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

King Lear - Act 1 scene's 1 and 2 give us clear indications of the motivations and the personalities of the central characters found in the play

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Act 1 scene's 1 and 2 give us clear indications of the motivations and the personalities of the central characters found in the play The opening scenes to the play establish the main characters well for the duration of the play. There are two main plots, which involve most of the main characters. The main plot consists of King Lear dividing his kingdom up between his three daughters, Gonerill Regan and Cordelia. However one, Cordelia, does not receive any land. The plot then entails the aftermath and the problems that follow such a mix up. The sub plot, containing Gloucester, Edmund and Edgar mirrors the main Lear plot. This story is about Edmund being the bastard son and the way he deviously tries to con his father into giving him his wealth. The first two scenes show us how similar the two plots are. We are beginning to see that Lear's family harmony is in jeopardy, as is Gloucester's after Edmund's cunning plan to split up the devoted father and son. There is another similarity where Gloucester's swift rejection of Edgar reflects the way that Lear rejects and banishes Cordelia. Gloucester is an influential character and opens the play talking to Kent and his bastard son, Edmund. He is very cruel and abrasive to his bastard son, Edmund. He apparently "blushes to see him" because he is so disgraced of the "whoreson". Although "there was good sport at his making" Gloucester still sends him away to study. ...read more.

Middle

He is obviously motivated by people, including his family how good, powerful and superb he is. This is of course ludicrous as many of these compliments are not true, however they are given because he is the king. Lear uses an interesting metaphor to describe his rage and torment. When Kent tries to calm him down he says, "Come not between his dragon and his wrath". It is interesting as he describes himself as the dragon and his anger and fury as the wrath. This is a good metaphor and suits his animal like and rash behaviour. Lear is blind and irresponsible as a father and as a ruler. The fact that the king is thinking about giving up his crown would have alarmed and shocked the Jacobean audience. This is because there was such controversy over who would succeed Elizabeth I. He is a stubborn man and does not like to accept his responsibility in anything that goes wrong. He struggles to accept the blame for his elder daughter's cruel ways and will not fully acknowledge his foolishness in 1.1. We also discover that Lear is an angry man and has a very short temper. When Cordelia does not take part in his "love test" he starts to rant and rave. He swears by the "sun", the "night" and "hecate" (a goddess of the night), that he will disown her. This would have been very effective and offensive, in the time of the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

Cordelia is a more honest, trusting, and devoted character. She plays a major contrast to Goneril and Regan, who are neither honest nor trusting. By not taking part in the "love test" she establishes herself as a repository of virtue. It also makes it clear to us how authentic her love for her father really is. Once Goneril and Regan have lied and being deceitful to their father, Lear asks Cordelia how much she loves him. She simply replies "nothing" when he asks her what she has to say. This shows how brave and how she stands by her morals. She could have quite easily given in and followed her two sisters. However she held back and did the right thing. She is able to speak her love more honestly and truthfully than her sisters. Her strength and integrity are shown again when she scorns Burgundy and parts frostily from her sisters. Some may argue that Cordelia is awkward and stubborn. She could have easily made up comments to gain land and keep the peace within the family. Overall act one scene, one and two, provide us with an excellent opening to introduce us to the characters and show us their personalities. We also discover what motivates the characters and what are their main qualities. Shakespeare does this purposely so we get to know the characters, and see how they develop throughout the play. He uses different tactics and strategies to make us feel like we know the characters. He also uses the main plot of the play to create a sub plot within it. This makes us feel that something could happen at any moment. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE King Lear essays

  1. I am a man more sinned against than sinning King Lear was written ...

    Lear is going mad and exits Gloucester castle in the middle of a raging storm along with the fool and Kent. Regan Gonerill and Cornwall agree to shut the doors behind Lear justifying their actions by saying his knights are a danger to them.

  2. Explore the Ways in Which Shakespeare Presents the Character of King Lear.

    Shakespeare portrays his diminished status by having him wonder why Kent has disappeared: 'Tis strange that they should depart from home and not send back my messenger'. The audience knows that Kent is in the stocks, and Lear's ignorance

  1. Character Analyses - King Lear

    Where Goneril has created chaos, Albany endorses nature's design and a view of nature's work within an organic framework. Albany accepts that nature's pattern is essential for survival. Early on, Albany hesitates to confront Goneril when he thinks she's wrong, but he is not the willing participant in evil that Cornwall is.

  2. A Consideration of the way Shakespeare presents and develops the theme of blindness in ...

    In the first act, the audience views Lear as a tyrannical patriarch and a demanding child. This is necessary, as later in the play we will see his character develop, and Shakespeare will reveal his better qualities. This will allow us to sympathise with him, making the play more tragic.

  1. 'King Lear is a play without any hope.' Do you agree with this statement? ...

    Edmund and the sisters betray their families, which break up the families beyond repair. It is true that Regan, Goneril and Edmund join forces for a short while before letting jealousy and hatred get the better of them, but this union is not a sign of hope, as the sisters

  2. How Does Lear change throughout the play?

    All he cares about is himself and being respected as the King of Britain. Cordelia decided not to take part in the love test. She just said to him "I love you majesty according to my bond, no more nor less" This shows us Cordelia just loves Lear the way that she should.

  1. Explore shakespeare's use of the Renaissance idea of fatalism and imagery linked to the ...

    all operations of the orbs/From whom we do exist, and cease to be, Here I disclaim all my paternal care,' (Act I.109-113) The 'operation of the orbs' indicates to the audience that fate has played a part in Lear disowning Cordelia whether it be Lear's natural personality or her destiny.

  2. King Lear gold

    and horror and, you hope, a sense of self-discovery, the moment at which a child says no to you, and you realise they're contradicting you. This is what one hopes for every parent, and for every child - that the parent finds it in themselves to say wonderful, they're contradicting

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