Words of Wisdom:

"Word to your mother." - Essay4free

King Lear Act1 Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 04/24/2012 08:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.4 
  • Words: 1957
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Act I Analysis:
 
The kingdom's division as alluded to by Kent and Gloucester is strange in that it is not mentioned in the context of Lear's daughters. The seeming arbitrariness this sheds on Lear's enactment of the love test provides a contrast through which to view the misplaced importance Lear is placing on words, appearance, and position. We will soon learn that Kent and Gloucester are two of the only men who could provide Lear with sound, sincere advice, thus endowing their original take of the situation with a greater significance. They have no problem with Lear's decision to divide the kingdom as he is old and is attempting to escape greater conflict after his death. Thus Kent's revolt against Lear's actions arises not from Lear's initial undertaking but from his reaction to Cordelia. Notice too that he does not protest when Lear asks for an estimation/competition for love from his daughters or when Goneril and Regan respond in very coarse, superficial words. He only strikes against Lear's rule when Lear does not notice the sincerity of Cordelia's words and then moves to strip her of his love and titles. This is not only foolish but hurtful and unjust.
The love test was foolish but, on the surface, harmed little. Yet, Goneril and Regan likely knew that their sister would not compete with them if their were extravagant enough in their claims of love toward their father. Of course, they did not love him with their all, but in Lear's old and insecure state, they knew he would fall for their insincerity and Cordelia would refrain from competing on such a hypocritical level. Notice the sonorous quality of the sisters' names. The two oldest have very harsh, coarse sounding names, lacking in femininity or beauty. Cordelia's name is much more melodic and feminine. This is the first constructed quality which sets her apart from her sisters. Also pay attention to the inflated verse Goneril and Regan use when addressing their father as opposed to the much harsher...

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