In King Lear, how does Cordelia attempt to navigate her dilemma of freedom and justice?

Cordelia attempts to navigate the dilemma between freedom and justice by recognizing the injustice of her father's love test and the false freedom she would receive if she attained part of the kingdom in that way. She insists on behaving with true justice and finds true freedom in her husband's love. She also fights for both justice and freedom for her father.

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In Shakespeare's King Lear, Cordelia has quite the dilemma indeed. She must choose between the virtue of justice and the false freedom the world wants to give her.

Cordelia's father wants to split the kingdom between his three daughters, but to do so, he develops a test, asking his...

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In Shakespeare's King Lear, Cordelia has quite the dilemma indeed. She must choose between the virtue of justice and the false freedom the world wants to give her.

Cordelia's father wants to split the kingdom between his three daughters, but to do so, he develops a test, asking his daughters to express their love for him. Cordelia's sisters, Regan and Goneril, fall all over themselves flattering their father.

Cordelia, though, refuses to do that. She simply tells her father that she loves him as a daughter should love her father—no more, no less. Lear is offended, but he should not be. Cordelia is acting out of a sense of justice. She does love her father, but she refuses to go overboard about it. Everything must be in proper proportion. She would rather have justice and honesty than the "freedom" of a kingdom. Lear subsequently banishes Cordelia, extremely unjustly.

Cordelia, thankfully, has another option. She marries the French king, who loves her and accepts her even though her father will no longer provide her with a dowry. Cordelia has found true freedom in her husband's love.

Yet Cordelia keeps track of what is going on in England, and when she hears how her sisters are mistreating their father and how he has refused to submit to his daughters and has left home, she prepares an army to come to her father's aid. We can see that Cordelia holds no grudge against her father, and when he is being treated unjustly and loses his freedom, she is more than willing to come and help him.

Things don't go well for Cordelia's army, however, and both she and Lear end up dead by the end of the play. Even so, Cordelia has held firmly to her principles of justice and true freedom, balancing those by means of real love.

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