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Title: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_cudK8MwW64I/SOrJ8SJ3ELI/AAAAAAAAHQM/dgSYqf1XGgc/s400/king-lear.jpg


1
King Lear
by William Shakespeare
http//1.bp.blogspot.com/_cudK8MwW64I/SOrJ8SJ3ELI/
AAAAAAAAHQM/dgSYqf1XGgc/s400/king-lear.jpg
2
Gloucester
Lear
Kent
Edgar
insanity
blindness
Foils
Edgar
Goneril
Regan
Edmond
Cordelia
3
Lear
Goneril
Regan
Cordelia
4
  • Set in ancient Britain
  • King Lears kingdom is to be divided among his 3
    daughters
  • Goneril- wife of an Albanian duke
  • Regan- wife of the Duke of Cornwall
  • Cordelia- soon to be married to the French King
    or a French duke

(Chute 207 and Magill 442-3)
5
  • King Lear puts his daughters to a test to see who
    loves him the most
  • Lear asks his daughters to express their
    affections for him. Appealing to his vanity, the
    two oldest cajole him with pretexts of affection.
    Each get one third of his kingdom.
  • Though she loves her father, the youngest refuses
    to cajole her father into getting the last third
    of his possessions then let truth alone be your
    dowery (2.1).

6
  • King Lear disowns his youngest daughter and gives
    the rest of the land to the other two (which
    means1/3 of land is divided into 2 and added to
    the 1/3 already received) What does this equal?
  • His subject, Kent, disagrees with the kings
    decision and is consequently banished. But being
    the dear friend, he disguises himself to care for
    the aging king.
  • Because she has no dowery, the Duke no longer
    wants Cordelia as his bride, but the French king
    does.

½ the land
7
  • King Lear plans to stay with each of his eldest
    daughters for a month
  • somewhat to test them
  • somewhat to stroke his ego
  • This displeases the two daughters
  • neither wants to deal with the old man,
  • but both are blatant cajolers, typical of
    courtiers of the time.

8
Cordelia to her father My loves more rich
than my tongue. (1.1)
Lear to Cordelia Nothing will come of
nothing. (1.1)
Lears soliloquy How sharper than a serpents
tooth it is to have a thankless child! (1.4)
Lear to all Have more than thou showest, speak
less than thou knowest, lend less than thou
owest. (1.4)
9
Gloucester
Lear
Kent
Edgar
Edgar
Goneril
Regan
Edmond
Cordelia
10
  • Similarly
  • The Earl of Gloucester is conflicted with his
    sons
  • Edmund- illegitimate son, cunning villain
  • Edgar- legitimate son, good, betrayed by bro
  • Edmund makes his father believe that Edgar is
    trying to kill him.
  • Edmund does this in order to gain exclusive
    control of his fathers land.

11
  • King Lear visits Goneril first
  • She hates her fathers presence and tries to
    control her father. This only enrages him and
    hastens his senility.
  • Her husband tries to calm King Lear fearing
    retribution, but Lear leaves to visit the second
    daughter.

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t076a.jpg
12
  • The banished Earl of Kent
  • (sympathetic to Cordelia) disguises himself
  • and becomes King Lears
  • new servant in order to
  • protect his king/friend
  • from his own daughters.

http//dmystudio.com/act/simpleBlue/p7hg_img_1/ful
lsize/gal4_fs.jpg
13
  • King Lear sends a servant (his good friend) with
    a letter to Regan.
  • Goneril also sends a servant with
  • a letter to Regan.
  • Edmund convinces his father that
  • Edgar wants both of them dead.
  • In order to protect his pretext, Edmund convinces
    Edgar to flee, and then Edmund incriminates him
    in a conspiracy (treason).

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14
  • King Lear still believes Regan will be kind to
    him, but he soon finds out otherwise.
  • She, too, insults him and ridicules him driving
    him further into senility.
  • King Lear and his servant (Kent incognito) escape
    into a storm.
  • Gloucester is worried and urges Lear to find
    protection under the French King and Cordelias
    protection.

15
  • Ironically for his service, Gloucester was
    blinded by the servants of Goneril and Regan.
  • http//s3.amazonaws.com/rscmedia01/explore/multime
    dia/photos/kle_0704_02019.jp

16
Lear to Kent (incognito) I am a man more
sinned against than sinning. (3.2)
17
  • The French army led by the French King will take
    back Lears throne.
  • Like Kent, Edgar also has disguised himself as a
    fool rather than leave his father unprotected.
  • Upon finding Gloucester blinded,
  • Edgar promises to help the old
  • man find his hut.

http//www.nesetheatre.org/slides/GloucEdgar08Smal
l.jpg
18
  • Gloucester plans to kill himself and wants the
    fool (disguised Edgar) to lead him to Dover to do
    so.
  • Because Edgar is protecting his father,
    Gloucester survives. As a result, he feels it is
    a miracle and is determined to carry on.

19
  • Regans husband dies in a battle against the
    French king, but she receives the affections of
    Edmund.
  • Jealous, Goneril vies for his attentions.
  • Edgar captures Gonerils servant, and in his
    pocket, Edgar finds a letter to Edmund from
    Goneril instructing him to kill her husband and
    betroth her.

http//www.collingswoodshakespeare.org/Images/love
triangle.jpg
20
  • King Lear, guided by the disguised Kent, finds
    refuge with Cordelia. Cared for with kindness
    and tenderness, King Lear regains his sanity and
    sees the truth.
  • Weeping, he regrets his errors.
  • Meanwhile, Gloucester, too, is furnished with the
    truth when Edgar reveals himself to his father
    just before Gloucester dies in Edgars arms.

Gloucester is dead.
21
  • However, a battle is still taking place between
    France and England.
  • Edmund was arrested for treason against King
    Lear, but Regan sides with Edmund and claims she
    wants him as her husband.
  • Goneril, jealous, poisons her sister.
  • Edgar shows up with the letter indicting Goneril
    against her husband, so she stabs herself.

Regan is dead.
Goneril is dead.
22
  • Edmund dies in battle with the satisfaction that
    two women died fighting over him.
  • With a small bit of remorse, Edmund sends Edgar
    to have the order changed, but it is too late.
    Cordelia, too, is charged with treason, but she
    is hanged.
  • Her death breaks Lears heart, and he dies.
  • Edgar and Gonerils repentant husband alone
    survive to rebuild Britain.

Edmund is dead.
Cordelia is dead.
King Lear is dead.
23
King Lear
  • Simple character who learns to see beyond
    appearances into the heart of a person
  • Tragic hero because despite the tragedies of his
    own making, we still feel sympathy for him
  • Foolish
  • Blinded
  • Ego-centric
  • Conceited

. . .wise
insightful
fatherly
caring
24
Other Facts
  • King Lear may also be compared to King Solomon in
    the way that his kingdom is also divided.

Machiavellian villain Edmund insatiable
ambition without own passion grim cynical sense
of humor heartless at his death minor remorse
25
Critics
  • The themes in William Shakespeare's King Lear
    are patience, justice, religion, nature, madness
    and insight. When this play is viewed from a
    feminist perspective, it is appearant sic that
    the behavior of the female characters stemmed
    from the king's inability to follow the social
    rules of Elizabethan England (McLeish 1103).

26
Critics
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge says of King Lear Of
    all Shakespeare's plays Macbeth is the most
    rapid, Hamlet the slowest in movement. King Lear
    combines length with rapidity,like the hurricane
    and the whirlpool absorbing while it advances. It
    begins as a stormy day in summer, with
    brightness but that brightness is lurid, and
    anticipates the tempest (McLeish 1102).

27
http//twi-ny.com/kinglear.jpg
Once judgmental Lear becomes repentant
Once blinded Gloucester becomes insightful
28
Most authors conclude that the king's mental
disease is evident from the opening scene of the
tragedy. Brigham12 plainly states that Lear
"was insane . . . from the beginning of the play,
when he gave his kingdom away, and banished as it
were Cordelia and Kent . . . . The ill-usage of
his daughters only aggravated the disease and
drove him to raving madness."
According to Ray,4 healthy and pathologic
features of Lear's mind are so "mingled and
assimilated," that "we feel at last as if it were
the most natural thing in the world that Lear
should go mad."
Among the most perspicacious comments on King
Lear are those of Bucknill.2 He wrote "The
willfulness with which critics have refused to
see the symptoms of insanity in Lear, until the
reasoning power itself has become undeniably
alienated, is founded upon that view of mental
disease . . . that insanity is an affection of
the intellectual, and not the emotional part of
man's nature."
A later author, Kellogg3 in 1866 equated the
original mental disorder in Lear to senile
dementia.
In 1929, Somerville13 reviewed the case of the
old king from the positions of contemporary
British psychiatry, with a few psychoanalytical
references. The author remarks that from the very
outset of events Lear shows "signs of mental
deterioration due to old age," and that "for all
useful purposes his career is finished."
29
In 1953, Donnelly,14 a psychiatrist and
analyst, described "the type of reaction from
which Lear suffers as either a delirium or an
acute schizophrenic-like episode," but strongly
favored the former.
In 1976, Andreasen5 stated that "Lear's madness
can be explained in part as the development of a
psychotic disorganization precipitated by severe
stress in an elderly man already showing some
signs of senile organic brain disease."
In his 1983 article, Kail6 takes an interesting
excursion into the history of psychiatry, as it
relates to Shakespeare, and also diagnoses in
Lear "a case of progressive senile dementia" that
is "accompanied by attacks of what could be
described today as acute mania, as demonstrated
by his faulty judgment, disorientation and
irrational behavior."
Colman7 established for Lear a diagnosis of
brief reactive psychosis with a background of
organic mental disorder, perhaps of a vascular
origin, exemplified by the king's visual
hallucinations and an intimation of a stroke just
before Lear's death,
Finally, in 1988, we encounter a work by
Trethowan,15 who thinks that Lear was actually
depressed,
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