Truth Disguised By Words



Truth Disguised by Words

Throughout history people have used disguises to deceive others to hide their true identity. Hiding ones true identity is a predominant theme throughout King Lear for characters dress up to deceive their friends and family. Another use of disguise in this play is using words to hide ones true emotions and personality. Words have a strong importance to the characters in this play which leads to easy manipulation. Three characters use words that do not reflect their true feelings to deceive and manipulate their friends and family to do things that they would otherwise not do if their true intentions were know. These three characters are Goneril and Regan, the two eldest daughters of King Lear, and Edmund, the illegitimate son of Gloucester. They lie, deceive, fabricate evidence, overpower and betray their father and the other people closest in their lives, including each other. All three of these characters have used their mastery of the English language to portray an intention different from their true feelings and emotions and succeed in fooling the other characters in the play to obey them.

Throughout King Lear cruelty and selfishness is an ongoing theme and sentiment which is mainly generated from Lear\'s two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan. Though these two sisters are virtually one character during most of the play they do even turn on each other when need takes over their heart. Goneril and Regan begin the play by professing their deep undying love for their father. These speeches were necessary if they wish to aquire their deserved piece of land and power from their father. In these two speeches Goneril and Regan use such phrases as "A love that makes breath poor and speech unable"(I, i, 60) and "And find I am alone felicitate / In your dear highness\' love." (I, i, 75-6) while the daughter with the truest love towards her father refuses to speak for she "cannot heave / My heart into my mouth."(I, i, 91-2). The love Cordelia could not express in words her sisters were able to so insincerely, for if their love was true love it would not be able to be expressed in just words because emotion would take over any meaning words had. This is the first time we see them speak in the play and their first words are insincere which is definitely a sign of the lack of respect they give to the meaning of words throughout the continuation of the play. In this scene they deceive their father into giving them his land and power with a few false words of love. Soon after, in act I scene iv, Goneril\'s intentions become clear when she disrespects her father and begins to order him around the way a mother would a small child, Lear curses her to have a thankless child or none at all. Though Goneril seeks revenge on her father she does not seem to care or be hurt by his words, either because words have so little truth and meaning to her or because she cares so little for her father. It becomes obvious that Regan feels the same way when they both gang up against Lear at Gloucester\'s home and order Gloucester to leave him out in the storm. Throughout this time Goneril has been misinforming and threatening her husband, Albany, to stay on her side instead of being loyal to his king, and though Albany finds her to be paranoid her stays loyal to the one he thinks loves him. Goneril and Regan do begin to show their true cruel nature in act III especially in scene vii, but they soon begin to lie and hide their true emotions again but this time it is to each other. Goneril and Regan want more than power and land they both want the love of Edmund. Goneril shows affection for him first even though she is still married to Albany, but then after Regan\'s husband, Cornwall, dies she goes after Edmund and wins his love over Goneril. At this point of the play they start to go behind each other\'s back and even try to deceive one another right under their nose. This becomes an interesting battle of words and meaning between the two sisters, as