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By close analysis of the language used in this extract, discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of Goneril, Lear and the Fool

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King Lear Essay By close analysis of the language used in this extract, discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of Goneril, Lear and the Fool Goneril begins her speech with an insult towards her father, claiming that his nights and squires are acting like his Fool, it is evident in this passage that Goneril thinks her father is as silly as his Fool, as he is senile. She makes a snatch at him with her first lines '...but other of your insolent retinue' Seeing what her father has become out of senility, she lashes out at him. It is interesting that Shakespeare may use these words to start Goneril's speech, insolent to mean rude and audacious, Shakespeare uses this language to instil in the reader the manner in which Lear and his men now lead their lives. Shakespeare makes it clear that Goneril, now one half the monarchy of Britain may have ultimate power over her half of the country, she cannot but lecture her dear father. Goneril's character is autocratic, cold and ambitious, she wants nothing more than to get hr father out of the way so that she and her sister Regan, can get on with running the country as they see fit. ...read more.


Lear tries to dismiss all the accusations of him and his knights as being degenerate and unlawful, Lear naturally takes great offence to this, he launches an attack on Goneril, saying he still has one 'kind and comfortable' daughter left to go to (Regan). Lear goes on to say he does not know who he is any more, he asks, 'Does any here know me?', having banished is favourite daughter from the country, and to be told by his eldest daughter that he is as Foolish as his Fool, naturally Lear feels very lost within himself. At this point it is important for Shakespeare to create tension and create emotion with the audience, whether it be compassionate or opposed to him, Shakespeare creates the mood using language. He creates a quarrel with his father and daughter characters, bringing in very personal and very cutting remarks about one another, Goneril uses very satirical words in her speech to her father, she uses words such as; 'Disordered', 'Deboshed' and 'shame', to describe what her father is doing. This language that suggests that her father is dim-witted and that he is wasting his life with his degenerate faction. Lear snaps back at Goneril claiming that he has no daughter called Goneril, he refers to Goneril as a Degenerate Bastard, this shows that ...read more.


What the audience would be feeling in this passage can be an array of feelings, some may feel compassion for Lear, now realising what he has lost, and losing Goneril (by his own fault nevertheless), they may feel sympathy towards him. But the probability of the audience feeling compassion for Lear is quite small, they know what a silly old fool he is, they know what he was capable of when he was in power, i.e. banishing Cordelia and France, leading the audience to believe, that with his new attitude towards life, he may incorporate this into his method of running the country. The audience is more likely to feel for Cordelia, granted she and Regan plan evil things towards their father, but, in this instance Cordelia has done nothing but speak her mind and letting her father know the errors of his ways, but the audience already know what the king does to people, even his own daughter, if they speak their mind to him in an odious manner, so the audience would be feeling compassion for Cordelia at that moment. Also apart from fearing possibly her life, the audience would be sympathising with her at the fact that she has lost her father; he disowns her leaving her without a father. ...read more.

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