Madness Within King Lear

Topics: King Lear, William Shakespeare, English-language films Pages: 2 (534 words) Published: June 1, 2014
The opening of King Lear establishes the main ideas that will be unpacked throughout the rest of the play. Identify ONE main idea; analyzing the way Shakespeare presents this to the audience- Olivia Day

The idea of madness established within the opening of Shakespeare’s, ‘King Lear’ is fairly prominent. This double plotted play utilizes this theme of madness in accordance to the allying themes of truth, deception and familial interaction. Lear and Gloucester, the central characters of these tragic plots are driven to some form of madness later in the play, with Shakespeare allowing glimpses of foreshadowing throughout, even from the very beginning. Moods of uncertainty, repeated motif’s and the introduction of verisimilitude allow Shakespeare to present this idea to the audience within the first scene, establishing the overall mood of the play almost immediately, as was Shakespeare’s contexts style.

The mood of uncertainty creates the pretense to the theme hastily, shown in the first 6 lines of the play. Gloucester and Kent discuss their opinions of the King’s preference in reference to inheritance and property divisions of the kingdom, both mentioning ideas of favoritism in relation to whom they believe the king would’ve given the larger portion of land too.

Kent: ‘I thought the king had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwell’ Gloucester: ‘It did always seem so to us…’

Although Lear had already promised two sections of equal land to his 2 eldest daughters, Gonerill & Regan, he still held one, which he was believed to give to his daughter once she had married. The idea of uncertainty continues further as two suitors are introduced, both craving Cordelia’s hand in marriage, and of course, the third and final division of Lear’s kingdom. These examples of uncertainty enable a presentation of the loss of control within the Kingdom.

The recurring motifs of nothingness and sight are foreshadowing to the later events involving Lear and...
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