Two Sides Of Loyalty In King Lear

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Bennett Dr. Blanchard AP Literature 28 March 2012 The Two Sides of Loyalty in King Lear In the play, King Lear, by William Shakespeare, loyalty is one of many themes portrayed. Kent, King Lear’s servant, and Cordelia, his daughter, both display this honorable trait throughout this story. They stick by Lear through thick and thin even after he banishes them foolishly and without thought. This type of loyalty is often viewed as a good thing and in actuality saves Lear from destroying himself but it also has a downside in the play. This loyalty to Lear and what he stands for is part of the reason that Kent and Cordelia are banished and even leads to the death of Cordelia. Shakespeare uses loyalty in two different ways throughout the play. He uses it to show the good in characters such as Kent and Cordelia but also uses it to create the destruction of several of the characters including Cordelia. To fully understand the effect that loyalty has on the play, we must first look at the way Shakespeare presents the trait. He starts off with a test of loyalty for Kent and Cordelia in the form of banishment by Lear. He begins to show how loyalty can have bad effects in this scene when the two characters are actually reprimanded for displaying what many would view as loyalty and love to Lear. Cordelia refuses to show her love for Lear in the way that he sisters did before her with kind words and masterfully crafted compliments and even states, “Then poor Cordelia! / and yet not so, since I am sure my Eldredge 2 love’s/ more ponderous than my tongue” (I.i.77-79). Cordelia believes that she is being loyal to Lear by not lying to him and just telling him things that he wants to hear like her sisters are doing but this backfires, as Lear is not happy with this. Kent also falls into this trap in the same scene. He sees that Lear is making a mistake in
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