King Lear – LOYALTY QUOTES – English Lit

Reserve thy state,And in thy best consideration checkThis hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment,Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,Nor are those empty-hearted whose low soundReverb no hollowness. (1.1.167-173) After Lear foolishly disowns Cordelia, Kent stands up and urges the king to “reverse” his decision to ban his only loving and loyal daughter. Even Kent can see that Goneril and Regan will betray their father—they’re “empty-hearted” and their flattering words mean nothing.
EDMUND[…] Edmund the baseShall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper. (1.2.21-22) Because Edmund feels he’s been shafted by society and his father (for being an illegitimate and second-born son), he justifies his disloyalty and scheming against his family. Edmund feels entitled to “grow” and “prosper” at the expense of his father and half-brother. For him, there is no such thing as family loyalty or duty.
CORNWALLSee ‘t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.— Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.GLOUCESTERHe that will think to live till he be old,Give me some help! As Servants hold the chair, Cornwall forces out one of Gloucester’s eyes. O cruel! O you gods!REGANOne side will mock another. Th’ other too. (3.7.81-86) Cornwall blinds Gloucester for being a “traitor” (that is, loyal to King Lear). Is Gloucester under any obligation to serve Cornwall?
CORDELIA, to LearWe are not the firstWho with best meaning have incurred the worst. (5.3.4-5) Cordelia seems to recognize that she is one in a long line of people who gets shafted while trying to do the right thing. The kicker is that she doesn’t yet know “the worst” consists of her death.
REGAN[…] Shut up your doors:He is attended with a desperate train,And what they may incense him to, being aptTo have his ear abused, wisdom bids fear.CORNWALLShut up your doors, my lord. ‘Tis a wild night.My Regan counsels well. Come out o’ th’ storm. (2.4.348-353) Regan seems pretty cold-blooded, don’t you think? Not only has she driven her aging father from her home and out into the storm, she also orders her husband to lock the doors behind him! There’s no compassion in Regan (or her sister Goneril, for that matter).

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