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GCSE: King Lear
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I am a man more sinned against than sinning King Lear was written by William Shakespeare and is about the tragic story of a royal family in the dark ages,
The children go in age order from oldest to youngest starting with Gonerill telling her love: "Sir I love you more than word can wield matter, Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty Beyond what can be valued rich or are No less than life, with grace, health beauty and honour;" Following Gonerill is the second eldest daughter Regan proclaiming: "Myself an enemy to all other joys Which the most precious square of sense possesses, And find I am alone felicitate In your dear highness love."
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'I am a man more sinned against than sinning' III.2.59-60 To what extent do you agree with Lear's statement above? Discuss Lear's role in the play and explore his journey from tyrant to humility and death.
In Act 1, Lear display's many traits designed to alienate and shock the audience. In fact, Lear is the first character the audience are encouraged to dislike. Rash and arrogant, Lear behaves like a tyrannical dictator rather than a responsible King and Father. As soon as the audience are introduced to Lear, he describes the absurd 'love test' he will carry out in order to divide up his kingdom. What should in essence be a difficult and serious task for the king is seemingly disregarded as Lear adopts a method more suitable for flattering his own ego than judging who can best govern the state.
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His every word is carefully chosen and there is no hesitation in his speech- this demonstrates to the audience that Lear is confident and knows his own mind. Shakespeare presents Lear in the first act as having his own secret agenda. he admits to having a 'darker purpose' and explains his 'fast intent' to the court. The phrase 'darker purpose' hints that Lear masks his true objectives behind a more cautious public agenda. Shakespeare portrays Lear through such comments as a sharp King who considers his position carefully in vital matters, a man who reveals his thoughts only when he deems it to be necessary - who plots his every action.
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Explore shakespeare's use of the Renaissance idea of fatalism and imagery linked to the theme in the play 'King Lear'
The fact that Edmund doesn't believe in 'spherical predominance' proves that he is different to the society around him. Shakespeare takes every opportunity to emphasise this to distinguish 'evil' from 'good' in the play putting Edmund forward as a character who is out of harmony. When Gloucester predicts that 'eclipses in the sun and moon' suggesting a bad omen, Edmund casts aspersions on this idea, accusing the world of 'foppery', describing it as 'excellent' because he sees it as a weakness that he can exploit from his anti-human point of view.
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Because of this, the first sin that King Lear committed then was casting out his own daughter Cordelia who he has said to have had favoured the most out of the three of them as she wouldn't do so. Instead of Cordelia saying she loved Lear, as much as he wanted her to, her answer to his question was, "According to my bonds". She means by this that she loves Lear as much as she has to, and no more and no less.
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From the beginning of the play, the situations facing King Lear are portrayed with aspects of comedy. This is because of Lear?s choice of puerile and pathetic ?task? which he sets his daughters, in order to decide how he will divide his kingdom between them. Lear asks his daughters: ?Which of you shall we say doth love us most?? Which ever daughter expresses the greatest love for her father, through words, receives the most amount of land from King Lear.
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