King Lear Betrayal Essays

The Deception in King Lear

William Shakespeare's play King Lear is a play full of deceit, betrayal and meaningless promises. This becomes evident in the first few lines. We first learn of the empty words of Goneril and Regan as well as their hatred for their father, King Lear. This becomes the center of the play and also leads to the madness that the king suffers from.

The first words that Goneril speaks are totally empty and are the complete opposite of what she really feels. She says, 'Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty;' (I.i.54-55) The reason why there are no words to express her love for her father is that she has no love for him and it does not exist. The same goes for her sister, Regan, who is plotting against her father as well. She says that she feels the same way as her sister and expresses how Goneril has named her very deed of love.

Regan adds a little twist to this and professes that she loves Lear more than her sisters and that Goneril's affection for her father 'comes too short.' (I.i.71) By uttering these words, Regan shows that her love is even less true than that of her sister's. She goes even farther to say:

'...that I profess

Myself an enemy to all other joys

Which the most precious square of sense possesses,

And find I am alone felicitate

In your dear highness' love.'


This goes to show that she is more greedy than her sister and her words are also falser. She wants more than her sister and will do anything to attain her goal. Her ambition to get what she wants is evident in the words that she...

The Use of Letters in King Lear Essay

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The Use of Letters in King Lear


        William Shakespeare used letters as a dramatic device to reveal the

characters' loyalty and betrayal in his play King Lear.  The purpose of the

letter is to develop the plot and reveal the characters' attributes.  Three

letters help to develop the plot and reveal the characters of Edmund, Gloucester,

Goneril and Albany.


        The first letter that appeared on the stage is Edmund's false letter.

The letter talked about Edgar's plan to kill to his father, Gloucester.  Edmund

made up this letter to plan against his brother Edgar.  Edmund lied to

Gloucester about the letter.  This…show more content…

 Edmund decided to tell Cornwall

about Gloucester ‘s action.  Edmund told Cornwall that his father was traitor

who wanted to help France.  Edmund did this to receive more power and get the

credit from Duke of Cornwall.  The action of Edmund displayed that he would do

anything to get higher rank.  He even betrayed his father who is horribly

punished.  Edmund becomes the Earl of Gloucester.  Edmund had no loyalty to his

father.  In Act III, the letter was in Albany's hand.  Albany chose to fight the

French army and that showed his loyalty to England.


        The last letter on the stage talked about the plan of murder Albany.  It

was written by Goneril to Edmund.  Goneril didn't love her husband and planned

to kill him.  Goneril wanted Edmund to be her husband.  The letter proved that

Goneril was going to betray her husband, Albany.  This also means she would

betray their marriage.


        In King Lear, letters developed the story and displayed the characters'

loyalty or betrayal.  Edmund's false letter showed the betrayal between

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