King Lear Feminist Analysis

1862 Words8 Pages
plays. The reading, although borrowed from the feminist perspective, is not a fully blown feminist reading of Shakespeare’s works. The focus of the study comprises of the social circumstances and the misogynistic actions of the male characters and how these impact on the lives of the female characters. The relationships between the male and the female characters are often characterized by the physical and the psychological victimization and their feelings. Men allow their egos to persuade their decisions, attack their internal emotions and demolish virtuous women who are forced to become victims of political intrigues and machinations. This paper also tries to analyse the way Shakespeare tried to portray women as bold, independent and not…show more content…
There are three women in King Lear, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. They all are daughters of the King Lear. Cordelia, is portrayed as a loving daughter and a virtuous woman. In spite of her virtue and piety, she is presented as a woman who subscribes to patriarchy and patriarchal values in letter and spirit. She is not free to decide about her marriage. Her lack of tact mars her fortunes. She leaves the palace of her father without the least protest. She comes back to England to the rescue of her father. Goneril and Regan are portrayed as monsters. They are liars, hypocrites, greedy and selfish. They are morally corrupt and are loyal to no one. Even Cordelia, who apparently is almost perfect daughter and with all the good qualities, is the one that in a way is cause of the destruction of everything,. The play opens with the old king surrendering his kingdom and authority to his daughters. He asks his daughters to express their love for their father before he hands over their respective territories to them. Goneril, being the eldest, is the first to oblige. The hypocrite, cunning and false Goneril declares that she loves her father more than anything in this wide world, including life, liberty and eye-sight. She does not show any sympathy for or say any kind words to Cordelia when she is banished by their father for saying nothing, and thus offending the old fond father. Instead, she hurts her further by declaring that she deserves her present dowerless status and future possible unkind treatment from her husband, because in her opinion Cordelia asked for it. Gonrel is portrayed as cruel and ungenerous, instead of being grateful and obliged towards her father, as claimed in her earlier speech, she points out his rashness, unstable nature, poor judgment and bad temperament (I—i---290). Now she discovers not only the imperfections of long- engrafted condition in the person of her father, but she believes that these have
Open Document