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King Lear


King Lear King Lear Author: Shakespeare Culture: English Time: 1608 CE (early 17th century) Genre: drama (tragedy) Names to know: Lear, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: King Lear

King Lear
King Lear Author Shakespeare Culture
English Time 1608 CE (early 17th century) Genre
drama (tragedy) Names to know Lear, Goneril,
Regan, Cordelia, Edmund, Kent, Gloucester,
  • King Lear explores the issues of
  • Egotism (need for flattery is a tragic flaw)
  • Madness (leads to the insight which he lacks)
  • Love Loyalty (exposes the Kent, Cordelia and
    Edgar as those who have insight and are true)
  • The influence of Modernity (division of land
    causes division amongst Lears daughters)
  • Unnatural Lears abdication of the throne and
    division of land, Gloucester choosing
    illegitimate over legitimate son creates chaos in
    a society that regards natural order.

Issue Unnatural behaviour
  • Animal imagery reinforces unnatural behaviour.
    Lears reference to cannibals, pelicans and
    predatory animals serve as illustrations of the
    unnatural behaviour of Goneril Regan as well as
    that of Gloucesters son - Edmund.

Issue Loyalty
  • Lears question Do you love me? effectively
    turns daughter on daughter in a betrayal of
    loyalty and trust.
  • Cordelia remains true even though she is banished
    for her truthful love
  • Her response of Nothing introduces a main theme
    that is present in the double plot line.
    Gloucester believes the contents of a letter
    outlining betrayal which was actually nothing
    as Edmund ironically answered him upon request to
    read it.

Issue Love Loyalty
  • Like Edgar, Cordelia remains true to her father
    and holds the ideal love - one that suffers in
    patience, is sacrificed for truth and honour to
    restore order to a chaotic world.

  • Kent is a remains a servant although banished
    from Lears sight.
  • Kent begs Lear to see better when pleading with
    him to reconsider his decision to disown
  • Kent remains loyal, but due to Lears blindness
    he must do this in disguise because he must
    remain out of Lears sight.

  • How does this image link to Lear?
  • An image often used in the play the wheel of
    fortune and a wheel of torture and suffering.

Issue Justice Fate
  • Fortune can tie you to the wheel so as to turn
    you through fortune to poverty and back on a
    whim. Fortune is often pictured as a whore
    granting or refusing favours as the mood takes

Parallel Plots
  • Parallel Plots
  • Each family centers on an aging father
  • Lear imperious tyrant
  • Gloucester gullible
  • Each sees his children through a distorted lens,
  • turning against the child who truly loves him,
  • unleashing in the other children greed, lust,
  • ambition.

Issue Modernity
  • The MAP is the symbol of the modern world imposed
    on a world without measurable boundaries.
  • Lears constitutional monarch conflicts with
    the Elizabethan world scene.

  • King Lear Themes
  • Sight-Insight/Blindness-lack of insight
  • Nothing
  • Natural/Unnatural
  • Flattery
  • Madness
  • Judgment
  • Appearance vs. reality
  • world view of Renaissance Christian Humanist and

Act 1
Scene 1 Lear divides country, Disowns
Cordelia Cordelia bids farewell to sisters
Scene 3 Goneril and Oswald
Scene 2 Edmund soliloquy Conspiracy theory Advice
to Edgar
Scene 5 Lear sends Kent to Regan Lear and Fool
Scene 4 Kent to serve Lear as Caius Lear and
Fool Lear and Goneril
Act 1, Scene 1
  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • Shakespeare sets out the premise for the play
    (the crazy idea out of which all follows)
  • King Lear, intending to divide his power and
    kingdom among
  • his three daughters, demands they publicly
    profess their love
  • for him. Cordelia refuses to put on that show.
  • In revenge, Lear strips her of her dowry, divides
    the kingdom
  • between the other two, then banishes the Earl of
    Kent, who
  • dares to protest Lears rash and unfair actions
    toward Cordelia.

Insight/Seeing Imagery
  • Act 1
  • Hence and avoid my sight Out of my sight!
  • See better, Lear
  • If it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles

  • Complications
  • The king of France marries Cordelia despite
  • her lack of dowry.
  • Lear tells Goneril and Regan that they and
  • their husbands should divide his powers and
  • revenues he will keep 100 knights and will
  • live with them each by turns.

Act 1, Scene 2
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • Introduction of the Sub-plot
  • Gloucesters two sons Edmund Edgar
  • Gloucesters relationship with them
  • Sub-plot amplifies reverberates themes and
    issues explored in the main plot
  • Ordinary jealousies, demands, and desires begin
    to be taken to extremes.
  • Edmund plots to displace Edgar as Gloucesters
  • What does he tell his father about Edgar?
  • Is it true?

King Lear Act 1 Scene 2
  • Edmunds Speech in the beginning
  • The Issue of Nature
  • The Elements
  • Natural Order of Things
  • Nature , Natural Unnatural

King Lear Act 1 Scene 3
  • What did we expect?
  • Is Goneril unreasonable if she is irritated by
    her fathers antics?
  • Are our suspicions confirmed by Gonerils

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Act 1, Scene 3
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Lear has gone to live with Goneril.
  • Why does Goneril become so angry with her
  • father?
  • What does she tell her steward, Oswald, to tell
  • Lear?

King Lear Act 1 Scene 4
  • Kent Disguised
  • Disguise as an important feature of Shakespearean
  • Appearances vs Reality (able to be pulled off
    because of a lack of insight in characters such
    as Lear and Gloucester)

Act 1, Scene 4
  • Act 1, Scene 4
  • The Earl of Kent returns in disguise, offers
    his services to Lear, and is accepted.
  • Goneril and Lear confront each other - what
    does Goneril demand, and how does Lear react?

King Lear Act 1 Scene 4
  • Purpose of Disguise
  • Dramatic irony, where the audience is aware of
    something (in this case the true identity of
    characters) that characters in the play are not.
    This creates tension in a play and excites the
    audience actions take place on the stage, of
    which the audience knows the import, but
    characters on the stage do not.
  • It also creates a setting for a great deal of
    irony where characters make comments that take on
    a double meaning.

King Lear Act 1 Scene 4
  • Development of Features of Act 1 Scene 3
  • Lear starting to lose grip
  • Goneril shows her true colours
  • Lear begins to regret

King Lear Act 1 Scene 4
  • Entrance of the Fool
  • Traditional role of the fool
  • Magic status of the fool
  • Ability to see say what others cant

King Lear Act 1 Scene 4
  • Entrance of the Fool
  • The Wise fool
  • Effect of the fool on Lear
  • The Fools Advice
  • Song 1 Line 120
  • Song 2 Line 145

Act 1, Scene 5
  • Act 1, Scene 5
  • Lear sets out for Regans with his Fool.
  • The disguised Kent goes ahead with a letter
  • for Regan.

Issue Madness
  • Lears realisation of the betrayal of professed
    love leads him to madness and the insights
    necessary for him, and the audience, to recognise
    the need to know and see reality.

King Lear Suffering
  • King Lear Suffering (the sadness of old age)
  • Lear makes a big mistake - he gives up his basis
    for power, but still expects to be treated as
  • He rages against his own pain until his sanity
  • He dies without being able to profit from his
    learning through suffering. In King Lear, most of
    the characters suffer. They react to suffering in
    different ways
  • Some harden their hearts
  • Some indulge in violence
  • Some try to alleviate others suffering

The promised end
  • When order is restored there can be no life for
    Lear. Cordelias death and the knowledge of his
    own weakness - as a man and as a Monarch means
    that he, too, must die.
  • Is this the promised end? Or image of that

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