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Critical Appreciation of Act one Scene one in King Lear

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Introduction

The Critical Appreciation of Act 1 Scene 1 King Lear, a historical play written by William Shakespeare exposes the vulnerability of great men. King Lear takes on the role of the tragic hero who is destroyed by his main flaws- arrogance and his love of flattery. Act one scene one of King Lear is pivotal to the play as it is the scene that sets the plot in motion. Act one acts as an exposition and from scene one the reader is able to gather key information about characters and events in the play. It is important to note that most of the primary characters are introduced in scene one, whether through dialogue or by being physically present. Also the initial conversation between Kent and Gloucester reveals information concerning the three characters of the sub-plot- Gloucester, his heir Edgar and his illegitimate son, Edmund. Edmund is made fully aware that he will not receive an equal share of the inheritance and his father's estate will go to Edgar, Gloucester's legitimate heir. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, Lear is not initially viewed as a man of authority but as a fool. The impression one also gets from scene one is that Lear is abdicating his responsibility by dividing his kingdom, and herein lays the confusion- Lear wants to retain his "kingly title" without having the responsibilities of a king. The scene also introduces the conflicts of the main plot and sub-plot within the play. Shakespeare hints at the rising tension between the characters n both plots at the beginning of the play. One is able to decipher the rising conflict between Lear and his daughters and between Edgar and Edmund. Lear's tragic flaws allow him to be lured into a false sense of security by Goneril and Regan's flattery and also to drive a rift between himself and Cordelia. It is very important to note that both of Cordelia's suitors are French- England's old enemy. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is this very same quality that resulted in Lear disowning Cordelia. According to Bookwolf.com, the play is a direct product of Cornelia's proud integrity, and this helps compound Lear's folly. However, she will pay the price for this attitude. Shakespeare's ability to cleverly introduce characters and to reveal impending conflicts and details that will 'fuel' the plot is remarkable. Therefore act one scene one is very important to the continuation of the play as it sets the pace for future events that will enable the plot to unfold. This therefore speaks to the writer's craft. However there are certain gaps in the scene. Are society's laws to be blamed for Edmund's behaviour? Did Cordelia handle the situation in the most suitable manner? Was there more that she could have done to convince Lear of her love? All these subtle questions were left unanswered in scene one, and this calls for an appreciation of the scene because the air of suspense created in it spurs the reader on in an attempt to find answers for the unanswered questions. ...read more.

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