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What would a Stuart audience think about King Lear and his daughters by the end of the first scene of the play?

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Amy Bowring What would a Stuart audience think about King Lear and his daughters by the end of the first scene of the play? LEAR: " Tell me my daughters - since now we divest us both of rule, interest of territory, cares of state - Which of you shall say doth love us most? That we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merit challenge..." - 1-1-44. The old King, King Lear, wanting to shake off the burdens of ruling his kingdom, proposes to split it up and give a third to each of his three daughters, Regan, Goneril and Cordelia. Of the three, Cordelia was his most precious and beloved daughter. Before putting the plan into effect he asks each of them in turn to tell him how much she loves him. In the quote above Lear addresses his daughters and advisors publicly asking his daughters to declare their love for him. A Stuart or Tudor audience would have immediately had their values and beliefs challenged by the very first incident of the play because King Lear breaks with the convention of the time by deciding to abdicate his throne. In this period of history it was seen wrong for a king to do this and would of shocked the audience regarding the play. ...read more.


After the speeches made by, Cordelia's two older sisters Regan and Goneril, both of whom's are more grotesque and more exaggerated than each other's, Lear is shocked the unexpected reply of Cordelia. Cordelia herself, who is shocked by the extravagance of her sisters' replies, has nothing to say but this. But because she doesn't explain her position her curt reply, which sounds unfriendly, triggers her father's rage, bringing the worst out of him. Lear is fooled by his two eldest daughters and speeches, through which highlights his vanity for he only believes that they will speak well of him. His plan, however, is disrupted by Cordelia and proves the naivet� and arrogance of King Lear. Not only does it prove his insolence but also the fact that he has not thought it through carefully enough blinded by his own haughtiness and the fact that he believes he knows his daughters when clearly he does not. His quick and impulsive decision in which he promotes Regan and Goneril over and above Cordlia promotes the view to the audience that shallow, na�ve and has not thought of the consequences of his actions. As stated earlier King Lear demonstrates considerable favouritism towards his youngest daughter Cordelia. ...read more.


- REGAN "I am made of that self metal that my sister... ...In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love; Only she comes too short..." -I-I-65 Both the sisters can be seen playing along with Lear's game of declaring the love for him publicly. This can only be put down to the benefiting consequences they will receive if they engage with the spectacle. While daughters declare all their divine love to their father, their husband resting beside them do not stir at all to the fact that wives have just announce that they only love their father all. This is evidence that the two sisters have thought about the result of this meeting and the gain that both herself and her husband will inherit form it. This will not of portrayed a very positive image of the eldest two daughters to the audience. However the third and youngest Cordelia refuses to play along with King Lears game simply reply that she has nothing to say. Imeddiatly this would have shocked the audience but not in a displeasing way for the audience would not have approved of the character of King Lear and would have been glad to see him challenge, correctly in their beliefs. 5 1 ...read more.

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