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King Lear


concise use of textual evidence (AO1WIQ) ... language of noble characters, sign of status ... LANGAUGE PATTERNING. hendiadys. repetition. contrasts. Hendiadys ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: King Lear

King Lear Shakespeares Style
  • Extract question
  • AO1 3 assess
  • clear organisation of ideas
  • precise , accurate expression
  • concise use of textual evidence (AO1WIQ)
  • correct terminology (AO1T)
  • analysis and evaluation of form (AO3F)
  • structure (AO3ST)
  • language (AO3L)
  • imagery (AO3I)
  • understanding of implicit meanings (AO3IMP)
  • overview of text (AO3O)

  • Look out for and comment on
  • FORM
  • blank verse (iambic pentameters)
  • rhyme
  • prose

blank verse (iambic pentameters) language of
noble characters, sign of status NB Lear speaks
mainly in blank verse, except when relaxed with
Fool. Does he relapse into prose when madness
overtakes him? Edgar as Poor Tom, etc. speaks
mainly prose or rhyme except towards the end of
the play (Act V) where he becomes himself
again Audiences of time were accustomed to iambic
rhythms of actors speaking in blank verse a
change of form to prose or rhyme would have been
rhyme In addition to marking end of scene casts
a spell eg Witches speeches in Macbeth. In MND,
lovers speeches in wood, but not out of
it! marks emphasis, self-resolve Tybalts
couplets before exit of Act1v Patience perforce
with wilful choler meetingMakes my flesh tremble
in their different greeting.I will withdraw but
this intrusion shallNow seeming sweet convert to
bitter gall. Shows control Kent speaks in
rhyme when dismissed shows control, dignity
Prose when prose is spoken, it marks a deviation
from norm. when verse gt prose shows social/mental
disintegration seen in character of Lady
Macbeth. seen in Lear? Mixed with blank verse
during sustained passages of emotional
intensity 25 of King Lear is written in prose
(compared with 40 in comedies and
histories) advantage allows greater variety of
pause and emphasis
  • Look out for and comment on
  • How are the ideas arranged in the speech you are
  • How do they develop?

  • Structure use of doubles
  • antitheses and correspondences echoing
  • work as mirrors or shadows
  • provide a bridge between two strands of plot
  • Lear is perceptually blind
  • Gloucester is also physically blind
  • themes of loss, exile, suffering and tenuous
  • Cordelia, Edgar, Kent, Lear, Gloucester
  • Why?
  • multiplies and magnifies suffering
  • makes plays themes socially, panoramic and
    emotionally intense

  • In addition to terms such as noun, adjective,
    verb, adverb, pronoun (NB Royal we thou and
    you), etc
  • Look out for and comment on
  • hendiadys
  • repetition
  • contrasts

Hendiadys Two similar words separated by
and Is it pointless and excessive? Check do
they actually mean the same? Or is there a
difference that Shakespeare is exploring,
generating meaning in different
directions? slings and arrows (NB not bows and
arrows) air full of missiles, pelting danger
gt unexpectedness and unpredictability of life gt
fortune as arbitrary, careless and imprecise
gt sling suggests being slung/flung this way and
that, as on a sea of troubles arrows suggests
a martyrs prolonged pain
Repetition 1 Purely for rhetorical
effect,eg With mine own tears wash away my
balm With mine own hands I give away my
crown With mine own tongue deny my sacred
state With mine own breath release all duteous
oaths Richard II I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew
eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, If you prick us, do
we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong
us, shall we not revenge? Merchant of Venice
Repetition 2 antithesis eg From this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be The
firstlings of my hand. Macbeth contrasting the
image of newborn innocence (firstlings) with
death and annihilation linking the act of
thinking with the act of infanticide
Repetition 3 Double meaning eg If it were done
when tis done, then twere well It were done
quickly Macbeth a mixture of bluntness (do him
in) and evasion he uses pronoun and
euphemism also sounds like a nervous stutter, an
evasive circumlocution does he really want to
kill the king? repetition of done an act of
self persuasion?
Repetition 4 single words (epizeuxis) Never,
never, never, never, never King Lear creates a
dramatic black hole, sense of annihilation paradox
apparently so empty of nuance or poetry and
yet so moving we know what a line can hold, yet
by denying variation, the repeated word
accumulates sense of emptiness also plaintively
life-like makes moment very powerful a sheerness
and starkness but also thematic links to rest of
play Cordelias Nothing Edgars I nothing
am a series of characters forced to renounce
all and begin from scratch (Kent)
Puns always link to the themes obvious wordplay
in comedies subdued/latent in tragedies prerogativ
e of Fool licensed/allowed/preferred Fool used
to mock, parody or criticise the powerful
  • Look out for and comment on
  • literal senses
  • figurative similes, metaphors, personification
  • reflective pathetic fallacy

Metaphors Not used to dress up simple thoughts in
fancy language Metaphor itself is
thought blanket of the dark Not just that the
darkness is like a blanket blanket conjures up
images of - the childlike cocoon of safety,
warmth, innocence or bed and sleep which she
will be deprived of, or suffocation and the
unrepentant brutality of the murder
Character Edgar Nothing at first (look at how
little he has to say!) Edgar I nothing am Works
his way up the ladder Lunatic beggar gt Earl of
Gloucester Allegorical role? Darwinian ascent?
Mutating body? Microcosmic panorama? Shadows or
counterpoints travails of others Poor Tom gives
Lear a body and script for own suffering fake
madness sets off and highlights the reality of