tell anyone what he is doing. Edmund goes straight to Regan’s husband Cornwall and shows him the letter and shares with him Gloucester’s plan.
• Cornwall later punishes Gloucester by ripping his eyes out, blinding him.

King Lear, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan
• Cordelia marries the King of France without her father’s approval and moves away. But she remains loyal to her father.
• Cordelia leads the French army into Dover, England to help King Lear regain his power.
• Cordelia sends a letter to Gloucester announcing her plans to help her father regain his power.
• Because of her loyalty, Cordelia and her father are reunited
• King Lear comes to understand the selfless nature of her love for him.
• He seeks her forgiveness. Cordelia dies knowing that her father loves her. • King Lear lives, mourning her loss and tortured by his role in her destruction. Loyalty
Gloucester, Edgar, and Edmund
• Even though Gloucester sent his men to kill Edgar, he remained loyal to his father.
• Edgar pretended to be a peasant to avoid the bounty and threat on his life. • When he finds his father blinded in the woods, he guides