• 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 ...

    from 100 to 50, 25-10, 10-5 and finally from 5 to 1. Gonerill: 'What need you five and twenty? Ten? or five? To follow in a house where twice so many Have a command to tend you?' Regan: 'What need one?'

  2. Character Analyses - King Lear

    This action indicates that Cornwall, who himself uses artifice as a substitute for honesty in his own speech, cannot recognize truth when he hears it. Later in the play, Cornwall will make no attempt to control his actions or behave in a civilized manner as he gouges out Gloucester's eyes and grinds them under the heel of his boot.

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

    to his king: he tells Lear that he is 'mad' - Shakespeare intends the audience to question Lear's sanity, and makes it clear to us that the King's behaviour is truly unusual. Shakespeare's portrayal of Lear in this fact act has been of an all-powerful, confident king making a rash

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

    It is Lear's interaction, with those characters who lead him to sight, in which we see his more tolerant, caring nature. Kent is integral to the development of Lear's understanding, as is the Fool. Both characters push Lear towards the truth, the fool tries to 'out-jest' Lear's inquiries, whilst Kent

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

    He cannot escape the wheel or break it. This is shown when he claims 'No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even/ The natural fool of fortune' (Act IV.6.191-2) Lear realises that fate is against him. However, in this case this statement is not true.

  2. King Lear gold

    disguise, and Ian said to me "Why do you think Lear just doesn't recognise him, disguised or not?" And I said, "Well, he's like people who are used to command. They never look at their servants, they never look at their children, they never look at their family, the people they're working.

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

    Therefore no good can come of Goneril and Regan gaining control of the country. Through the events of scene one, the audience sees an example of a close family being torn apart. Not only is an example of close families being torn apart shown when King Lear banishes Cordelia but

  2. How Does Lear change throughout the play?

    This is unlike any other monarch, as Kings and Queens usually rule their land all by themselves. There was no real need for the 'Love Test', as Lear already knew that Cordelia was he favorite daughter and that she loved him the way she should, but Lear is so vain and selfish.

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