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King Lear an essay about Shakespeare's presentation of women in "King Lear".

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Introduction

I am going to write an essay about Shakespeare's presentation of women in "King Lear". In the beginning of the play, we are introduced to Lear's three daughters: Goneril, Regan and his favourite, Cordelia. As we continue with the play we notice that they are the only women there. So from that point we can see that Shakespeare did not really favour women in this particular play. In Act 1 scene i Lear gave his daughters a "love test" after he announced that he was splitting his kingdom between them. Goneril is the first to speak, "Sir I love you more than word can wield the matter" now to Lear that is flattering but to us, the audience it is all fake. Regan is just the same but she tries to outdo Goneril, "I am made of that self mettle as my sister and prize me at her worth" Already we can see that being a woman she is not all that happy because she feels that only Goneril and Cordelia's speeches will have an effect as they speak first and last respectively. ...read more.

Middle

The language Goneril and Regan used with Lear is different to the language they use between themselves and Cordelia. "Sir I love you more than word can wield the matter"-Goneril. "I am made of self mettle as my sister and prize me at her worth"-Regan. From these two quotes we can see that they flatter Lear with their niceties, even though the audience are not fooled by them. "Prescribe not us our duty"-Regan. Here we can see that Regan's tone has changed from the one she used with Lear, as she talks to Cordelia. Also at the end of Act 1 we can see their tone is absolutely cold "such unconstant starts are we like to have from him", "this last surrender of his will but offend us." In those quotes Regan and Goneril are talking about Lear and his rash impulses and how he will cause problems for them. ...read more.

Conclusion

So we can see that Goneril doesn't want to be the only one disrespecting Lear. Act 2 scene ii shows us that Regan is a cols and selfish person. She makes Cornwall (her husband) lock Kent in the stocks all night "till noon! Till night my lord and all night too" after Cornwall said he would only be there till noon. She has no respect for Lear either because Kent is his soldier, so if anyone should punish Kent it should be Lear. "What's he that hath so much thy place mistook to set thee here?" Lear questioned Kent as to who put him in the stocks and why though they had the right to do that. Shakespeare has portrayed Regan as a selfish woman, maybe it's because she is the middle child, In Act 2 scene iv we see that Lear is slowly catching on to his evil daughters and he also makes reference to Cordelia "our youngest born". Lear gets mad at Goneril and Regan because Regan expects him to beg for forgiveness from Goneril which is an insult to him. ?? ?? ?? ?? Oyinkan Alli ...read more.

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