In the harsh world of King Lear, loyalty is rare. Surviving in an unstable political situation means that many people focus on the bottom line: saving their own skins. But there are some characters in the play who demonstrate extraordinary loyalty, such as Kent and Cordelia. The play celebrates this virtue, but it also shows that it can be dangerous. Loyalty is not appreciated, but rather ignored. In some cases, loyalty means death, and in all cases, it means suffering.
King Lear suggests that in a politically unstable country, the price of loyalty is too high to pay. When politics are at stake, those who act according to principle will be punished.
In King Lear, even the most selfless acts of loyalty remain painfully unacknowledged. Yet, because loyalty is its own reward, loyal characters are happy in their choices.