The Concept of Love in King Lear

Categories: King Lear

King Lear, who is the main character of the self-titled play, is genuinely tragic. He is driven by avarice and conceit. In addition, he is known for his obstinacy and imperious temper. He often acts based on feelings and impulsiveness. He values appearances over the real world. He wants to be worshipped as ruler and reap the benefits of the title, but he doesn’t have the desire to fulfill his commitments as ruler to oversee for the benefit of his people.

Additionally, his examination of his daughters shows that he values a public display of love rather than genuine love. He doesn’t ask ‘which of you doth love us most,’ yet rather, ‘which of you will we say doth love us most?’ (I.i.49). Most readers presume that Lear is just incognizant in regards to reality. Subsequently, he passes his legacy to Goneril and Regan on the grounds that they compliment him with the words he needs to hear.

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In the meantime, he exiles Cordelia, the only daughter who truly loves him. Also, when his counsel, Kent, cautions him this wasn’t a good idea, Lear tosses him out, as well. So, Lear needs to deal with the power struggle his retirement started without two of the only people who could have smoothed the change.

As a result of his pride and misjudgment, Lear suffers greatly throughout the play due to the savageries dispensed upon him by his older, unappreciative daughters. They treat him with hatred, strip him of his dignity and power by declining his demand of one hundred knights, and requesting that the staff treat him with disdain.

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Lear is treated as a rag-doll and is left outside to withstand ‘the storm’.

An imperative thing to ask is whether Lear changes as a character—regardless of whether he gains from his mistakes and improves as an increasingly savvy person. The appropriate response is no: he doesn’t totally recoup his mental soundness and rise as a superior lord. In any case, his qualities do change through the span of the play. Due to his evil treatment, Lear experiences a slight difference in character. Lowered by the loss, he eventually starts to see the mistakes of his past. Lear may perceive his faults for once, including that he has wronged his devoted daughter Cordelia, an epiphany of sorts. The storm appears to be an indication of his anger, and—as yet sticking to the regal objective—Lear directions it to strike where he, being frail, can’t. When Lear takes a gander at the shuddering, half-exposed Poor Tom the homeless person and presumes this is genuine humankind.

‘Thou craftsmanship the thing itself,’

As he understands his shortcoming in contrast with the marvelous powers of the characteristic world, he turns into a modest person. When he reunites with Cordelia, he exhibits his new-found humbleness and asks apology. ‘I am an exceptionally absurd affectionate elderly person’ (IV.vii.61), he tells her sadly, and he says that she has ‘some cause’ to despise him. Cordelia’s moving reaction (‘No reason, no, cause’) seals their compromise. Love and absolution, encapsulated in Lear’s daughter join with lowliness and atonement, and joy wins. He comes to treasure Cordelia above everything else and to put his very own adoration for Cordelia over each other thought, to the point that he would prefer to live in jail with her than live as king again.

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The Concept of Love in King Lear. (2021, Oct 08). Retrieved from

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