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King Lear

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Introduction

King Lear Shakespeare's characters are described as being a stark contrast to each other, they are simple but represent good and evil as many productions put across such as Cinderella, with the two evil twin sisters, and Cinderella, the good, pretty one of the sisters. They have been described as "two malign" and "one benign." Shakespeare's characters in the play King Lear have also been described as two dimensional, just "good" or "evil," this is very deliberate by Shakespeare. This division between very good and very evil is very important to Shakespeare's cause. There are many things that hint upon the actual natures of the three daughters, for instance, their names, Gonerill and Regan are harsh sounding, but Cordelia is softer and more gentle in sound. Cordelia is said to have a religious quality about her because when Lear and Cordelia are about to re-unite, the gentleman describes her grief in language that suggests a religious dimension to her presence. ...There she shook, the holy water from her heavenly eyes, and clamour moistened... She represents good, and forgiveness like most religious people would. Also the things that they do, like when Regan gouges Gloucester's eyes out, this indicates at a sense of evil. Physical appearance and costume are also a very good thing to see their different natures. ...read more.

Middle

In the Richard Eyre version of the play, with Ian Holm as Lear, the daughters are all wearing grey and the background is all red, it is even more difficult to determine a time and setting for this version of the play because there are even fewer clues to give an indication of this. Richard Eyre supports the view of this play being a domestic play, he said he imagines it being set round a dinner table, because that is where most family matters are settled. In this version the "love test is a lot less formal, as it set round the dinner table as more of a family matter. There are many similarities between the two videos, in both Gonerill looks very nervous while making her speech and Regan is full of confidence and really trying to make sure she gets her fair share of the land. In both videos Lear paces up and down in anger, this is after Cordelia's speech when he would be mad anyway. Neither of the videos have any backing music, this could be because neither of the directors can imagine the play having backing music and maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to use any. In both of the versions Lear gets very emotional when he is angry, I think the directors would have done this to animate Lear's anger, it doesn't have to be guessed then, it is clearly visible. ...read more.

Conclusion

In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love. Only she comes too short... it can be proved that she is being untrouthful here in the last lines of act one, scene one. REGAN: 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenerly known himself. I see Gonerill as being a little like Regan but she lacks the confidence that Regan has. This can be seen in the Richard Eyre production, she rings her hands as if she doesn't know what to do with them. I personally prefered the Richard Eyre production, this is because it was a little easier to understand and the emotions were put accross a lot more clearly. The BBC version was a little too dark and not as well acted. In conclusion the last lines of the play sum the play up. EDGAR: The weight of this sad time we must obey, speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most: we what are young shall never see so much, nor live so long. This basically says that we should say what we think not what we think we should say. I agree with this, but it only works if everyone abides by this, as soon as someone doesn't say what they think there is a problem. These lines also return the audiences attention to the genesis of the whole tragedy and defines the moral mesage of the play. ...read more.

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