“King Lear”
“King Lear”

“King Lear”

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  • Pages: 5 (2499 words)
  • Published: November 30, 2017
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From the initial study of the first two acts, it is evident to see that Shakespeare is presenting his audience with a variety of personalities, many of which we, as an audience are actively encouraged to dislike. A Major theme within “King Lear” is the force of Good opposing Evil, so therefore it makes sense to suggest the presence of those perhaps stereotypical “Evil” characters causing trouble, whilst disrupting and shaping the course of the play.Throughout this essay, I hope to show and account for the reasons behind how some characters are portrayed very differently from other characters, and how this effects an audiences’ interpretation of them. Whilst studying the play, we should be aware that Shakespeare manipulates events and prose, using various techniques in order to fulfil a certain purpose. Shakespeare moulds his plays in order to have a certain and very predictable effect upon an audience.

His use of language that is used by individual characters and the sequence of events that take place throughout the play is by no means coincidental.Shakespeare in actual fact had a very clear purpose when writing his plays. The way in which the play is written serves to guarantee that his audience, ultimately, in light of the evidence shown to them on stage, are able to extract the true and relevant intentions of, and from these, draw accurate conclusions from the characters shown to them, which would essentially lead to a more accurate understanding of the events which occur during the course of the play, and perhaps even the reasons behind them.In this essay, I will iden

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tify and explore such methods in which Shakespeare adopts in order to create a certain type of character- the characters the audience are encouraged to dislike.

Such techniques used within the first two acts ensure that the true nature and intentions of certain characters are obtained, by the way in which they are characterised and portrayed.Through the course of this essay, I will examine the various techniques present during the first two Acts in certain characters’ dialogue, and the language they use generally and when placed in different situations, how their actions and decisions effect the audiences’ interpretation of their character, the way in which they interact with other characters and how certain interactions will ultimately be perceived by a Shakespearian audience.This will explain, due to the methods Shakespeare adopts in his characterisation, why ultimately, certain characters are perceived in different ways to other characters. From the moment the play commences, nearly at once is the initial perceived character of Lear established, and he himself is the first character that the audience is encouraged to dislike.

The audience is faced with the infamous “Love Test” ceremony of Act 1 Scene 1, and so soon into the play has a lot of events to take into account.They witness the unusual method in which this supposedly “wise” King is adopting in order to divide up his Kingdom after he retires from his throne. What should essentially be a difficult task, in order to determine those to whom the land will be best governed under is seemingly disregarded, a

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the King favours a more “ego friendly” method. The audience learns in actual fact, in order to do this, the King is conducting a “Love Test” whereby his three daughters are expected to proclaim their love to their father, attempting to out-do the others in the hopes of obtaining the larger proportion of land.

This suggests instantly the interpretation of Lear as an egotistical old fool for even considering deciding the fate of his Kingdom on the basis of a ceremony concerned with flattering his own ego, not on political status of the contenders involved nor the reliability of their character. Such a method would alarm the audience- this is certainly not the actions of a responsible ruler.At once the audience would look upon this pompous, grand, Royal and exaggerated ceremony with distaste for the character of Lear and perceive him as an egotistical Ruler, too immersed in his own importance and power to consider any consequences in dividing up his Kingdom in such a way. This perception is reinforced by the fact that the audience learn, in actual fact, Lear had already decided upon how the land was to be divided between the daughters anyway, and that the entire point of the ceremony is to publically command his daughters to profess their love for him and in doing so, flatter his own ego.Lear is seen as judgemental and narrow minded.

He is fooled by Goneril and Regans’ superficial and elegant speeches and loses his temper when contradicted by his favourite daughter, Cordelia, who refuses to take part in her fathers “contest” and says she has “nothing” to say, except that she loves “Lear as her duty instructs her. ” His actions create a sense of falseness, whereby Lear is all too apt to take things by face value, all too ready to judge on appearances, which would indicate he is naiive and irrational, adding to Shakespeares desired perception of the early character of Lear.Lear loses his temper and behaves like a tyrant as he has been embarrassed in public and does not know how to cope, behaving absurdly, arrogantly and irrationally by losing control and banishing not only Cordelia his favourite, and ironically the only daughter who holds any genuine love and compassion for him, but also Kent, his most loyal, trusted and previously most highly esteemed servant, in favour of those characters the audience can see, are so obviously corrupt.It is evident to the audience that Kent is behaving rationally from the calmness of his speech in contrast with Lears’ ludicrous ravings.

They see clearly that Kent is trying to protect Lear, by the way in which he conducts himself throughout the scene. Kent’s dialogue in Act 1 Scene 1 is more informal and friendly, indicating Kent and Lear perhaps have a stronger relationship than that of ruler and subject, that they are more likened to friends.Kent uses terms such as “old man” which serves to make the conversation more personal and to show the audience they have a certain bond, that Kent has genuine affection and love for Lear. Kent’s speech differs tremendously from Lear’s raving speech in

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