Studying The Feelings Of King Lear English Literature Essay

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1. The play opens with a short scene in which Gloucester and Kent discuss two different fathers' love for their children. How does Lear feel about his two older daughters? How does Gloucester feel about his two sons?

Lear feels that his two older daughters are filial and loyal at the beginning of the play. Since the King Lear realizes his death is approaching, he decides to divide his kingdom into three parts and comes up with an idea: let his three daughters to tell him how much they love him so that the one, who loves him the most, gets the largest share. His two older daughters, who are Goneril and Regan, respectively, reply to him with flattery and deception, brag their love to the king with overstated words. This bragging, however, exactly matches what Lear wants. Therefore, Lear's feeling about his two daughters is that, his two older daughters truly love him, based upon their flattery.

According to the conversation between Gloucester and Kent, it is known that Gloucester has two sons, Edmund and Edger. Edger is a legitimate son of his, whereas Edmund is a bastard. Gloucester loves Edmund as much as Edger, because the time while making him was fun, which is revealed by the line, "there was good sport at his making, / and the whoreson must be acknowledged" (1.1, 13-16).

2. What evidence suggests that Lear loves Cordelia more than his other daughters? Through Lear's speech before the test for Cordelia, it is suggested that Lear loves Cordelia more than his two older daughters-"But now, our joy, Although our last and least, to whose young love The vines of France and milk of Burgundy Strive to be interessed. What can you say to draw A third more opulent than your sisters?" In these lines, Lear's speech essentially implies that, if Cordelia praises her father just like what her sisters do, she will get a bigger share. Before the tests for Cordelia's older sisters, they are not given speeches like that.

3. What positive character traits does Cordelia exhibit?

Cordelia's honesty is exhibited through every line she speaks in scene one. For example, in the lines "Why have my sisters husbands if they say / They love you all? / Haply when I shall wed / That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry / Half my love with him, half my care and duty. / Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters, / To love my father all."(1.1, 99-104), it is revealed that Cordelia is a naive and honest character. Cordelia looks through the flattery told by his older sisters and tells Lear the truth.

4. What insight are we given into Lear's character in the opening speeches?

Lear's irritableness and superficiality is revealed in the opening speeches. Lear judges a person merely based on what they say-His two older daughters praise him, but their words are totally opposite to what they truly feel. Ironically, Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia loves him from the bottom of her heart and cannot be described by her words. Then Lear thinks she is not grateful and disowns her.

5. Compare the answers of Goneril and Regan to the king's demand to hear the extent of their love for him.

Lear's test for love is actually a demand for his daughters praises to him. And his two old daughter's exaggeration and overstatement of their love to Lear exactly cater for Lear's expectation. This is where Lear's superficiality is suggested.

6. Why does Cordelia's answer enrage the king?

Comparing to the bragging speeches given by her two older sisters, Cordelia's innocence and honesty obviously does not satisfy Lear's expectation. This test of daughter's love is essentially a demand for flattery. Lear's two scheming older daughters obviously look through what Lear wants. But Cordelia is innocent. She tells the truth about her sister's deception, which is the reason that provokes King Lear.

7. Do you think Kent is justified in saying Lear is mad?

In this line, I think Kent is justified in saying Lear is mad because Lear's test of love makes sense at all. His two older sisters, who simply want the lands, can easily pass the test by flattery. However, his youngest daughter Cordelia, who truly loves him, is disowned by Lear just because she cannot describe how much she loves him. A use of sarcasm is developed here-bad people get benefit whereas good people get banished. The madness of Lear is shown here.

8. Why do you think Shakespeare uses rhyming lines in Kent's last speech?

The uses of rhyming lines in Kent's last speech imply Kent's mild and kind characteristics. This implication forms a contrast with the disordered word said by Lear, who is in madness.

9. Explain how the King of France's words to Cordelia are intended to heal the wounds Lear has inflicted on her.

King of France's words to Cordelia are intended to heal the wounds Lear has inflicted on her when King of France says the line "Most choice forsaken, and most loved despised! / Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon, / [b]e it lawful I take up what's cast away." (1.1,260-262) In this line, Cordelia's honesty is eventually recognized by someone, which is an approval to her integrity. Therefore, her wounds are healed a bit.

10. What is morally the state of affairs within the play at the close of the first scene?

At the end of the first scene. Lear's two older daughters get the land and power because of their flattery to the test. However, Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia, who he loves initially, is banished because of the truth from the bottom of her heart. Cordelia marries to King of France, who admires her honesty, with nothing.

11. Is Lear justified in his treatment of Cordelia in this scene?

Lear's treatment of Cordelia in this scene is totally unreasonable. Lear's test of love is essentially a demand for flattery. His action of disowning Cordelia for her honesty is not justified at all. This action indirectly reveals Lear's blindness as well.

12. Looking at Goneril and Regan's conversation which ends this scene, how might you expect them to treat Lear in subsequent scenes? Why?

According to the secret conversation between Goneril and Regan, I can tell there must be some conspiracies going on between them because through the test, their characteristics are totally revealed-scheming. Once they get the land and power, they will be out of control and limit Lear's power.

13. A monarch dividing up his/her kingdom would have been disturbing to Elizabethans. Why might such a course of action be dangerous for a nation? What might be the consequences for the monarch and the potential heirs?

When a kingdom is under control of one single person, the decisions of a nation will be made by one person, in another word, unified. Yet, once a nation is divided to several parts to some heirs, each of the heirs will hold up for its own opinion. They will most likely to have a disagreement to one another, which might bring some bad consequences.

Act One Scene Two

1. According to Edmund, the laws of the land and "...twelve or fourteen moonshines"(1.2, 5) are what stand in the way of his happiness. What do you think about the point of view he expresses in the first fifteen lines of this scene?

Edmund in the play is a person that born "illegally", he is a bastard child, because his "legitimate" brother is born 1 year earlier than him, he gets people's discrimination. In these first fifteen lines, Edmund raises his evil ambition causes by people's discrimination and his own resentment of life, to gets what he think he deserve.

2. Do you think Edmund believes in fate or creating his own destiny? Use (1.2, 113-127) to find your support.

I think Edmund is creating his own destiny. Edmund deeply understand that fate has controlling everything. Edmund understand that he is born illegally, that is his fate. However, he wants to change his fate, create his own destiny by his evil plan, by changing his life. He says that people will always do the wrong things and shift the responsibility to some other things. Edmund's father compounds with his mother under the dragon's tail, and Edmund's nativity is under Ursa Najor, but the thing will never change is he is a bastard.

3. How do Gloucester's gullibility and Edgar's nobility play into Edmunds hands?

Edmund hides a letter behind his back, and let Gloucester see it deliberately. Edmund makes Gloucester believes that Edgar thinks Gloucerster is too old, and he should giving his power and let Edgar take his position. Edgar is a great brother that thinks Edmund's advice is true and trust in him, which helps Edmund gets his plan work our nicely.

Act One Scene Three

1. "...Idle old man,/ That still would manage those authorities/ That he hath given away! Now, by my life,/ Old fools are babes again..." (1.3, 17-20). Is there any truth in this accusation? Explain and support.

In these lines, Goneril is telling the audiences the truth that Lear has no power at all, and two sister are in charge for the whole country. Through Goneril's tone, she sounds like want to get rid of his father, she says:" Old fools are babes again, and must be used/ With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abused."(ll.18-19) She wants to treat his father badly, and get his father out of her business.

Act One Scene Four

1. What evidence does this scene offer as to the more attractive side of Lear's character?

In this scene, Lear finally realizes that his daughter is a monster. Lear feel regret for Cordelia, he says:" O- most small fault, How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show!" comparing Cordelia and Goneril, Lear notices that how big the misunderstand he has make. The best daughter all of them, but he leaves nothing to her at the end, and Goneril is trying to get rid of him and also his followers. The attractive side of Lear is that he feels regret for his youngest daughter and do things very firm.

2. What does this scene tell you about The Fool and his role in the play? Use specific examples.

The Fool is acting a big role in the play. He can says the things that other people can not. The Fool uses the third person point of view to look at the whole society, the situation that Lear being in. He says:"I have used it, Nuncle, ever since thou mad'st thy daughters thy mother. /For when thou gav'st them the rod, / and put'st down thine own breeches." (ll.160-163) What he is telling Lear is that Lear's daughters are controlling the whole country, having more power than Lear, which just like Lear's mother. The Fool also uses metaphor says that in this situation, just like an egg, he cuts the egg into two half, with empty inside.

3. Compile a list of all references to eyes, eyesight, and blinding in this scene. Based on these references what do you think might happen later in the play?


- Two daughters got the power of the country.

-Youngest daughter got married to France.

-Lear has no power at all, people start treating him differently.


-Regan's attitude of treating his father.

-Youngest daughters situation.

Base on these, I think both daughters treat Lear so bad, and finally, Cordelia comes back and Lear tells her everything. Cordelia then teaches her sisters a lesson, after that they find out their father has an incurable disease, three of them stay with their father till the end.

Act One Scene Five

1. What do you think the main dramatic purpose of The Fool is?

I think the main purpose of The Fool is to leads the audiences to see the whole thing, the whole relationship between Lear and the daughters, also The Fool is a source of all these information, he tells Lear the real side of his daughters, and doing a great job of transferring the information.

2. Why does King Lear keep The Fool close to him, and why does The Fool get away with his comments to the King? Describe their relationship.

King Lear keeps The Fool close to him because The Fool is the one of the person that no involve in the whole thing, and The Fool is providing the point of view of the people outside of the palace, the point of view of how they think about the whole thing. The Fool gets away with his comments to the King because Lear has the power, if The Fool says anything wrong to Lear, make causes him die. Just like Lear's youngest daughter, his daughter says something wrong, Lear can marry her to the King of France, without any sadness.