KING LEAR - Act 3 Scene 1, 2 & 3 analysis

  • Created by: S_F
  • Created on: 21-05-22 20:27
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  • Scene 1
    • Cordelia wants to help, however this means there will be an invasion by the French. This is a hard situation for the audience as they are torn between not wanting France to invade but wanting Lear and Cordelia to reconcile
    • Dover becomes a symbol of new hope and redemption
    • This act is made up of short and swift scenes to show Lear’s dramatic descent into madness.
    • Scene 2
      • Lear rants (the violent imagery of the storm reflects Lear’s state of mind) and ignores the Fool (showing increasing isolation). The Fool states that a man who favours a useless part of the body over what is really worth cherishing shall suffer lasting harm -  analogy for favouring Goneril and Regan over Cordelia.
      • Kent is concerned with how Lear is. Having the Fool and Kent stick by their master offers a glimmer of hope.
      • Lear moves away from being solely obsessed and focused on the ingratitude of his daughters to considering sin in general.  Although this is being performed to a post-reformation audience some will still have been aware of the catholic sacrament of confession. The first step in confession is acknowledging your sins – this offers hopes, as maybe from here Lear will go up. We see Lear becoming conscious of the plight of the poor and outcasts. Ironically, now that he is on the verge of madness, he can see more clearly.
      • The Fool speaks of Merlin - Merlin is supposed to have lived a 1000 years after Lear (so this mention gives an element of magic – he is like a prophet who can see into the future. He becomes almost timeless and very closely linked to the Fool of the tarot cards)
      • The injustice, decline of faith and corruption seen in the play was still present in 17th century England. Filial ingratitude, sexual greed and manipulation, violence and lack of respect corrupt society
      • Lear’s words are full of self-pity. He makes a reference to himself as a slave which echoes ACT 2 SCENE 4 where he says he would rather work as Oswald’s slave than return to Goneril.
      • Lear runs around ‘unbonneted’ – he is both mentally and physically exposed.
      • Scene 3
        • The final couplet in his speech stresses inter-generational rivalry. Edmund sets his eyes on his father’s title
    • Scene 3
      • The final couplet in his speech stresses inter-generational rivalry. Edmund sets his eyes on his father’s title


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