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Irony At Its Finest

CORDELIA, [kissing Lear] 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.

Shakespeare, King Lear Acts 3-5 -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

I found it ironic that the three banished characters just so happened to be three of the best characters (personality-wise) in the play. King Lear only banished one daughter: Cordelia. As it turns out, Cordelia is the only one of his three daughters that actually cares about Lear's well being. The other two sisters plot his murder. Kent, the servant who was banished for speaking on Cordelia's behalf, remains loyal to Lear even after having been banished. Edgar, Gloucester's legitimate son, is banished after having been accused of treason by his illegitimate brother Edmund. Edmund's actions bring about Gloucester's death. Edgar helps his father in his time of need, despite the betrayal of having been banished. Edgar also helps to warn Albany of the plot to kill him.


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Comments (2)

MacKenzie Harbison:

What an interesting observation. But I wonder if there is any more significance to that fact or if it is just a coincidence?


Also, you should check out how King Lear and Glouchester's stories are parallel. I think that this is one of the most interesting parts of the story. Both Lear and Glouchester banish the honest and noble child and put the evil characters in power. I think that Shakespeare made it this way on purpose, it was no coincidence that Lear and Glouchester were fooled and called out on their mistakes.

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