King Lear is a play written by William Shakespeare that focuses
on the relationships of many characters, some good, and some
evil. The relationships between characters throughout all of King
Lear are extremely intense, and in the end, the intensity of the play
is what enthralls the reader. In the case of King Lear, the themes of
family dysfunction, justice and the battle between good and evil are
extremely relevant throughout the play and these themes are exhibited
by the central relationships of the play. Furthermore, the tragic
theme of King Lear is created through the outcomes of two
relationships in particular - King Lear and Goneril and Regan, and
lastly, Gloucester and his sons.
King Lear and his daughters have a very inimitable relationship.
When the play begins, Lear tests his daughters by asking them each
how much they love and adore him. Lear does this, because at this
time, Lear is hosting a party, and Lear wants to boost his own ego by
having everyone see how much his daughters love him. Goneril replies
by saying, “I love you more than the world can wield the matter.”
(Shakespeare, I. i. 54) This causes King Lear to become delighted
with Goneril. This is shown when Lear describes the land he will give
her, “… with shadowy forests with champains rich’d / with plenteous
rivers and wide skirted meads… Be this perpetual.” (Shakespeare, I.
i. 62-66) Next, Lear asks Regan, and Regan replies by saying, “I am
made as the same mettle as my sister… only she comes too short…”
(Shakespeare, I. i. 68-75) This too leaves Lear enthused. Even though
Lear is happy thus far, he will soon change his mind about his
Later on in the play, Lear goes to stay with Goneril. During
his stay, Goneril treats Lear with complete impertinence, and this is
shown when Goneril says, “As you are old and reverend, should be
wise.” (Shakespeare, I. iv. 229) This quote depicts that Lear is
getting older, but not wiser. This, along with...