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

In Act 1, Scene 1 of King Lear, Shakespeare builds a foundation for the action and images that will follow. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


In Act 1, Scene 1 of King Lear, Shakespeare builds a foundation for the action and images that will follow. Discuss. King Lear, one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, was written around 1605 at a time when Shakespeare had already achieved both reputation and success in London. King Lear was not Shakespeare's first tragedy therefore the audience knew what to expect. Act one, scene one is the most important scene as it sets the tone for the rest of the play. Captivating his audience from the beginning was crucial. This he was able to do, by creating a feeling of suspense and eagerness to discover the outcome. He builds a foundation for the action and images to follow. An atmosphere is created, characters are introduced and several omens are presented. Shakespeare's creative use of imagery gives the audience a hint of what is to come in the following scenes. At the beginning of the play, when the Earl of Kent and Gloucester are speaking, it is evident that it is daytime. ...read more.


He does this by contrasting her with her sisters. Goneril and Regan appear to possess the same qualities 'I am made of that self mettle as my sister'. They flatter their father with the ulterior motive of gaining material possessions. They manipulate him into believing that their love for him is beyond measure "I love you more than word can wield the matter." Others are able to discern their dishonesty. Kent expresses his feelings about the situation before he leaves "And your large speeches may your deeds approve". He insinuates that they are unable to act in the same manner that they spoke. Goneril and Regan release their inner venom towards the end of the scene when neither of them is enthusiastic about taking care of their father. Meanwhile, Cordelia is appalled by her sisters' dishonesty. She refuses to be like them and chooses to 'love and be silent'. Her father disowns her as a result of her this. ...read more.


King Lear is blind to his eldest daughters' immense greed and the amount of love that Cordelia possesses for him. This serves to his demise. Also, Gloucester is physically and emotionally blind towards his legitimate son Edgar later on in the play. The image of war is also presented. When Kent tries to convince Lear that his actions were wrong he exclaims "The bow is bent and drawn; make from the shaft". This is symbol and a hint as to what will happen in the concluding scenes when there is a war between Cordelia and France against her sisters. It is ironic that King Lear says this as the only bow that is bent and drawn is the one held by his daughters against him. Act one, scene one clearly establishes a foundation for the rest of the play to follow. Death and destruction are expected as a tragic hero makes a terrible (and somewhat ridiculous) mistake. Lear was overconfident in assuming that his daughters would take care of him if he shared his kingdom and he will suffer immensely as a result of this. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level 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 AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The influence Act 1 has on the rest of the play in King Lear

    3 star(s)

    More tragic forces are explored on stage as Regan and Goneril are fighting for their own part of the land, and therefore power in King Lear's love test, Regan says 'Which the most precious square of sense possesses. And find I am alone felicitate in your dear highness' love'.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    King Lear. The seeds of tragedy are sewn in Act 1 scene 1. To ...

    3 star(s)

    Handing his kingdom to his daughters symbolises trust and acceptance in the first scene. It is suggested that Lear's descent begins with the love test. "....'tis our fast intent To take all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburdened crawl toward death."

  1. To What Extent Can King Lear Be Described as the Tragic Hero of Shakespeares ...

    this pitiless storm,' For the first time he seems to be thinking of others. Further on, when he is reunited with Cordelia he seems truly remorseful for what he did to her, acknowledging the fact that despite having good reason to Cordelia didn't do him wrong like her sisters did.

  2. With particular reference to Act 1, Scene 1, show how Shakespeare presents the character ...

    Shakespeare has introduced this technique here to make the audience sympathise with Cordelia. It is this significant connection with the audience that compels them to support and feel for Cordelia throughout the entire play, as if they have established, already, a bond with the character.

  1. Explore the presentation of Edmund in 'King Lear'

    after which Edmund begins to see his fortune fall, lamenting. The illusion of suddenly emergent `moral consciousness' in Edmund's last act would agree with his habitual feigning of innocence and maintained illusion of `virtue and obedience'. That Edmund would end his days with a compassionate thought is simply not believable.

  2. How does Shakespeare create a sense of unease in Act 1 Scene 1 of ...

    However the degree of unease and specific events and themes of the scene are dependent on the audience themselves- each age sees the characters through its own eyes and this can bring about different reactions and viewpoints. It is from the very offset of the play that we are introduced to unease.

  1. Describe your view of Shakespeares depiction of the three sisters. What impression do you ...

    Cordelia?s earthier language contrasts with her sisters? sophisticated lexus and elaborate rhetorical devices, and, in turn, the complexity of Gonerill and Regan?s speeches serves to highlight Cordelia?s plainness. Whilst Gonerill expresses herself through antimetabole and other such clever speech patterns (?Let me still take away the harms I fear,/ Not

  2. The Nature of Redemption and the Limits of Pessimism in King Lear

    Such a definition is offered at the very end of Shakespearean Tragedy: Let us renounce the world, hate it, and lose it gladly. The only real thing in it is the soul, with its courage, patience, devotion. And nothing outward can touch that.

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