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GCSE: King Lear

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  1. Compare and contrast Lear and Macbeth's effectiveness as Kings.

    We elect people who are charismatic, decisive, open minded and trustworthy. In this essay I will look at the qualities expected of a 17th century monarch and King Lear and Macbeth's effectiveness as Kings. King Lear is the ageing king of Britain who has always enjoyed absolute power and who does not respond well to being challenged or contradicted. Macbeth is a nobleman, war hero and Thane of Glamis. He is well respected and loyal to King Duncan. In the 17th century it was important that a monarch loved and served God as they were his anointed representative.

    • Word count: 2137
  2. King lear

    Shakespeare uses Goneril and Regan to patronise Lear and get their share of the kingdom, however Cordelia is honest. " I love your majesty according to my bond, no more nor less." This is jukes opposite between the actions of the character Lear daughters, this shows that Cordelia respects her father but doesn't want to feed his ego unlike her sisters. She feels it is a duty that she owes to Lear. In this scene Cordelia disrupts the state of affairs by not playing the game like her sisters but her honest is put forward instead.

    • Word count: 2820
  3. It can be argued that the central concern of King Lear is the nature of a particular form of evil: anger. Aristotle defined anger as: ... an impulse

    Furthermore, Aristotle pointed out that the slight is most keenly felt if that aspect in which we think ourselves most worthy of consideration is treated slightingly. Anyone who shows, in speech or action, a tendency to slight rather than praise these qualities upon which we base our self-esteem, will be the recipient of our anger. However, we will be more angry with friends than with others, with those who have previously treated us deferentially and now change, and with those who do not adequately appreciate or return kindness.

    • Word count: 2299
  4. A Consideration of the way Shakespeare presents and develops the theme of blindness in 'King Lear'

    There was a strong sense of destiny, and to interfere with one's fate and the divine right of kings would be seen as ominous, and forebode tension and disaster. On deeper examination of Lear we realise how false his values are, and his desire to rely on Cordelia's 'kind nursery' is purely selfish. In the first act, the audience views Lear as a tyrannical patriarch and a demanding child, who requires constant assurance of his daughters' love. This is necessary, as later in the play we will see his character develop, and Shakespeare will reveal his better qualities, when he gains self knowledge, and learns to acknowledge his blindness and ask for forgiveness.

    • Word count: 2772
  5. A Consideration of the way Shakespeare presents and develops the theme of blindness in 'King Lear' Throughout 'King Lear', Shakespeare uses the play's characters to make judgements on society

    However unlike most of the other characters, by the end of the play Albany has gained awareness and recognizes his wife's inhumanity. On the surface the audience may assume that Albany's blindness is due to his simple heart and goodness, but on deeper analysis we can see that Albany's inaction and lack of foresight are necessary to the plot. Albany's integrity, and na�ve character creates a parallel to the uncompassionate, repugnant Cornwall. Unlike Albany, Cornwall has great insight into other characters and uses this to his advantage by manipulating and deceiving others.

    • Word count: 2238
  6. Discuss the Theme of Alienation In Two of the

    Once he said: "Nothing is more important than learning to think crudely. Crude thinking is the thinking of great men." His thoughts has revolutioned the world of theatre where his theme of alienation has been used by play writers to give more effect to their plays. William Shakespeare, one of the greatest play writers of his time wrote the play King Lear, where King Lear the main protagonist formed an atmosphere of rivalry among his daughters when he asked them to declare their love to him and that the kingdom would be divided according to the amount of love each would profess.

    • Word count: 2693
  7. Do you agree that Shakespeare was a product of his time whose plays have little relevance for an audience today? You should centre you answer on King Lear, but you may also refer to other Shakespeare plays if you wish.

    Taking what is widely acclaimed as Shakespeare's crowning artistic achievement, King Lear, as an example (as is the intention of the majority of this work), a strong case can perhaps be made to say that much of the intended theme and content is, by and large, irrelevant to a modern audience. The standard response to any critic of Shakespeare who is daring enough to call into question the relevance of his writing is to reiterate the timeless relevance of the central themes of the plays, facilitated by the metaphorical style, these themes are said to speak to audiences across the ages.

    • Word count: 2931
  8. King Lear Coursework

    When Lear is dividing the kingdom in Act 1, scene 1 using the love test he does not expect Cordelia's response "I love you your majesty According to my bond, no more nor less", showing her refusal to take part in the love test which offends Lear. Shakespeare shows irony to the audience where Lear has caused his own suffering "where are his eyes", it is ironic that Lear is blind to the truth, but because he yet does not fully understand his own contribution to his suffering, thus he lacks insight.

    • Word count: 2060
  9. Discuss the notion of appearance and reality in the play King Lear.

    They complain about Lear's rash judgement and unexplainable behaviour and they are apprehensive that they will receive the same treatment of Codelia and so they resolve that they, 'must do something, and I'th' heat.' Appearance and reality have an effect on King Lear. Goneril is sick and tired of her father as she accuses him that due to his character the knights are behaving in an intolerable way, and suggests that disciplinary measures have to be taken. Lear is shocked as he answers her, 'Are you our daughter?'.

    • Word count: 2263
  10. Discuss the theme of justice in the play King Lear

    In Act four scene six, when Lear is in his madness, he is obsessed with social and moral justice. King Lear sees in his madness. He shows that the magistrate himself can be a thief. He is against social and s****l hypocrites and very often he says that people who judge are criminal themselves. Basically he is talking on the corruption of law and of how normally justice is unfair to people who cannot fight it. Lear wants to defend the poor and give them power seen for instance when he slanders rich sinners who are able to break the 'strong lance of justice' while beggars cannot escape punishment for their crimes, because due to a lack of money cannot bribe the authorities.

    • Word count: 2025
  11. The Storm Scene (Act 3.2) And The Scenes In The Hovel/Farmhouse That Follow (Act 3.4/3.6) Are Central To Establishing The Audience's Sympathy For Lear. How Would You Direct At Least One Of These Scenes To Achieve Maximum Effect On Stage Or Screen?

    He gains a certain sight that allows him to judge not only at face value. Ironically though this quality is tragically found at the end of the hero's life but results in the hero dying with dignity. Fate plays a great part in Shakespeare's play. The idea that no matter what King Lear (the hero) does his fate is decided by the Gods and therefore final; he will fall from power and die a tragic death. This can be used to build sympathy for Lear.

    • Word count: 2859
  12. 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

    Although "there was good sport at his making" Gloucester still sends him away to study. He seems extremely rude to mock him openly in public, while he is present. This attitude was not uncommon in the Elizabethan period. However it would have shocked the lower classes that a man with such class and stature would treat his son that way. He shares many qualities with Lear and they put themselves in the same situations. They are both complacent fathers, used to assuming authority. They both react rashly when they suspect their offspring of rebelling against them.

    • Word count: 2007
  13. 'King Lear is a play without any hope.' Do you agree with this statement? What hope if any, can you find in the play? Examine the ways in which Shakespeare presents this idea.

    The sisters only speak in prose though when they are alone, which is where they reveal their true selves. Shakespeare uses language throughout the play to help the audience distinguish between characters qualities and their true intentions. Another example of this is when Shakespeare highlights the honourable characters by making them speak in rhyming couplets. When Goneril and Regan were asked to make a speech they said what Lear wanted them to say not what they really thought. This meant the sister's words were exaggerated and very insincere, though they still manage to fool Lear.

    • Word count: 2076
  14. Explore how Shakespeare shapes the audience's response to Lear throughout the course of the play.

    Lear uses the royal plural and thus Shakespeare makes the audience feel that he is a proud man. The commanding tone of "our" and "we" used by Lear is emphasised when Lear asserts his authority in the division of his kingdom, commanding his daughters to tell him how much they love him. The audience later conclude that Lear's love is materialistic and comes in goods rather than affection. This is shown in Lear's question "which of you shall we say doth love us most". This is where presumably, he may intend to give the largest and richest area of his land to the daughter who flatters him the most, "that we our largest bounty may extend".

    • Word count: 2175
  15. AC Bradley subtitled the play, "The Redemption of Lear." What do think he meant by this comment and how far do you agree?

    Although many particulars remain the same, Shakespeare made his own unique adaptations: Lear's madness, the storm and the Fool. Considering that Lear's madness is the key to his redemption which is symbolised by the storm and driven by the choric commentary of the Fool, it is clear that Shakespeare made these adaptations in order to make Lear's redemption a central theme and therefore Bradley's condemnation is more than appropriate. When considering his redemption it is incredibly important to look at the progress of Lear through a break down of stages.

    • Word count: 2057
  16. Shakespeare presents King Lear has a man of extremes. Discuss the significance of this.

    It was so easy for Cordelia's sisters to say what their father wants to hear rather than what is true. It frustrates me that Lear could be so blinded by is arrogance that he ignores such a strong show of love. Lear appears arrogant because he is choosing to listen to what he wishes to hear rather than what is true. It is this arrogance that creates so many problems. Shakespeare is trying to put forward the idea that humanity has a great flaw when it comes to communication and they way we understand it.

    • Word count: 2192
  17. How is madness seen in King Lear?

    In Act 1 scene 1 the lines " Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance, hear me!" shows us that Lear is very much a King, but it is hard to believe that the man who lays such stress are "allegiance " and the impossibility of changing his mind will be able to accept his own decision to give up power. Although this decision he has made is foolish he is in control of the situation, if not of himself. Also in Act 1 scene 1 the lines " this is most strange, that she, whom even but now was your best object .

    • Word count: 2672
  18. King Lear - Did he learn?

    In "King Lear", which is a typical Shakespearean tragedy, evidence of such is also seen. However, British writer George Orwell had once made such a comment about Lear, he had said, "he is a majestic old man in a long black robe, with flowing white hair and beard wandering through a storm and cursing the heavens. Presently the scene shifts and the old man, still cursing, still understanding nothing, is holding a dead girl in his arms." Is he correct to make such a statement? On the surface, it may appear that George Orwell is indeed making some sense by saying that when the play ends, Lear had gained nothing, and is still as blind and ignorant as he was when the play started.

    • Word count: 2051
  19. How does Shakespeare establish the major conflicts of the play in the first two scenes of the play, ‘King Lear’?

    Lear's eldest two daughters, Gonerill and Regan both adhere to their father and appease his wishes, in their efforts to secure a share of the Kingdom. They both obviously exaggerate and elaborate on their declarations of love for Lear. However, Cordelia views the 'love-test' as false and superficial and refuses to participate; angering Lear. Lear, in a fit of rage banishes Cordelia from the Kingdom, and when his trusted loyal aide Kent, protests at the treatment of Cordelia, he is subsequently banished as well. Thus, it is from the main plot of the division of kingdom, that many conflicts arise.

    • Word count: 2041
  20. 'Explore the ways in which Shakespeare Creates sympathy for Lear in the play 'King Lear'.

    The resulting sympathy felt throughout the play is due to the balance of tragedy and justice in the play. ARISTOTLE (On The Art Of Poetry): 'It follows in the first place that good men should not be shown passing from prosperity to misery, for this does not inspire fear or pity, it merely disgusts us. Nor should evil men be seen passing from misery to prosperity.' Aristotle's take on tragedies gives an insight to why sympathy is felt for Lear towards the end of the play and not so much in the beginning.

    • Word count: 2732
  21. Shakespear's ‘King Lear’ is a tragic play consisting of evil and malevolence in 17th century England.

    Before this there were only plays on sections from the Bible, which did not inspire the people. Shakespeare changed this by making new tragic and comic stories. King Lear is a tragic play because the character Lear's life goes from good to bad and at the end he dies. This makes him the tragic hero of the play. Shakespeare also used the words for emotions and feelings because there were no special effects in Shakespeare's time. The stage may have only had one or two set-up per play and so the words have to show changes in situation and mood as well.

    • Word count: 2607
  22. King Lear - Lear Exclaims in Act 3 That He is "More Sinned Against Than Sinner". Do You Agree With This Assessment Of Himself?

    The result of this "dragons wrath" is Lear's immense misjudgement. He divides his kingdom between the insincere and evil daughters Goneril and Ragan. Lear has committed his first of the deadly sins, that of wrath. The image of the dragon breathing fire and brimstone is the traditional image of wrath. Shakespeare has used this image as a metaphor for King Lear's rage. Lear is blinded to the truth by flattery in the absurd "love trail" He has no concept of the true nature of parental love. He is guilty of spurning the true love of Cordelia, in favour of anger.

    • Word count: 2595
  23. Discuss Shakespeare's treatment of madness in "King Lear".

    King Lear expects obedience from everyone and is used to getting his own way. He explodes with anger when Cordelia and Kent don't respond to him the way he wants. King Lear's explosions of anger hint his future madness. Other hints of his future madness come when Goneril dismisses 50 of Lear's followers, he shouts threats and curses and his speaking become more irregular as he becomes more distressed. In Act One Scene 5, Lear begins to regret his treatment of Cordelia and worries that Goneril's ingratitude is driving him mad. Lear's mental state is becoming increasingly fragile.

    • Word count: 2538
  24. How Does Lear change throughout the play?

    The play is about a struggle for power and property. 'King Lear' perhaps questions 'The Divine Right of Kings.' This is when God has chosen a King or Queen to be rulers of the land. We see this when Lear starts with absolute authority but through misjudgment, looses it all. The 'Love Test' is the first time we see Lear. Lear simply wants power, but without responsibility. We see this when Lear plans the love test, to split his kingdom between his daughters. He wants to be king, but he expects his daughters to rule the land, while he sits back and does absolutely nothing.

    • Word count: 2637
  25. Discuss The Presentation of Madness in “The Fruit at The Bottom of The Bowl” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”

    He then dismembers the old mans corpse and places it under the floorboards. Police officers come to investigate and the madman confesses to his deed as he could not stop hearing the beating of the old man's heart. Similarly "The FBB" is about another madman who kills a man called Huxley and provides the motive that Huxley knew where his wife was. He then realised that he had left fingerprints everywhere and started to clean them off. He then became obsessed with cleaning everything even though he had already cleaned it or he had not touched it.

    • Word count: 2211

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • 'I am a man more sinned against than sinning to what extent do you agree with Lear's statement above? Discuss Lear's role in the play and explore his journey from tyrant to humanity to death.

    "So in conclusion I may say that although he may have had nothing but good intentions, his foolishness and blindness brought all the humility and hardship down upon himself. Interpretation on whether Lear learnt his lesson is mainly up to the reader and in my eyes, Lear learnt his lesson, the hard way and even though he may be portrayed as the villain who banished Cordelia the real villains are his 2 daughters [Regan and Goneril] who started the 'ball' of lies, pain, hardship rolling. Answering the question yes I do believe that Lear is a 'Man more sinned against than sinning.' Because Lear suffers throughout the play from humility and this in turn makes us feel sorrier for a man who was once one of the most respected and powerful figureheads in Britain and gradually has all respect, authority and sanity stripped from him. Lear loses everything. His kingdom, his Fool, his three daughters and his own life. ' Come not between the dragon and his wrath.' Unfortunately, the wrath was too strong for even the dragon himself."

  • Discuss how Shakespeare illustrates the character of Lear changing during the play.

    "Conclusion At the start of the play Lear is very self-centered and oblivious to the lies he is facing. He then realises the truth, becomes mad due to his actions but also develops a sense of caring for others. Unfortunately the death of Cordelia makes him mad with grief and he is unable to care about anything else. This could be considered similar to the beginning of the play, however I think it is very different, because Lear is no longer 'blind' (at least not as much) and has a reason for his behaviour. I believe the character of Lear provides a strong moral: those who are self-centered and easily blinded by others will have a unhappy ending - perhaps a tragic one. Unfortunately those who might benefit from this moral are unlikely to realise it applies to them. by Greg Auger"

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