Take a Hint, Lear!

When I began reading King Lear Act 1 I could not believe what Lear was asking his daughters to do! “Which of you shall we say doth love us most,” (1.1.49) how could a father ask his daughters to choose who loves him the most, and why would one want to know such a thing? Wouldn’t you like to think they all love you equally? I think what Cordelia did was remarkable. No matter what was at stake she decided she would not play this immature game and to me that says a lot about her character. Even though Cordelia’s honesty cost her her inheritance she still did what she felt was right in her heart. “Unhappy as I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty according to my bond; nor more nor less.” (1.1.90) I took this as Cordelia not wanting to lower herself to this level of competition and wear her heart on her sleeve, and why should she have to? On a more serious note, can’t Lear take a hint? How many people need to tell him that disowning Cordelia is a bad idea? How many people must tell him splitting everything between his other two daughters is a mistake before he comprehends it? First Kent, then Fool. How many more people need to tell him he’s making a bad decision? I feel like Lear has quite the anger problem, poor Kent, he’s known Lear for a long long time and for him to treat him that way when he was trying to help was god awful. “Five days we do allot thee, for provision to shield thee from diseases of the world; and on the sixth to turn thy hated back upon our kingdom: if on the tenth day following they banished trunk be found in our dominions. the moment is thy death. Away! by Jupiter, this shall not be revoked.” How do you banish someone that has been working for you for years from his home and threaten him that if he were to return he will be killed, KILLED! In a way, I feel like Lear is asking for it, his one daughter not answering him, the other being rude and unwelcoming..by giving them the ultimatum he did was a recipe for disaster. He obviously doesn’t know his daughters well and could certainly use the time he is taking off to get to know them because had he known what he knows now perhaps he wouldn’t have offered his wealth and lands to them. It seems to me Cordelia, the only daughter he disowned, was the only one that really deserves his inheritance. I mean I would have been offended too if I were Lear’s daughter, he should know how much he is loved and shouldn’t have pressured his girls into such a predicament. It seems there is still quite a bit that needs to be hashed out and I cannot wait to find out what happens next!


One thought on “Take a Hint, Lear!

  1. Elaine L.

    I think you have pointed out a lot about King Lear that is incredibly important to the way the play is going to work out. King Lear is acting out of sorts: People seemed genuinely surprised that he banished Kent and disinherited his favorite daughter. I think what all of this is showing is Lear’s rapid demise as a king and as a father.


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