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Family Relationships in King Lear

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Introduction

WRITING TASK TWO Examine and compare the family relationships within Eyre's version of King Lear and the written text. Family relationships are a key issue evident within King Lear. Whether it be the written text or a production of the text, it still remains an important aspect of King Lear. Both Lear and Gloucester believed that they had perfect families; each having what was proved to be a false sense of love. Throughout the play they gradually became aware of the greed and deceit that existed within their families, but it was eventually just too late. Gloucester is told of Edgar's plot against him, and Lear divides his kingdom so that there be "no future strife" between Regan and Goneril. There is a strong focus on the bonds that the daughters and sons share with their father. This bond may seem strong but it slowly begins to unravel when Lear banishes Cordelia in the first scene. Gloucester's mistrusting of Edmond clearly initiates the destruction of bonds between father and sons, as does Lear's mistreatment of Cordelia initiating the destruction of bonds between father and daughters. This results in loss of eyesight, loss of sanity, and loss of life. King Lear, in the written form, focuses on multiple family relationships or bonds held between characters. ...read more.

Middle

Gloucester values Edgar as his legitimate son, his worthy cause. It is because of this that Edmond, his bastard son, forms a plot for revenge against his father. "And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper: Now, gods, stand up for bastards!" Act One Scene Two The use of instructional language is effective in accentuating Edmund's influence over his father. Edmund's determination in gaining revenge is quite powerful, with him stopping at nothing to receive what he believes he rightfully deserves. Gloucester's willingness to believe Edmund over Edgar is uncanny. It is ironic how when able to see physically what the situation is, Gloucester is blinded to the truth, but when Gloucester is blinded, his insight expands and he finally 'sees' where he went wrong. It is because of his mistrusting in Edmund that all family relationships within the family were manipulated and destroyed. The 1990s Richard Eyre production of King Lear focuses on the same family relationships as the written form. Interpretation of these relationships is shifted slightly. This is evident in Lear and Cordelia's relationship. The positioning of characters seated at the dinner table in the opening scene is quite significant in the portrayal of Lear's favouritism of Cordelia. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is shown through the lack of excitement in Gloucester's facial expression and body language when talking about his legitimate son. This is significantly different in comparison to the written version of King Lear, and highlights the initial bonds held between father and sons. As these bonds seem relatively weak to begin with, it is strange to see the effect that Edmund's actions against Edgar, hold over his father. One action made by one person affects each reaction made by each character throughout an entire play. This is evident within both the written form of King Lear and the Richard Eyre production, as each family is affected by a single line of continuous actions made by multiple characters. Through the utilization of different devices, such as symbolism, hyperbole, instructional language, and positioning, within a text, a responder is able to acknowledge and recognise the effect that each has had on the portrayal of family relationships. Some are more effective than others, bringing about different ideas and possibilities as to why a character has responded to an event in a certain way. The basis of King Lear and the family relations existing within it, changes with each portrayal of the play. This can be misinterpreted if not effectively conveyed to an audience, and can affect the way in which family relationships are seen throughout the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? Elizabeth Condon ...read more.

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