King Lear-Theme Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the play King Lear, the theme that was well expressed was that of fidelity. It was evident in different relationships such as Kent with King Lear, Cordelia with King Lear, and Edgar with Gloucester.
In the beginning of the play, the Earl of Kent is banished from thr kingdom by King Lear due to the fact that he is asking him to think twice about banishing his youngest and most favourite daughter, Cordelia. If Kent were to be seen in England, the penalty would be death. With all of this going on Kent has strong loyalty to the king and feels the need to make sure that he will be allright. For instance, Kent risks his life and disguises himself for the sole purpose of looking out for the king. Now, if the king recognizes him, he will be put to death for breaking the law. This shows great courage and devotion on his behalf. In addition, when Kent and King Lear are staying with Goneril in her palace, she instructs the servants to act rudely to the king and his followers. One of her servants, Oswald, acts upon this and shows disrespect to the king. When he asks the servant if he knows who he is, Oswald replies with the greatest impertinence, “you are thy lady’s father.” With this comment, Kent is infuriated and kicks Oswald. Even though the king with great imprudence banished Kent, he would not be bitter and always worried about the well being of the king.
A father-daughter relationship is set to be irriplaceable especially in the sense of the youngest child. Cordelia has a love for her father that cannot be shown through wprds. Unfortunately due to her father’s egotistical nature, he holds a “love contest”. She refuses to speak as her sisters have and simply replies with, “I love your majesty according to my bond; no more nor less.”(I, 1, 91..92) THis sets her father to banish her from the kingdom. Her true feelings show through as she makes the effort to stayu in touch with the Earl of Gloucester to ensure her father’s welfare. Secondly, she proves her faithfulness by returning to England with her French troops in order to save her father. “O dear father! It is thy buisness that I go about, therefore, great France my mourning and importun’d tears hath pitied no blown ambition doth our arms incite, but love, dear love, and our ag’d father’s right.”(IV, 4, 102..104) If she were to be caught, she would be executed. Moreover, she shows great passion toward her father, “O my dear father! Restoration hang thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss repair those violent harms that my two sisters have in thy reverence made!”(IV, 7, 26..29) Although, at first, Cordelia could not help the situation from her position she made a great effort through staying in contact with Gloucester; in spite of being banished, she felt the need to return to her father’s side.
Loyalty and devotion are two qualities which Edgar shows toward his father Gloucester. Edgar’s brother Edmund, the illegitimate son, fabricates a story in which Edgar is trying to kill their father. When Gloucester finds out, he immediately tells the Duke of Cornwall, who in turn banishes him. Hurt by the false accusations, Edgar still proceeds to watch out for his father. He takes a chance in doing so because if he were to be discovered, he would then be killed. One of the ways in which he proves his fidelity is when he disregards the fact that he has been banished, and disguises himself as a crazy beggar in order to find his father. Moreover, when Edgar finds Gloucester to be blind he offers to help him get to Dover in order to meet the king. While on their way they run into Oswald who has strict orders from Regan to kill Gloucester if he finds him. Oswald tries to duel him, but Edgar interrupts and kills him. Edgar has made many sacrifices in order to help save Gloucester, a truly unselfish deed on his behalf. No matter the circumstance, Edgar was always there when his father needed him; that shows an incredible sense of dedication.
As one cansee through the realtionship between Kent and KIng Lear, Cordelia with KIng Lear, and the loyalty that Edgar has toward Gloucester; one can see that there is a strong bond between them. Thus, the theme of fidelity is evident throughout the play King Lear.