Rejection in King Lear
An important idea present in William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” is
rejection and the role this rejection plays in the experiences of the involved
characters. The important ideas to be considered here are the causes and
effects associated with the act of rejection. The most important situations to
be considered in the story of “King Lear” are those that develop between the
two fathers, Lear and Gloucester, and their children, Goneril and Regan,
Cordelia, Edmund, and Edgar. Each case falls on a different plane, but it is
important to consider the similarities between the positions of Lear and
Gloucester. The rejection of Lear by his two daughters, Goneril and Regan, can be
seen as a type of revenge. Throughout their lives they had always been far
behind Cordelia in the king’s eyes. As a result of this second-hand treatment,
Goneril and Regan carried with them an immense amount of hatred and when Lear
divided his kingdom between them, they both openly rejected his presence in
their lives. ” Some other time for that. – Beloved Regan, she hath tied sharp-
tooth’d unkindness, like a vulture here, – I can speak scarce to thee ; thou’lt
not believe with how depraved quality – O Regan ( King Lear II.iii )!
Goneril’s response further clarifies this rejection. ” Good sir, no more ;
these are unsightly tricks : return you to my sister ( King Lear II.iii ).
Lear’s reaction is pure rage. He understands that he had not given them too
much of his time, but he had given them their percentage of the kingdom only
because they had made a pledge to him that they would care for him in his
elder years. The bond broken in this situation is a very weak one. The only
thing that held it together was this flimsy pledge that the daughters had no
intention of honoring. But no matter the conditions, he was their father and
his well-being was a sort of payment for their very existence.
Cordelia’s rejection of Lear breaks a much stronger bond. Lear loses his
entire life purpose when Cordelia turns Lear away.
Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, lov’d me : I