King Lear Act 1 Scene Essay

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King Lear Act 1 Scene

What impact did Act 1 Scene 1 of King Lear have on you?

The first scene of the first act of King Lear had a genuinely dramatic affect upon me.
This first glimpse into the world of Lear and his subordinates sets the premise for the whole play, unravelling within the first few pages, themes which I believe will become increasingly evident. The scene opens with the introduction of three characters – Kent, Gloucester and Edmund. Of these three characters the only one who seems not to have been shown in an unfavourable light yet, by this brief introduction, is Kent. This could be intentional to set It is made clear Edmund is a bastard, and therefore illegible for proper acknowledgement as the son of an Earl.
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At this point of the scene it can be clearly noticed how similar Goneril and Regan are, as Regan asks Lear to measure her worth as he measured Goneril’s. This closeness seems symbolic in a way to the close-knit coven in Macbeth, as these women seem to have underlying deceptive qualities. Before considering Cordelia’s answer to Lear, we must note her comments made during Goneril and Regan’s ‘speeches’. This is keen use of the aside speech by Shakespeare as the audience would be able to hear Cordelia’s confusion over what her response shall be and her truthful belief that her love is more ponderous than her tongue. Her indecision over what to say to her father shows really how much she does not want to offend him, but instead she does the opposite, as he cannot see beyond his pride, to her loyal words.
When she says “Nothing”, she is indicating to him that he should no the worth of her love for him. The king, shocked with this appearance of ingratitude in his favourite child, desired her to consider her words, and to mend her speech, lest it should mar her fortunes. Cordelia then tells Lear that she loves him according to her station, and as much as he loves her as his daughter. She is as she says “young…and true”. Lear is obviously hurt but it seems, due to the severity of his actions, that his pride and title have been harmed more. He disowns her and she becomes his “sometime daughter”. At this point Kent intervenes on Cordelia’s behalf

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