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Animal Imagery
KING LEAR…read more

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REGAN AND GONERIL "Each jealous of
the other as the
stung / Are of the
[to Goneril] adder. Which of
"Detested kite, thou them shall I take?
liest."(I.4.254) (V.1.57-58)
"O, Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth unkindness, like a
vulture, here"(II.2.323-324)
LEAR "Those pelican
daughters." (III.4.72)
Tigers, not daughters.
(IV.5.41 and 51) Like monsters of the deep.
The sisters are continuously associated with aggressive
animals and, in the end, they are destroyed by their own
animal instincts.…read more

Slide 3

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Lear's vulnerability is
emphasised by his
comparison to passive
animals, like the "edge-
"We two alone will sing like Rhetorical
birds I'the cage"(V.3.9) question
nouns "Is man no more than this? Consider him well.Thou
(animals) ow'st the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep "The edge-
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha? Here's three on's sparrow fed the
Listing cuckoo so long /
us are sophisticated; thou art the thing itself. That it's had it
Prefix of Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, head bit off by it
negation young." (I.4.206-
bare, forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings: 207)
Adjectives come, unbutton here." (III.4.101-107)
This whole passage includes negative terms, such as the repetition of the negative, the prefix
and the preposition. This reinforces Lear's vulnerability and his negative stream of
consciousness, corroborated by the use of caesura and enjambment.…read more

Slide 4

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Suffering and Madness
KING LEAR…read more

Slide 5

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Human Suffering
In Odyssey, Zeus says:
`Ah how shameless - the way these mortals
blame the gods. From us alone, they say,
come all their miseries, yes, but they
themselves, with their own reckless ways,
compound their pains beyond their proper
share.'…read more

Slide 6

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Evocation "You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,
As full of grief as age, wretched in both:
Conditional If it be you that stirs these daughters' hearts Parenthesis and
Against their father, fool me not so much metaphor
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water-drops, Prefix / negative
Hyperbole Stain my man's cheeks. No, you unnatural hags, connotation adj.
I will have such revenges on you both and noun
Contrasts with That all the world shall ­ I will do such things ­ Parenthesis
"poor old man" What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
The terrors of the earth! You think I'll weep,
No, I'll not weep. Storm and Tempest.
Abstract noun I have full cause of weeping, but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws
Or e'er I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad."
(II.2.461-475) and metaphor
This passage is full of contradictions. On the one hand, Lear says he is a poor old man, but seems
to think he has divine powers. On the other hand, he underestimates women's power, but seems to
forget that his daughters put him in this situation.…read more

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