Division of Kingdom.
When the horn plays, Gloucester and Kent would immediately be at their alert and
drop their informal act. The horn signifies the protocol that has to be followed whenever the
King is coming. Its also reflects the formality of the occasion and Lear’s authority as the
King of Britain. Shakespeare emphasises Lear’s authority as the king as he gives commands
immediately to Gloucester to “attend the lords of France and Burgundy” as soon as he comes
in. In certain production, Gloucester takes Edmund with him as he comes out but as
Gloucester rushes out, Edmund sneakily turns back and stands among the attendants in order
to listen in on the announcement going on in throne room.
Lear then quickly gets on the “darker purpose” of the gathering and announces
formally of his decision to divide his kingdom, “we have divided in three our kingdom”. In
doing so, he is also announcing that he is “shaking all cares and business from our age”
indicating that he is stepping down from his throne while he makes his “unburdened crawl
toward death”. His intention of trying to prevent the “future strife” is an irony as he is
unaware of the consequences of his rash decision. Later on in the play, he gets a taste of the
strife that he set himself. Lear’s “get-down-to business” attitude reflects his efficiency as a
king. However, his decision to retire is a violation to the Divine Rights of the Kings which
states that the kingdom cannot be given to anyone else as the king was born with the title.
Lear announces a “love competition” as he commands his daughters to confess their
love towards him, “which of you shall we say doth love is most”. As the eldest, Gonerill
starts to express her love for her “beloved” father. She starts giving Lear over the top
expressions of her love for him, “I love you more than word can wield the matter”, claiming
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