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Shakespeare, William. KING LEAR acts I-II - Book Report/Review Example

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These men are deliberating the fact that the kingdom is near to be divided by King Lear. King Lear, Britain’s ruler goes to his throne room and reveals his idea of dividing the kingdom among his three daughters. The king…
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Shakespeare, William. KING LEAR acts I-II
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King Lear Act The play starts with two noblemen, Kent and Gloucester. These men are deliberating the fact that the kingdom is near to be divided by King Lear. King Lear, Britain’s ruler goes to his throne room and reveals his idea of dividing the kingdom among his three daughters. The king wants to give up the government responsibilities. The king directs his daughters to state which among the three loved him the most. He promised to offer the largest share to the daughter who loved him most. Regan and Goneril, King Lear’s devious daughters respond to their father with flattery. They tell King Lear that they do love him very much.
King Lear’s favorite and youngest daughter, Cordelia, does not talk about loving his father. When compelled, she asserts that she loves his father the way a daughter is needed to love her father. Cordelia goes on to assert that her other two sisters would not have husbands if they gave their love to the king as they had stated earlier (90-91). King Lear responds with anger and disowns Cordelia. The share of the kingdom is then shared among Regan and Goneril.
Analysis
The demand of King Lear that his daughters show how much they love him is perplexing and suggests the fear and insecurity of the old man who wants to be pleased of his own importance. Regan’s and Goneril’s love is seen to be flattery. Contrary to her sisters, Cordelia is seen not to know how to compliment her father, an instant reflection of her true devotion and honesty to him. When asked what she can say in getting the greatest inheritance, she says, “Nothing my lord” (86). The love of Cordelia and the king’s blindness to its reality cause the tragic events that come later.
Act 2
In the castle where Gloucester lives, Curan, Gloucester’s servant tells Edmund that he has told his father that the duke of Cornwall together with his wife are coming to their castle. Curan goes on to give imprecise rumors on trouble developing between the Albany’s duke and Cornwall’s duke. Edmund is seen to be happy when he hears that the Cornwall is visiting as he knows that the can use him in getting rid of Edgar.
Edgar is called by Edmund out of his place of hiding and is told that Cornwall is not happy with him as he is on the side of Albany of disagreement. Edmund also lies to Edgar that Gloucester has known where he hides. When Edmund hears his father coming, he removes a sword and plays to fight with Edgar. While Edgar is running away, his arm is cut and Edmund lies to his father saying that Edgar wanted him to join him in plotting against the life of Gloucester. He also said that Edgar wanted to kill him if he refused. Edmund gets a lot of praises from Gloucester for that act.
Analysis
By Edmund wanting to get rid of Edgar reveals that he is immoral and cunning. His capability of manipulating individuals is well seen when he tells Edgar to get out of his hiding place. There is irony when Edmund describes Gloucester in different ways supposedly conspired by Edgar against the life of Edmund’s father.
Work Cited
Shakespeare, William. King Lear. New York: Signet Classics. 1998. (c. 1608) Read More
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