What mood and atmosphere is established in Act 1, Scene 1 of King Lear?
In the first Act of ‘King Lear’ by William Shakespeare, atmosphere and mood is created chiefly through the techniques of tension, greed and honesty. The predominant mood of the first scene is fear of the king and a heavy atmosphere of foreboding events, as he seems to demonstrate the beginning of falling into the depravity of dementia. Firstly, tension is created due to the king’s instability. He is very set in his ways and self-righteous as he refuses to accept Cordelia’s answer to him, saying that ‘nothing will come of nothing; speak again’. He is abashed by her response to him as he seems unable to accept what she is saying to him. He seems volatile here as the audience feel the discomfort of the situation, of a father being stood up by his daughter. He tries to admonish her to change her answer to him, but she seems set in her answer; and the tension of the situation becomes harsh, as the Kings surprise and disappointment seems inevitable to change to rage. Also, In scene 1there is tension between Gloucester and his son Edmund; as Gloucester says he has 'so often blush'd to acknowledge him' showing that he does not care or love for his son. There is tension here as this lack of love from father to son is very disheartening and would make the audience feel uncomfortable. On top of this, Gloucester goes on to say that 'there was good sport at his making' and that he is a 'whoreson'. This is highly tense and uncomfortable for both Edmund and the audience, as the father is explaining how he enjoyed fornicating with Edmunds mother, how his mother was a prostitute and how this makes Edmund very lowly and illegitimate in his opinion. Secondly, Greed and egocentricity play a significant role in how atmosphere is established; as Goneril and Regan are portrayed as superficial and egotistic, with great desire for Lears land. Goneril says to regan that she 'love[s] [him] more than word can...
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