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King Lear Act 1 Scene

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:10 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 66.1 
  • Words: 1286
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What impact did Act 1 Scene 1 of King Lear have on you?




The first scene of the first act of King Lear had a genuinely dramatic affect upon me.   This first glimpse into the world of Lear and his subordinates sets the premise for the whole play, unravelling within the first few pages, themes which I believe will become increasingly evident.   The scene opens with the introduction of three characters – Kent, Gloucester and Edmund.   Of these three characters the only one who seems not to have been shown in an unfavourable light yet, by this brief introduction, is Kent.   This could be intentional to set   It is made clear Edmund is a bastard, and therefore illegible for proper acknowledgement as the son of an Earl.   Gloucester is no less tarnished as he admits he is embarrassed by having an illegitimate child (“I have so often blushed to acknowledge him..”) and also insults Edmund’s mother and, Edmund, with further ‘banter’.   This makes ones opinion of a noble Earl degrade to the point where he should be also seen as a scoundrel, yet his attitudes and loyalty towards the King have not as yet been questioned.   In spite of this the language is merry and seems to set the scene for a joyous event in the royal court – the division of the kingdom among Lear’s beloved daughters.   After this short interlude between the Earl’s, Lear appears and begins to make his proclamation.   Lear declares that it is his intention to hand over his land and the affairs of state to his three daughters – Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.   Although in doing this he still clearly announces that he will remain King of England, if in title only.   He has divided his realm in three and wishes his daughter’s to vie for his affection so that whoever shows with words that they love him most, will receive the most “opulent” share of the land.   Lear speaks of a “largest bounty”, which when remembering the words of Gloucester from line 3 indicates that he has already decided who shall gain what...

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