The dramatic emphasis is on the generality of death . . . . The reiterated fact of the multiple deaths is processional in quality. It is like an enormous summarial obituary. The Fool disappears of causes mysterious; Oswald . . . is killed by Edgar; Goneril and Regan are poisoned and dagger-slain; Gloucester dies offstage of weariness, conflicting emotion, and a broken heart; Kent is about to die of grief and service; Edmund is killed by his brother in a duel; Cordelia dies (by a kind of mistake . . .) at a hangman's hands; and King Lear dies of grief and deluded joy and fierce exhaustion. . . . Death is neither punishment nor reward: it is simply in the nature of things.
Gloucester, meanwhile, decides to help Lear (despite Goneril and Regan's orders) and gives some shelter in a little shack just outside Gloucester's palace. Gloucester says they should all run off to , and join Cordelia, who is hanging out with her new husband and her new French army friends. (Turns out, Cordelia and the King of France are preparing for a little war against Goneril and Regan.) When Gloucester goes back to his palace, he's apprehended for being a traitor.
(This knight,and all the others, will soon abandon their king.) Lear yells atOswald, Kent trips Oswald, and a scene ensues in which Gonerildemands that Lear reduce the number of his followers -- evidentlyto 50.
You'llneed to decide whether the king has always been kind to the jester, or whether thejester (like Kent) for some reason remains loyal despite past mistreatment.Oswald is rude to Lear, and one of Lear's knights makes an indignantspeech about the king not being cared for properly.
Some people spend their lives working towards the coming of their death, and their life thereafter, where others spend there lives doing everything they possibly can to make the most of their time on earth....
"Cordelia. We are not the first,
Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon us the mystery of things
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.
Edmund. Take them away.
Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense."
Through an analysis of two passages, one can see the transition of Lear from a man blinded by the flesh to a caring and compassionate madman that sees the truth....
The most evil character may deceive one into thinking she is less evil than she is, but upon closer inspection it is quite clear that the most evil character is Goneril.
But a series of losses (based on his own bad decisions), a wise "fool", a powerful storm, a seemingly crazy man, and the death of one who truly loved him clear his vision and allow him to see himself and the world as they truly are....
The concluding events are sad, painfully sad; but their pathos is extreme. The oppression of the feelings is relieved by the very interest we take in the misfortunes of others, and by the reflections to which they give birth. Cordelia is hanged in prison by the orders of the bastard Edmund, which are known too late to be countermanded, and Lear dies broken-hearted, lamenting over her,
Lear's relationship with his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, is, from the beginning, very uncharacteristic of the typical father-daughter relationship....
First Prize is divided between the other twodaughters.You can decide whether King Lear is showingearly signs of mental illness (as his other daughtersthink), or whether he just wanted an excuse to give Cordelia the best shareof the kingdom and she just spoiled it.
The story of a bad king who becomes a good man is truly one of the deepest analyses of humanity in literary history; and it can be best seen through the evolution of Lear himself.
She limits her duties to such "as are right fit," recognizing that obligations to others may have priority. Since marriage vows would also require her to love, honor, and obey, they would of course limit the ways in which she could love, honor, and obey her father. Ergo, her sisters are liars. She couldn't have made a better case, but Lear is too far gone in egotism to pay it the regard it deserves.
Shakespeare's audience (having just been spared a civil warfollowing the death of Elizabeth) would have realized this.King Lear has staged a ceremony in which each daughter will affirmher love for him.