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Analyse Goneril and Regan's speech. How does they use the language?Which rhetorical...

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silanmaria | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:16 PM via web

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Analyse Goneril and Regan's speech. How does they use the language?

Which rhetorical devices do they use?


”Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; / Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty; / Beyond what can be valued rich or rare; / No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour; / As much as a child e’er lov’d, or father found; A love that makes breath poor and speech unable; Beyond all manner of so much I love you”



”I am made of that self metal as my sister, / And prize me at her worth. In My true heart / I find she names my very deed of love; / Only she comes too short: that I profess / Myself an enemy to all other joys / Which the most precious square of sense possesses, / And find I am alone felicitate / In your Dear highness’ love.”


And the same for CORDELIA:

”Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
/ My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
/ According to my bond; no more nor less.”


Hope to hear from you guys!

1 Answer | Add Yours

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted January 7, 2011 at 4:53 AM (Answer #1)

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Both Goneril and Regan tell Lear what he wants to hear.  They basically use hyperbole.  First the eldest, Goneril , gushes forth her love.  Words are cheap and they come easy for her.  She knows her father well and tells him what he wants to hear.  Not to be out done, Regan trys to out do her sister.  "What she and let me add..."

Cordelia is honest and what she says comes from the heart which she cannot heave into her mouth.  What an amazing image that is.  She cannot say what is in her heart because words just don't seem to be able to convey what she feels for her old father.  It is simple and direct and not what her father wants to hear.  He wants his ego stroked.  He doesn't understand love is expansive, not reductive.  It is actions not words that define love.  It is a lesson Lear learns at the end of his journey and play.   

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