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Reference Guide

King Lear - Reference Guides

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University of Toronto St. George
Computer Science

TM permacharts King Lear StructureThemes AIN PLOTEMOLITION OF ORDERED SYSTEMSPPEARANCE VS. REALITY MDA Act IIntroduction Presentation of the setting, main characters, and Without divine, human, and natural laws, nature is ruled by chaos Symbolized by Edgar, who appears as many characters and chooses when to central themes reveal himself Nature tamed by laws and put into order is civilization Lear and Gloucester are fooled by appearances and blinded to reality ct IIDevelopmentrising action Edgars flight Civil unrest A amily Acts I and II are dedicated to the overturning of family law F Disobedience of Goneril and Regan Play chronicles the development of true sight, which sees reality Lears division of his lands before his death subverts tradition Act IIIClimax Lear loses his mind Edmund is given his fathers land of inheritance; results in the breakup of the family unit SIGHT Gloucesters eyes are put out French army and Cordelia land at Edmunds desire to inherit his brothers share of the wealth Gloucesters lack of insight is his tragic flaw; he is too trusting and naive, Dover also upsets order and results in family disorder s he sees only the surface of things and people a State At the beginning of Act III, rumors of civil war show crumbling Act IVDenouementfalling action Presentation of events towards the Gloucester finally sees that he must stand beside his King, but it is too late state law Demonstrates potential breakup of the country ltimate conclusion Gloucesters attempted suicide Intrigue u (Act III, Scene 3) hrough a lack of leadership Sets the stage for return to order t involving Edmund, Goneril, and Regan Albany emerges as the He is blinded (Act III, Scene 7) and thereafter loses heart (I have no way and through the leadership of Albany and Edgar leader therefore want no eyes; [Act IV, Scene 1]) Civilization Destroyed on an individual level when Edgar appears as a ct VConclusion Death of all main characters with the exception of A Lears connection with sight stems from refusal to see and is closely tied to naked beggar (Act III, Scene 4) When Lear sees him, his full Albany and Edgar is madness h adness is triggered m Involves transition from refusal to dawning awareness and then to an PARALLEL PLOTS ind Destruction of the mind and logic as an ordering system is M impassioned struggle for sight dmunds betrayal of Gloucester and Edgar parallels the main plot E seen in Lear Climax (Act III, Scene 4) shows a mind unhinged There is more scheming involved (e.g., Lear readily gave his lands away, UTHORITY A by thwarting of all other laws Gloucester must be tricked) The wickedness of Edmund, Goneril, and Lear and Gloucester are figures of high authority who are unable to see; NEMESIS egan is seen uniformly in their actions R they trust the wrong people Characters own actions work against them Development Edgars prevention of Gloucesters suicide demonstrates the Goneril, Regan, and Edmund exercise authority over their fathers Display of tragic flaw belief that the souls of all who take their lives will be damned forever Kent, the Fool, and Edgar are respectful of authority throughout the play Examples Attempted suicide would be below the honor of a king Where Gloucester LOYALTY fails, Goneril is successful; however, she is summarily punished for her Lears vanity in asking his daughters to prove the love they bear towards him Contrast between blind loyalty (Oswald) and thinking, feeling loyalty wickedness (in relation to the love for their husbands) Kent, the Fool, and Albany) ( Gloucesters readiness to believe Edmunds lies about Edgar ttraction between Edmund, Goneril, and Regan shows the attraction A Cordelias love and loyalty to her father results in their reconciliation between likeminded individuals It involves seeking in others for that Edmund underestimates his brothers love for their father which you possess in yourself Gonerils poisoning of Regan can be seen Edgars love and loyalty to his father results in reconciliation and prevents Gonerils greed and desperation force her over the line of decency s proof of her love for Edmund a Gloucesters suicide Regan follows her older sister and pays with her life Characters CHARACTER SKETCHES NameDescriptionNameDescription onerilLears eldest daughter; sister of Cordelia and Regan Married to Duke of Albany Leader in evil G ing LearOnce a dignified king; now an old man past his prime Father to Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril K She demands Gloucesters punishment; she conceives of the plot to murder her husband and Initial flaw involves dividing his lands according to how his daughters express their love marry Edmund Poisons her sister and then kills herself, forfeiting her soul His madness escalates as the play progresses; it is difficult to know if he is sane Lucid and kingly in carrying Cordelias body Gains true sight after worldly goods are relinquished ReganMarried to Duke of Cornwall; Lears daughter, sister of Cordelia and Regan Always willing to take Gloucester Father to Edgar and Edmund A lesser version of Lear; parallel figure to Lear Gains clear sight part in her older sisters evil plans Escalates Lears decline into madness (e.g., she locks the m after his eyes are put o
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