• Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 20-09-17 16:24

Goneril is the oldest of Lear's three daughters and the wife to Albany. She is quite an unemotional character but she is certainly a dangerous  one. Whilst it would be too simplistic to simply call her a villain she does kill her own sister and thus Goneril is certainly no hero.

Villainous character

  • The first impression of Goneril is one of deceit. She unrealistically exaggerates her love for Lear and all for the motive of greed. It could be argued that a chief facet of Goneril's character is one of greed. Her pursuit of power and land, her pride for which reason she uses the royal pronoun of 'our' and her sabotage of Edmund's relationship with Regan so that she may marry him.
  • She, and Regan, so abandon their father to a great storm. The act of such cruelty of leaving an old father out on the heath during a thunder storm shows how dangerous her character is.
  • Goneril also cheats on her husband Albany with Edmund and mocks the former at several times, all of which not only show her dissatisfaction at her marriage but also her self-serving nature. Goneril does  go further to plan her husband's own murder but she attempts to use Edmund to do the deed itself.
  • Perhaps the defining feature of Goneril's cruelty is her murder of Regan. Goneril directly kills her sister in cold blood, which highly suggests how emotional and dangerous she has become in her relationship with Edmund.
  • To a Jacobean audience her suicide could also be seen as a criminal act. It was illegal to kill yourself at the time with very strong religious condemnation at the act. Whilst a modern audience might not have the same conceptions, Goneril does kill herself to escape some kind of justice for her actions which is a testimony to her unjust nature.
  • Unlike the other character, Goneril never speaks with elaborate imagery hinting at her rather unemotional and


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