King Lear Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are Cordelia's and The Fool's dramatic functions in the play King Lear?

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Cordelia serves to remind Lear of what really matters in life. The old king foolishly divided up his kingdom between his daughters, demanding a public vow of love from each of them in return. But because Cordelia refuses to play ball, Lear angrily banishes her, leaving his kingdom in the wicked, grasping hands of Regan and Goneril.

Despite her refusal to play along with his charade, and despite Lear's unjust treatment of her, Cordelia still loves her father deeply. Her continued presence in the play reminds us of the enduring nature of true love, not the fake variety displayed by Regan and Goneril. Cordelia represents reality over appearances, truth over lies, and loyalty over treachery.

The Fool functions primarily to show Lear for the fool that he is. In Shakespeare, fools are often used to provide a running commentary on events, to give us an insight into the drama as it unfolds. They also offer a wise perspective on the characters and their motivations, subjecting their behavior to...

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