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writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cordelia is the good daughter in King Lear, the youngest and most loyal. She refuses to gain her father's approval with vain flatter, but rather shows her love and loyalty through her silent devotion to him. In his pride, Lear sends Cordelia away, banishing her for not praising him publicly and for not fighting for her inheritance. She marries the King of France, who shows love and devotion equal to Cordelia's by not refusing to marry her after her inheritance is taken from her (as Burgundy does). Cordelia continues to be loyal to her father despite his mistreatment of her by returning to aid him when Regan and Goneril try to usurp the throne.

Cordelia is one of the few good, static characters presented in the play. She is seen as the perfect image of what a daughter and princess should be, and stays unwavering even when it costs her very life. The death of Cordelia also shows that consequences of poor decisions affect even the most innocent of bystanders, a lesson that King Lear should have learned earlier in life. Her death is possibly the most tragic and uncalled for in the play.