• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Shakespeare create a sense of unease in Act 1 Scene 1 of King Lear?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Shakespeare create a sense of ?unease? in Act 1 Scene 1 of King Lear? Throughout the opening of King Lear, Shakespeare introduces a number of key themes and ideas that later go on to set the nature, meaning and message of the play. Through a variety of techniques, such as the language used and the characterization and actions of the characters, the audience learns and are introduced to the traits of those partaking in the play. During this familiarization of the characters with the audience, Shakespeare creates a crucial type of ?theme? or feeling that pervades the opening scene of King Lear- unease. It is this unease that allows the audience to witness the patriarchal disharmony that forms the main basis of the play, and the mood of uncertainty, and also the way in which Shakespeare lets the characters set the scene and introduce key themes and ideas at the beginning of the play is typical of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. It is however first key to define what exactly ?unease? constitutes. There are a variety of types- there can be uneasiness within the topic of power and authority, that is, the question of exploiting and abusing the various degrees of power that could lead to a sense of unjustness, or unease. ...read more.

Middle

This therefore from the very start of the play brings to the audience?s attention that there is a feeling of competition within the family, and not one of total harmony. It is during the exam that real ?unease? and family conflict is born. Cordelia?s refusal to praise her father- ?Nothing my lord?- is a disruption of events that were previously becoming rhythmic following the obedience of Gonerill and Regan. Cordelia breaking the rhythm and going against the wishes of her father gives birth to the disharmony that will later dominate the novel. King Lear?s ruthless reaction, as evidenced by the violent imagery of his language, ?the barbarous Scythian?property of blood?, and declaration of losing love for his once-favourite daughter, again paints a portrait of a man hell-bent on power, his actions bordering on social insanity. Kent, a conservative and noble figure throughout the play, keeps the formality of the occasion by using words such as ?liege? and ?royal?. However he soon drops the formality of the language and almost shockingly refers to his leader as ?old man?, and refers to him saying ?thou?, a 17th century informal term that then would have caused great offence. ...read more.

Conclusion

One thing that Queen Elizabeth and James did do however was acknowledge God as the ?supreme ruler? of the land, and saw it as a grave sin to divide their country. So Lear?s decision to divide his kingdom up, an act of perceived instability, would have shocked, and possibly angered, Jacobean audiences, who at the time were especially worried about the future of England in this period of transition in society, and Shakespeare does very well in evoking the breakdown of that whole way of life. It is in the opening scene that Shakespeare establishes the plot (and subplot) that introduces a variety of themes- primarily patriarchal and family relations, political relations, and status and wealth. It is through the exploration of these themes that aspects such as conflict, confusion, and instability arise, the product of which is the pervading feeling of unease- the feeling that life, not only family life but also the typical English life, is not quite as harmonious as it should be, and it is in this gradual introduction and development of unease in Act I that Shakespeare sets the tone for the discordant events that will come later in the play. Thomas Smith ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How effectively does Shakespeare present Lear's loss of power in the play?

    4 star(s)

    It is also interesting to see that it is Regan and not Cornwall who is the most enthusiastic about exerting her power over Gloucester and she even kills one of the servants after demanding "give my thy sword". Regan does not even allow her father the basic human rights which

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Consider the role of the Fool in King Lear. How important is he ...

    4 star(s)

    Still the presence of the Fool does not influence the overall impact of the play and the plots would occur with or without him. The Fool can be perceived on stage in many different ways. The first stage version of King Lear had actor Robert Armin playing the Fool, who brought his own brand of comedy to the part.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The influence Act 1 has on the rest of the play in King Lear

    3 star(s)

    In this, I mean that for Lear, it leads to his insanity and madness, displayed through pathetic fallacy when he is made homeless by his daughter Regan and locked out in the mad storm; which is also happening in his mind.

  2. Close Analysis of Act 3 Scene 4 of King Lear

    It also connotes a sense of abandonment and relates to the negative, violent related word 'invades' mentioned earlier. The phrase 'raging sea' symbolises his emotions and makes the audience think of the rage of the strong king witnessed earlier in the play.

  1. Critical Appreciation of Act one Scene one in King Lear

    "The symbolism is that the suitors are Roman Catholic as opposed to Protestant England"- Bookwolf.com. The inference is that Lear is providing a recipe for political, religious and social disaster. This will of course, result in the weakening of the country. Other themes and symbols are highlighted in scene one.

  2. With particular reference to Act 1, Scene 1, show how Shakespeare presents the character ...

    Speak again", explaining that Cordelia will not get any land unless she changes her answer. Shakespeare has used an interesting technique here; the repetition of the word nothing - a quite obvious and ironic contrast to Goneril and Regan's flowery speeches - highlights the insincerity of her sisters speeches.

  1. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the characters of Goneril, Regan and Cordelia ...

    But Goneril says" We must do something and 'n the heat " which is a more active approach to the situation. They also decide too work together in this first scene and become united in their treachery. "Pray you, let's hit together."

  2. The Nature of Redemption and the Limits of Pessimism in King Lear

    characters in the play have died by the conclusion of the work. This applies not only to major characters who are evil?Goneril, Regan, and Edmund?but also to more minor figures like Cornwall and Oswald. Moreover, the characters who possess ambiguous moral characteristics?namely, Lear and Gloucester?seem to be purged of their evil inclinations through the intense suffering each endures.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work