Class Notes (836,589)
Canada (509,861)
English (880)
Lecture 7

ENGLISH 3K06 Lecture 7: English 3K06 - Lectures 7-12 - King Lear
Premium

9 Pages
54 Views
Unlock Document

Department
English
Course
ENGLISH 3K06
Professor
Melinda Gough
Semester
Fall

Description
Friday September 26 Introduction • Act 1 Scene 1 o Introduces all of the major characters, and two main plots o Experiences not through costumes or visual scenery but through the language o “The bare stage is people with actors in sumptuous clothes” (111) o “[W]e must deduce such information as setting and time [plus characters] from the dialogue” (110) o What clues can we find in Act 1 Scene 1’s dialogue (particularly the first lines) regarding a) temporal and geographic setting and b) characters? ▪ Gloucester has a bastard son – indulges his passions as Hamlet would say ▪ In a world where children have to be birthed to two married people ▪ Social setting – marriage and family are basic institutions ▪ Patrilineal passing of status from father to son ▪ In a world where people are called “dukes” – Albany, Cornwall ▪ Albany and Cornwall located in England ▪ Land of nobles – king and immediate family, dukes ▪ Dukes are rulers of their sovereign territory ▪ Illusion that things are in balance – dukes are equal ▪ State of transition – King Lear nearing the end of his rule ▪ Transition of rulership ▪ At the court/castle – place of majesty ▪ Court – also the people who surround the king ▪ Shakespeare’s audience would have been familiar with King Lear ▪ Famous play – chronological history of King Leer which was popular ▪ Running out of authority – geographical and questions of political power in family structure involving gender ▪ Sex, sexuality, illegitimacy • Prosody in Shakespeare o Iambic pentameter o Rhythmic language o Like our everyday language but more structured, patterned and heightened • Examples in Act 1 Scene 1 o Line 34 = first line of iambic pentameter in the play o Because it is the king’s first line of the play o He is of elevated status – therefore his language will also be heightened o Kings of France and Burgundy are coming – homage to the foreign rules o Using the imperative – royal command (establishing the king’s authority) • Prose o Begins the play • Rhyming Couplet o Moralizing take away heightened by the patterning of language o 1.1.325 o 1.1.212 Tuesday September 30 Dramatic Structure (Plot) • Main Plot & Sub Plot o Main plot – King Lear and his daughters o Sub plot – Gloucester (an earl) and his sons (Edmund and Edward) • Power o Dukes just below the king and their family – sometimes are related o Dukes are the heir to the throne o Monarchs  Dukes/Duchess  Earl o Gloucester intersects with Lear – both dealing with problems with their children o What is the problem that Lear creates? o Transfers land to the two elder daughters, leaving nothing for Cordelia o He has no sons – no patrilineal power o Transfer of property becomes difficult (no sons, three daughters) o Themes of authority, rule, political/economic/social order • Sub Plot o First lines of the play introduce Gloucester’s sons o Why would Shakespeare add this sub plot so early in the play? o Foregrounding through a foil method (distorted reflection) o Makes things appear bigger and more powerful o Helps reflect what is going on in the main plot o How is Gloucester’s situation similar to King Lear? o Similar relationship of antipathy from child to parent o Cordelia? disregarding Lear  Edmund disrespects his father o Intense and complex mirrorings between both plots • Edmund o 1.2.1-23: Soliloquy ▪ Wants to usurp his father ▪ Access to his inner thoughts ▪ Framing his interactions with Gloucester o 1.2.109-144: Response to Gloucester ▪ Edmund talking about the stars ▪ Reflecting on Gloucester’s statement that the world is upside down ▪ Parallel between disorder in human and cosmic realms ▪ Edmund commenting on Gloucester’s previous lines ▪ What is so foolish according to Edmund about Gloucester’s world view? ▪ Foolish if you have bad luck to blame larger forces ▪ Challenging all types of structural authority ▪ The divine heavens ruling over the human spheres ▪ Challenges the monogamous relationships over the social realm ▪ Challenging the family structure ▪ Calling his father a hypocrite ▪ Blaming his actions on the stars – mocking Gloucester’s language ▪ One should take responsibility for one’s actions ▪ Relation to karma – not a larger power ▪ One has choices and actions rather than a destiny amongst the stars o Goneril, Regan ▪ Edmund allies himself with them (rising up against their parents) ▪ Wants the property, title and power that belongs to their fathers ▪ Camp of Lear and his loyal followers ▪ They refuse him hospitality (end of Act 2) ▪ Duke of Cornwall forces Gloucester to shut his doors against Lear ▪ Cordelia, Kent, the fool (king’s servant/jester) Setting • Geographic o We know that it is set in England • Textual Sources o Early modern chronicle historiography (Grafton, Holinshed) • Temporal Setting o “Pre-history” of the English nation o Hamlet – revenge tragedy drama (literary classical sources) o Christian overlay that suggests mercy is a greater virtue than vengeance o Hamlet caught between these two value systems o Pagan world – Gloucester and other characters praying to “the gods” not God o Nature as a goddess o Metaphysical questions being set Themes? Paul Delany “King Lear and the Decline of Feudalism” • Metaphysical o Redemptive power of suffering (neo-Christian) o Loss of value (absurdist, nihilistic) • Material o Feudal order based in lineage/birth o Proto capitalist – order based and • Pre-Historical/Christian Setting o Allows the play to add a distance o Reflect on the opposing values that Shakespeare’s time period saw as clashing o Still a monarchical system going on o Moonie economy = status depended less on who you were and more on what you had – motive exchange is monetary rather than social bonds o Edmund and his camp stand for proto capitalist and bourgeois values o Same as Shakespeare’s life o Shakespeare was a business man above all (bought himself his own coat of arms for his family) – would be aligned with Edmund’s proto capitalist values o Rising up against the feudal order Friday October 3 Discussion Questions • Ashley o Cordelia paralleled to Christ figure o Lear leads Cordelia off  talks about sacrifice o Goneril calls her the better soldier o Is their immorality tied to masculinity o Question 1 – a • Vanessa o Lear is not a hero, he is a fool o Characters like Kent are more heroic o Cordelia develops the plot o Sympathetic harmony o Cordelia bringing the army in – hope that things can be restored o Playing with the audience’s emotions • Jaimie o Process of the dowry ceremony o No control emotional aspects o Confuses his emotional and political boundaries when giving Cordelia away o Questioning the lineage of power o Lear dynasty gone o Political power over his daughter’s choices is questioned • Humneesh o Question 1 o Gloucester only “seeing” the truth after he looses his vision o Can also be applied to King Lear o After he loses his power he realizes how he could be a better king o Lear’s wisdom in his madness parallel Gloucester’s vision after losing his eyes • Justine o Is King Lear someone worthy of following? o When the ruler is usurped, bad things happen o Was there ever order to begin with? o King’s divine right (that makes them superior) is below me o This doesn’t work o Criticism of two types of king  one who battles and one who is smart o He’s old  can king’s really retire? o Madness proves this – going mad in his old age o He destroys the patriarchal line – order of the kingdom o Because he’s the one who puts his kingship in question o He only had daughters o Fatal flaw = he didn’t have any sons o “Which of you loves me more?” o Something inappropriate about this guy right off the bat o Women have a duty to their fathers • Would King Lear be a tragedy without the king’s death? o Parental relationships with the kids o How they respond to their parents o Notable that Shakespeare’s play does not follow the script of Holinshed/Grafton o For it to be a just ending, there has to be an appropriate consequence o Under a patrilineal system – passage of property from father to oldest son o He is screwed from the beginning o Lear doesn’t have the emotional bond – has to give daughters away o Enforce exogamy – exchange of daughters between men – social order • Sedating King Lear o Act 4 Scene 7 o Line 7 – be better suited o Language of medicine Tuesday October 14 Staging Shakespeare • McDonald Chapter & 10 Actor Chat o McDonald on trends in staging of Shakespeare’s plays post 1642 o See Chapter 3 regarding staging during Shakespeare’s lifetime o 1642: Closing of London theatre public performances o 1660: Restoration (of monarchy, of public theatre) o Masses of people would die in large groups o Example: contract the plague in the theatre o During a time of war, you wouldn’t want large mobs of people o Should servants obey the ruler even if he is wrong (example: King Lear) o Or is there a duty to rise up against the tyrant ruler? Huge issue o Rise of the French Revolution o Charles I beheaded in front of the theatre for restoration of the theatre • Three Major Changes After 1660 o 1) Introduction to Actresses (Page 354, 356) ▪ Increased opportunities for music and dance o “Shakespeare in Love” – inaccurate that there was a ban on women acting o Theatre com
More Less

Related notes for ENGLISH 3K06

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit