King Lear - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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King Lear


King Lear Themes Nothingness Cordelia has nothing to say to her father when he requests she praise him with her love. King Lear has nothing to give Cordelia because ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: King Lear

King Lear
  • Themes

  • Cordelia has nothing to say to her father when he
    requests she praise him with her love.
  • King Lear has nothing to give Cordelia because
    she has no words for him.
  • Kent has no job because he disagreed with King
  • Burgundy has no wife because Cordelia comes with
    no dowry.

  • Edmund has no title and will do anything to get
  • Goneril, Regan, Edmund have no morals
  • Gloucester has no eyes
  • Edgar has nobody he can trust

  • When many characters can literally see, they are
    figuratively blind BUT when they are literally
    blind, they can, for the first time, figuratively
  • King Lear is figuratively blind to the fact that
    Goneril and Regan are lying to him about how much
    they love him
  • King Lear is figuratively blind to the fact that
    Cordelia truly loves him
  • King Lear is figuratively blind to the fact that
    Kent only has his best interest at heart.
  • Gloucester is figuratively blind to the fact that
    Edmund is dishonest and the fact that Edgar is
    always faithful

  • Albany is figuratively blind to the fact that
    Goneril is an evil woman because of his great
    devotion to her.
  • Gloucester is literally blinded because Cornwall,
    Regan, and Goneril consider him a traitor for
    helping King Lear after they threw Lear out into
    the tempest.

Ingratitude of Others
  • Goneril Reagan are ungrateful for all their
    father has given them
  • King Lear is ungrateful for being taken care of
    by his daughters
  • Burgundy is ungrateful for the gift of Cordelia
    which he was offered
  • Edmund is ungrateful for the fact that his father
    loves him and accepts him as a legitimate son

Appearances vs Reality
  • At the beginning of the play, the Lears and other
    characters are presented as normal and caring.
    But as Shakespeare rubs away the pretty veneers
    of the characters, we find greed, betrayal, lust
    for power, and cruelty. In other words, they are
    anything but normal and caring.  

  • King Lear is disloyal to Cordelia, yet she is
    loyal to King Lear
  • King Lear is disloyal to Kent, yet he is loyal to
    King Lear
  • Goneril Regan are disloyal to King Lear and he
    treats them poorly too.
  • Goneril is disloyal to Albany, yet he is loyal to
    her until he discovers her attempt on his life.
  • Gloucester is disloyal to Edgar, yet Edgar
    remains loyal to Gloucester
  • Edmund is disloyal to Gloucester, yet Gloucester
    is loyal to Gloucester

  • Greed and lust result in the characters downfall
  • Duke of Cornwall has Kent placed in the stocks
    and Gloucesters eyes plucked out so towards the
    end of the play, he is killed.
  • Lear banishes Cordelia and Kent then so Lear
    driven out into the storm by his own wicked
  • Q How is justice served for Cordelia?

  • Being a good host is essential during the
    Elizabethan era.
  • Goneril and Regan are not gracious hosts
  • King Lear is not a good guest
  • Cornwall and Regan are not good guests whilst in
    Gloucesters home.

Madness and Insanity
  • The inclusion of madness and insanity in the play
    is Shakespeares comment on Elizabethan society
    and the clear lack of morality during this era.
  • It is especially significant that those
    characters who go mad are of great nobility.
    Thus, a comment on the ignorance of the monarchy
    and the lack of concern the monarchy has for
    lower class society.
  • Also, note that characters such as Mad Tom and
    the Fool are representative of the unrecognized
    wisdom of the lower class.

  • The storms act as pathetic fallacy. When the
    tempest is in full force, it is a reflection of
    the inner turmoil/torment that King Lear is
    forced to suffer.
  • The nature of the stars, under which Edmund is
    conceived, dictates that illegitimate children
    will be as evil as the Elizabethans believed
    astrology and witchcraft to be.

  • Both King Lear and Gloucester live rich lives,
    with no understanding of the suffering those
    living in poverty experience on a daily basis.
    It is only after all has been taken from these
    two men that they finally feel guilty for
    ignoring the plight of the poor and forgotten.
  • Once King Lear and Gloucester recognize the error
    of their ways, they feel such great grief and
    guilt for what they have done to their honorable

Age Wisdom
  • Advanced age and wisdom do not go hand-in-hand.
  • Lear is probably about 80, but he is often
    childish in his judgments until suffering reforms
    him. Shakespeare's depiction of Lear may have
    been, in part, an attempt to discredit or
    satirize the tendency of people in Elizabethan
    England automatically to revere elders and
    authority figures. 

The truth
  • Telling the truth can deeply wound the listener
    as well as the speaker.
  • Cordelia wins our admiration because she is
    forthright and sincere. However, her honesty
    offends her father, and he disowns her.
  • The Earl of Kent, a loyal subject of Lear,
    suffers banishment for speaking up for Cordelia.
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