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

An Analysis of the Relationship between Goneril and Regan in King Lear

Extracts from this document...


"An Analysis of the Relationship between Goneril and Regan in King Lear" ****** IB English year 1 Ms. ***** 4 October 2008 "An Analysis of the Relationship between Goneril and Regan in King Lear" The historical tragedy of King Lear by William Shakespeare revolves around deceit, tragedy, and violations of social statuses. King Lear lives in a time when offspring contrive against their fathers, friends become enemies, and even the most honesty of characters die in agony as the story reaches its unfortunate ending. Shakespeare, in designing the plot, intends to enlighten us morally on multiple magnitudes. We are often told that Goneril and Regan are "bad" characters, and that their collaborations are what stimulate tragedy, misfortune, and the ultimate death of both primary and secondary characters. Through my experience with King Lear, I do not disagree with this view but rather extend this theory. Despite what is characteristically evident of each player in King Lear, Shakespeare leaves much room for in-depth discussion and further interpretations of his characters. The significant and special relationship between Goneril and Regan not only stimulates tragedy and misfortune but also illustrates major thematic ideas and advances the plot in ways that only Goneril and Regan could. ...read more.


Given the period of the Elizabethan era, it was customary for wives to submit and serve their husbands, however, when Albany criticizes Goneril's harsh treatment of her father, she ignores him insults his character: "Milk-livered man, Thou bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs, Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning Thine honor from thy suffering, that not know'st Fools do those villains pity who are punished Ere they have done their mischief." (IV.i.51-56) When Albany tries to correct and control the situation, Goneril further insults him by telling him to "Marry, [his] manhood-mew!" This is not an outstanding case of obstinacy for Goneril as she kisses Edmund passionately in the upcoming scene. Not only is Goneril obstinate in her treatment of Albany, she is also committing adultery when she attempts an affair outside of her marriage. Regan, although not as vigorous as her sister, is also very stubborn and attempts adultery. Even though Regan does not show her love for Edmund as openly as Goneril does, we can sense a connection between the two. When Cornwall is slain by his servant, Regan does not show shock or disbelief as we would expect - especially during a time when being widowed was a taboo - and simply moves onto Edmund; she almost seems happy at her husband's death. ...read more.


My analysis shows that as "good" characters reach their emotional apex, the "bad" characters find the mountain valley, and vice-versa. In doing so, Shakespeare is trying to teach us a lesson about humanity. Although "good" characters reach an emotional climax first, they also find their way down first. "Bad" characters are frozen at the climax, evening in death. In King Lear, although Lear dies at the end, he receives a moment of clarity when all is resolved and he rests in peace, however, Goneril, and Regan die at the height of emotion and do not live to see their resolution. Their relationship stay tense and neither dies in peace. Shakespeare's King Lear is considered one of his greatest works. Shakespeare in writing the play not only considered theatrical importance but also incorporated his many insights into the patterns of relationship. As the play progresses, Goneril and Regan's relationship digress and each find themselves trapped in an upward spiral of tension, like a balloon that keeps stretching but never pops. When we trace their relationship, we find that it grows inversely with Freytag's Pyramid. This special relationship between Goneril and Regan not only stimulates a climax for King Lear but also helps to deliver a tragic ending to this Shakespearian masterpiece. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages 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 International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Role of Women in King Lear

    Cordelia resembled her father in many virtues such as her dignity, loyalty, courage and stubbornness. Out of the three women in the play, Cordelia represented the society of women yet she was strong and in control at the same time.

  2. Mending Wall Analysis

    He uses images from nature like, 'woods only and shades of trees' and 'apple orchard' to focus on the fact that nature is a very vital part of life and it is the nature itself which does not like the wall or the barriers, the frozen- ground swell'.

  1. Advertisement Analysis

    Curves and contours in the model's face complement the straight, angular lines of the fragrance in the opposite page very well.

  2. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel Chapter Analysis

    The dovecote is used again when Mama Elena hits Tita forcing her to climb up and hide in the dovecote Elena removes the ladder entrapping her in the dovecote like the rebels trapped the poor doves and pigeons. The only difference between the doves and Tita is that the rebels

  1. Things Fall Apart Novel Analysis

    During the chaos that followed, Okonkwo slipped away and went home. D. resolution: The District Commissioner goes to Okonkwo's home. He finds Okonkwo's body hanging from a tree. Okonkwo committed suicide by hanging himself. The District Commissioner decides to put this in his book The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.

  2. Free essay

    Kite Runner - Relationship Essay

    However it is not just the change in characters, it is the change in relationship between these two characters that makes it so noteworthy. In particular after the death of Baba and as Amir remarked "My whole life I had been 'Baba's son'.

  1. An analysis of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

    Clarisse McClellan is the total opposite of the modern individual, and Montag is quickly fascinated by her outgoing personality and how she questions every little detail of life and what's happening in the society they live in. Clarisse asks Montag if he is truly happy.

  2. Commentary on "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King

    Additional antagonistic pairs such as ?Where will the eagle be?? is responded to be the repeated exclamatory ?Gone!?. The dynamic verb ?gone: symbolizes permanent loss of humanity. The simple sentence ?The end of living and the beginning of survival? connotes that life will become worthless in the end and people will simply live to survive, not live to enjoy.

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