Character Outline: Cordelia & King Lear

English Outline                                                   Cordelia & King Lear

In Act 1.1 of the play ‘King Lear’ by William Shakespeare, the author characterizes and develops conflict between the protagonist King Lear and his daughter, Cordelia through the use of metaphors, allusion, similes, asides and diction with both positive and negative connotation. The conversing of the two characters is preceded by King Lear announcing his controversial decision to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, according to the volume of their love for him. Although Lear is not legally surrendering his title or power, he is speculatively retiring. His first two daughters profess their unyielding, unwavering love dramatically to their father, and speak almost as if to a lover. Their words are flamboyant but their intentions are selfishly baleful. Cordelia is embarrassed by the show, as the Love Test is being displayed before the court, and when called upon she states her love modestly and honestly. However, her response is much too unpretentious for Lear and sparks anger in him. He originally planned to give his youngest daughter the largest share, but now his sore ego disowns Cordelia through a slew of graphic insults. Ironically later in the play, she proves to be the only daughter whose love is shown in her actions. After the divisive conversation, Kent defends Cordelia and scolds Lear openly, which results in his banishment.   Now dowerless, she is married off to France whom accepts her graciously.
  * Cordelia was Lear’s favourite daughter previous to the argument. Lear introduces his first two daughters merely stating their order of birth “Goneril, /Our eldest born, speak first (lines 52-3).” “What’s says our second daughter/Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall (lines 66-7)?”   Whereas Cordelia is introduced with a term of endearment “Now, our joy (line 81)” Lear is speaking in the royal plural, he is really saying ‘My...