King Lear

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King Lear Act 1

King Lear is a play written by William Shakespeare in the early 1600’s. It is a well known tragedy. Throughout Act 1, there are many mistakes made by the key characters. This essay will introduce a few of these and throughout will demonstrate how poor judgements and jealousies in families can have such detrimental and tragic consequences. A wise ruler that has held a kingdom together for so long is about to create irreversible chaos, either through complete ignorance of his daughters feelings towards him or by going insane. This test of love in all its qualities proves to be an eye opening, heart-wrenching plot for the reader and how Lear, who favoured one daughter, has become out of touch with the other 2, resulting in a tangled web of jealousy, plotting and intrigue in which there are no winners at the end of this sad tale. King Lear is a protagonist and his hamartia is hubris – his pride. The foolish disposing of his estate between his 3 girls, based on flattery, results in tragic consequences. There are many antagonists in the play, Goneril and Regan (his daughters) and Edmund (Gloucester’s son). The first scene opens with some of the primary characters and establishes the plot and the subplot, which focuses on the relationships between fathers and their children. Edmund, the bastard son of Gloucester is present with Kent and Gloucester in this opening scene. It is clear that Gloucester loves both his sons but Elizabethan society would not regard the sons as equals. Edmund realises that his future is deemed limited with being a second child and his brother would be the heir of Gloucester’s fortune and title. Edmund schemes against his father but not for his inheritance, but for recognition and the love that he was denied from being the illegitimate child. Lear – a monarch tries to separate power and responsibility. He stages a love test on his 3 daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Cordelia had always been his favourite daughter. He...
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