This is my first time reading Shakespeare’s, King Lear and I can’t help but feel like there is just no loyalty whatsoever. On top of that, it seems like everyone just jumps the gun and does not really think things through first.
We can see this take place several times throughout the play. For starters, Cordelia’s response to loving her father was not taken by the king the right way. He mistakes her lack of speech on her love of him to heart. In actuality it was her lack of public devotion to her father that should have shown him that she truly loved him because she was not willing to put on a show and play into the game like her sisters Goneril and Regan did. I think that this also shows the immature quality in the king, he wants to be admired and loved even if it is not meaningful. It is basically the best proclamation of love that will determine which daughter will gain power. Is it better to be loved for the wrong reason? Instead of just loving his daughters equally and not wanting to be fawned over, King Lear takes her remark the wrong way and banishes her from the kingdom. When in all actuality we later see that it is Cordelia that is the one who truly cares the most about her father.
When Gloucester is told by Edmund that Edgar has been planning to kill him we see that Gloucester does not have much faith in Edgar nor gives it much thought that it could possibly be a false accusation. Again, we see a character jumping the gun and having no loyalty or faith in their child. This play feeds off of impulse. Just like with King Lear and his daughter Cordelia, it is Edgar that comes to aid his father when push comes to shove. Edgar comforts his father after his eyes have been gauged out (another act of impulse) and wants to commit suicide by jumping off the cliff. Edgar could have gotten rid of his father and the manhunt that is out for him at the time but it is his genuine love for his father that has him stay and ultimately fight for him in battle. Just like Cordelia who stands by King Lear’s side even though he banished her. It is genuine love from both Edgar and Cordelia that show that love can allow people to forgive the foolish impulses of others.
Spoiler alert: At the end of the play we see this betrayal rear its ugly head again. With both sisters head over heels for Edmund they are willing to go against each other to get what they want. Goneril betrays her husband, Albany and ultimately betrays her sister by poisoning her to get what she wants; Edmund.