Dynamics Of Family In King Lear And Fall On Your Knees

1264 words - 6 pages

The Dynamics of Family in King Lear and Fall On Your Knees
There are many reasons for a family to be dysfunctional and there is not one definition that describes what a dysfunctional family is because each family is different in a lot of ways and families are not all dysfunctional for the same reason.  Each family is unique in its own way, whether it is in size, in affection, having children, having no children, and so on. We all fail to realize the strong and inevitable effect that family has on us. In theory, families are supposed to be the most important part of who we become. Family is the main factor in the building blocks of our lives; they guide, love, support and care for us. ...view middle of the document...

Complications arise within his family through betrayal. For example, Lear thinks that Cordelia, his youngest and most faithful daughter, has betrayed him. The fact that she does not profess her love for her father, Cordelia is denied all of Lear’s fortunes and is basically disowned by her father. Lear “disclaim[s] all [his] paternal care” for Cordelia and refers to her as “a stranger...” (I.I.125-128). Lear’s rash and unreasonable decision causes him to betray Cordelia by disowning her, despite her honesty. It is apparent that this father-daughter relationship suffers due to Lear betraying Cordelia. In the end of the play, Lear achieves a sense of self-realization and he feels the effect of his actions and understands that Cordelia is the only honest daughter he has. Unlike the relationship Lear has with his other two daughters, Goneril and Regan, who betray him yet claim to “love [Lear] more than word can wield the mate” (I.I.60-61). Throughout the play, it is evident that father-daughter relationships are impacted by betrayal.
Furthermore, the complete absence of a motherly figure in King Lear has a significant effect on the plot of the play. Nowhere in the play is there any mention of a mother, or a motherly figure. The influence that a mother has on her family is very important and an absence of that causes dilemma in the case of Lear. If the mother had been there in that situation, the results would have been different. The mother could have changed Lear’s mind, or calmed him down. Also, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan could have had someone to look up to and not betray their father. To conclude, the mother’s role could have helped avoid the consequences of Lear’s irrational decision.
In comparison, in Fall On Your Knees, betrayal causes complications between the father, James Piper, and his daughter, Kathleen. Her father was her best friend and he worked very hard to put her into a private school in order to pursue her singing career. He did everything in his power to provide for Kathleen. However, he was exceedingly protective of her. When he received a letter about her from an anonymous person, James traveled to New York where Kathleen was pursuing her singing career while staying with a relative. James beat the women that Kathleen was having sexual relations with and then he had intercourse with Kathleen, who ended up becoming pregnant with twins. James locked her up in the attic of their home and she gave birth to Ambrose and Lily. Kathleen died soon after due to an incision made by her mother, Materia. The role of Kathleen’s mother and father in her betrayal and death is inexcusable. ...

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