King Lear flash cards

Sophie Tilney
Flashcards by Sophie Tilney, updated more than 1 year ago
Sophie Tilney
Created by Sophie Tilney almost 6 years ago


Flashcards on King Lear flash cards, created by Sophie Tilney on 05/24/2014.

Resource summary

Question Answer
When was King Lear written roughly? 1604-1605
A04 KL Religion/demonology/Kingship Believed in a divine order; god's plan for mankind and the universe. Kings were seen as God's agents and any action against a king was an action against God. Sometimes a king could act unnaturally that is against the divine/natural order. If a king was a n agent of God then God should decided when his reign should end: it was not in the king's power to hand down the throne. It was believed that Satan through various evil spirits was responsible for all attacks on the divine order.
A04 KL Women Women were considered to be inferior to men and incapable of taking equal responsibility. Goneril and Regan however wouldn't have shocked the Jacobean audience, who could accept the idea of a strong and determined women due to the recent experience of the qualities of Queen Elizabeth.
A04 KL Social status Social status or lack of it is the motivation for Edmund's actions and the source of his hatred. In Shakespeare's time it was believed that order in society depended on people 'knowing their place' and accepting their position in the world. A structural hierarchal society was perceived as part of the order of nature.
KL A04 Pursuit of honour The pursuit of honour was much admired by Shakespeare's time. It was an age of exploration; a time for doing one's duty to bring glory to one's country. Knightly chivalry belonged to the old age but were not completely forgotten.
KL A04 Theatrical context People of all incomes and social classes attended the theatre. The audience response to events on the stage would certainly be more vocal and explicit than is experienced in the theatre today.
KL A04 Tragedy A typical greek tragedy wpuld have a strong sense of fate, ordained by the gods:the hero, whatever he does to avid it, is doomed by death.
Kathleen Mcluskie Kathleen Mcluskie sees King lear as an anti feminime play. She suggests the misogyny of KL both the play and Lear are constructed out of an ascetic tradition which presents women as the source of the primal sin of lust.The play forces us to sympathise with the patriarchs, Lear and Gloucester and the masculine power structure they represent.The audience is forced to agree that evil women (G and R) create a chaotic world and must be resisted. The feminine must either be made to submit (Cordellia) or destroyed (G and R)
KL A03 Coppelia Khan For Coppelia Khan Kl is a play about male anxiety. She suggests Lear breaks down when he refuses to accept that he is dependent on his daughters, that he needs the feminine side;he refuses to cry.When Lear learns to weep and rediscovers a loving non-patriarchal relationship with Cordelia he is redeemed. In Khan's view the play affirms femininity as a positive force.
KL A03 a new historicist critic might say Shakespeare can be seen as a social commentator 'Lear's abuses of power are direct coments on the vagaries of James I and his monarchy'
A03 KL Leonard Tennenhouse Leonard Tennenhouse suggets Kl shows us 'the dangers of not following the old ways' of the patriarchal hierarchy. He sees the play as reconfirming oppressive structures, as being conservative in impulse.
A03 KL A.C. Bradley A.C Breadley argues the play is 'one of the world's greatest poems'. For him Lear is a 'great superior figure' whose suffering is heart rending.
A03 KL Jonathan Dollimore Jonathan Dollimore believes 'the play is not about heroism of human endurance, or the moral growth of a hero. He suggests Lear's identity is a social construction; 'What makes Lear the person he is-or rather was-is not kingly essence (divine right), but, among other things, his authority and his family.
A03 KL Christian play-views Some critics view Cordellia as a christ like figure, who redeems Lear (thus his sufferings have not been in vain). Lear too is recognised as displaying the virtue of patience.
A03 KL Agnostic view W.R. Elton W.R. Elton refutes the Christian critics positive readings of King Lear. He sees Cordelia's hanging and gloucester's blinding as proof of 'the wilful operations of an upside down providence in an apparently deranged universe'.
KL A03 Wilson Knight Wilson Knight- 'The tragedy is most poignant in that it is purposeless, unreasonable. Mankind is, as it were, deliberately or comically tormented by the Gods'. He is not even allowed to die tragically.
A03 KL George Brandes George Brandes sees Cordellia as the 'living emblem of womanly dignity', while the play as a whole portrayed 'the titanic tragedy of human life; there rings forth from it a chorus of passionate jeering, wildly yearning and desperate wailing voices'
A03 KL Schlegl Schlegl saw a drama in which 'the science of compassion is exhausted': 'humanity is stripped of all external and internal advantages and given up prey to naked helplessness'.
A03 KL Joseph Wharton Joseph Wharton objected to the Gloucester subpot as unlikely and distracting, and reckoned Gloucester's blinding too horrid to be exhibited on the stage. He also found Goneril and Regan's savagery too diabolical to be credible- he accepts in KL 'the wicked prosper and the virtuous miscarry'
A03 KL Susan Bruce Susan Bruce views Cordellia to be a 'figure whose loyalty withstands any horro that the hegemonic aristocratic and patriarchal order can throw at them:tyrannical anger, expulsion, and banishment'
A03 KL Rob Worrall Rob Worrall believes 'It's Edgar's potency that enables him to adapt his final disguise of the challenger and it is what empowers him to defeat his half-brother Edmund he emerges from it as a warrior and worthy of the leadership he accepts'.
KL A03 Katherine O'Mahony on suicide Katherine O'Mahony says 'suicide demonstrated an ability to commit the worst possible sin and therefore characters who kill themselves such as Lady Macbeth and Goneril achieve the status of ultimate villain'
KL A03 Jan Kott 'All that remains at the end is the earth, empty and bleeding'
KL A02 Theme: Nothing Nothing and Nothingness isan important concept in Kl as he loses everything- his status, his family, his mind. Lear learns the value of C's 'Nothing my lord' her refusal to participate in the love-test sets of the chain of disastrous events. The fool taunts lear with the word nothing 'I will say nothing'-imagery that echoes Cordellia's words. In ACT 3 the sight of Poor tom pushes lear to ask 'Is man no more than this?' Lear learns how empty G and R's words were and finds he has moved closer to C's values 'I know not what to say' he murmurs. 'Nothing' causes Gloucester the same trouble, Edmund uses false words to gain everything as he pretends the letter is fake 'Nothing my lord' copying Cordelia's reply in an ironic and alarming way. G also loses everything and learns to see more clearly.
KL A02 Theme: Clothing Clothing is closely linked to ideas about appearance and reality. Outward appearance are often deceptive-misleading in KL. Virtuous characters assume disguises in order to survive. The Fool-motley, Kent-man servant and Edgar-garb are all humbly dressed. Ceremonial garments and court clothing are used to conceal the truth. Lear cannot see beyond the trappings of majesty and assumes his crown makes him 'ague-proof'.Lear is forced to face realityand removes his kingly garments 'Off off! You lendings'-his clothing is proof of his folly-he no longer has power and begins to look beyond appearances. He rids himself of the trappings of majesty to learn he gains wisdom when he says 'furred gowns hide all'- he has recognised the truth about himself and his daughters. With his sanity restored he puts on fresh clothes and no longer needs his crown of poisonous-symbolic of his jarred senses.
KL A02 Theme: Animals Goneril and regan are paired to savage beasts. Gonerill is 'sharp-toothed, like a vulture' Regan is told she 'looked black..most serpant like'-Lear. Gloucester says the sisters posess 'boarish fangs' G and R are destroyed by their animal instincts. The fool uses animal imagery to Lear 'the hedge sparrow fed the cuckoo so long/ That its had it head bit off by it young'-Lear as a hedge sparrow emphasises his vulnerability. Start of final scene Lear envisions life in prison where he and C 'sing like birds in a cage'-Lear's vision of deluded happiness-song birds are passive and tame creatures.
KL A03 Satre writes in 'Lucifer and the lord' Satre -'Naturally bastards betray. What else would they do'
KL A03 Heilman Heilman argues 'suffering leads to nothing Lear suffers- unable to reintegrate in to society his suffering leads to death and raises concerns for social systems and nature of human beings'
KL A02 Theme: Sight and blindness There are many images of sight and blindness, light and dark, eyes and weeping. Kent tries to warn Lear about acting foolish with his daughters 'see better Lear' he begs Lear to let him remain 'The true blank of thine eye' Lear angrily says 'out of my sight'. The fool uses a metaphor 'So out went the candle and we were left darkling'-line serves as a prediction for the end of ACT II when lear is overwhelmed by dark thoughts and left out in the storm. Lear can be seen as the candle, as monarch he is the source of light and life in the kingdom-when he 'burns out'-is out of favour all the characters associated with Lear E.G Cordellia and Kent are 'left darkling'. Lears ability to see becomes more clear when he sees Gloucester 'A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine eyes'-black humour. 'Pluck out his eyes'-Goneril 'Old fond eyes..i'll pluck ye out-Lear refuses to cry during his descent to madness. 'Howl, howl, howl' 'Had i your tongue and eyes I'd use them so/That heaven's vault should crack'-his eyes fail him as he mourns Cordellia.
KL A04 Blindness Father Thomas Carroll 1961 he characterized blindness in terms of 20 losses, and as the ‘death’ of the sighted individual.
KL A02 Theme: Madness Lears rash actions in ACT I might be viewed as political insanity. 'O let me not be mad,not mad, sweet heaven!'-Lear The storm 'Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!' is reflective of his anger and madness in his mind 'tis tempest in my mind doth from my senses take all feeling else'-the storm may hurt him physically but not as painful as emotional pain from daughters. Lear is tormented by Cordellia's death 'And thou no breath at all?/Never never never' and he is deluded that she is still breathing 'Look on her, look, her lips'. The Fool's professional madness and Edgar's fake madness shed a sombre light on Lear's insanity. Edgar-“A spirit, a spirit. He says his name’s Poor Tom” Edgar controlled by devil 'laid knives under his pillow, and halters in his pew; set ratsbane by his pillow'-the devil tempted him to commit suicide to damn his soul-knives ropes and poison. Fool 'Thou shouldn't not be old till thou hadst wise'.
KL A04 Madness The Elizabethans visited Bedlam hospital for entertainment, to enjoy the spectacle of the mad beggars, so it is possible that Shakespeare intended the audience to laugh at Poor Tom.
KL A02 Theme: Suffering Lear tells Regan Goneril has 'struck' him with her tongue and 'tied sharp-tooth'd unkindness' around his heart. Lear describes his daughters to be 'a disease that's in my flesh..a boil' Lear's heart breaks into 'a hundred thousand flaws'. Lear is uncapable to recover all though his senses are restored 'cu to the brains', 'burning shame'. Poor tom- 'The foul fiend bites my back' Kent welcomes death 'Break heart, I prithee break'-refering to his or lear's suffering G dies of a broken heart, L and G become more compassionate through suffering and Edgar becomes stronger and fit to rule. Through suffering these 3 male characters achieve heroism.
KL A02 Nature Edmund 'Thou nature art my goddess', 'Why brand they us with base with baseness bastardy? base base'- bottom of social pile. Lear-king represents the natural order, at the start he presides over a harminous hierarchy 'There i disclain all my parental care', 'wretch whom nature is ashamed'- he acts against nature unable to recognise Cordellia's worthiness. Gloucester errors similar to Lear he acts with nature 'His breeding' 'Ihave a son/who yet is no dearer in my account' Edmund betrays his brother 'It is his hand my lord but i hope his heart is not in the contents' G-' O villain' Edgar goes back to nature 'My face I’ll grime with filth' 'with presented nakedness outface the winds and persecutions of the sky' Nature reflects the mistakes of man in King Lear and when man stops to folly, the natural order is easily destroyed. 'Here i stand your slave a poor infirm weak'
KL A02 Theme: Justice Characters are judged and put on trial in King Lear, both Gloucester and Lear misjudge their children and ironically the children possess better judgement. Cordellia is assessed by her sisters and father Lear is judged by Goneril and Regan and vice versa with his 'love test'. Kent is trialled for plain speaking as an excuse for Cornwall and Regan to exercise power in an arrogant way. G's blinding is an appalling example of human injustice. Edgar challenges his brother using words 'wild justice' King Lear is also concerned with social justice Lear considers the lives of the 'poor naked wretches'
KL A02 Theme: Gender 'Into her womb convey sterility!'-Lear curses Cordellia's sterility 'Life and death! I am ashamed That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus'-Lear accuses Goneril of stripping his masculinity- he lacks power and authority 'This milky gentleness/You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom Than praised for harmful mildness.'-Goneril implies to Albany 'gentleness' he's a wimp for not being harder on Lear for Goneril mildness and lack of instinct make one feminine.Milky gentleness, as Goneril calls it, is associated with a woman's capacity to nurture children (i.e., breastfeed).Lady Macbeth accuses her husband of being "too full o' the milk of human kindness" Lady Macbeth and Goneril are both strong female characters who show conflict between masculinity and femininity. Goneril links breast feeding to Albany to make fun of him and femininity, which she cannot succumb to being drawn to masculinity and power. O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!/Hysterica passio'-Lear implies he suffers from a medical condition 'Hysterica passio'-thought to afflict women. Lear is so upset he compares his excessive emotions to an ailing woman which implies Lear is not acting like a man and that women have no control over their emotions. 'thou art a boil,A plague-sore'-Goneril who's name sounds like gonnorhea- is compared to a veneral disease. lear associates goneril's disloyalty with the consequences of sexual promiscuity. 'Down from the waist they are Centaurs,/Beneath is all the fiends/There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit,Burning, scalding, stench, consumption'-Lear from the waist up women are normal but below is dangerous he compares the female anatomy to hell and corruption, 'scalding;, 'burning' 'stench'-KL associates all women with unpleasant STD's 'nothing could have subdued nature To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.' KL-all of the problems are caused by women.
KL A02 Compassion and Forgiveness 'Poor naked wretches' lear shows compassion for the poor living in poverty [Aside] My tears begin to take his part so much-Edgar in disguise weeps for Lear-the good characters are unable to control their emotions in the face of injustice and suffering. 'hang Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss Repair those violent harms'-Cordellia tries to heal her ailing father with a kiss Let's exchange charity.I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;-Edgar to Edmund after he stabs him.
KL A04 Coppelia Khan "From ancient times through the nineteenth century, women suffering variously from choking, feelings of suffocation, partial paralysis, convulsions similar to those of epilepsy, aphasia, numbness, and lethargy were said to be ill of hysteria, caused by a wandering womb."
KL A02 Fool wisdom 'I am better than thou art now i am a fool thou art northing' 'Thou should'st be old till thou hadst wise'
KL A02 love test 'Beyond what can be valued rich or rare'-talks about money when talking about love 'I am made of that self metal as my sister' 'You have begot me bred me loved me'-talks about affection
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