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Slide 1

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Female characters are the most
significant in the play, they
drive the plot and bring about
its ending
Discuss and examine…read more

Slide 2

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The significance of Cordelia
· Woman play a highly significant influence in the play from the very
first scene. Cordelia sparks the tragedy by refusing to play Lear's'
game in act one scene one.
· Her refusal to flatter Lear causes her to leave for France, instigating
the war between France and England.
· She brings about the ending in that she is considered the real tragedy
of the play, seen as innocent and pure throughout, and dies for
nothing because she is unwilling to flatter her father and "glib that
oily art" but is concerned for her father throughout, despite the fact
that he banished her.…read more

Slide 3

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The significance of Goneril and Regan
· Goneril and Regan drive the plot because they are the key features of
opposition against Lear, their schemes and plans for power over the
kingdom and malicious nature are the factors which spark the plays events.
They intentionally undermine their own father with their own interests at
· The two sisters bring about the end because, not only do they provoke the
initial confrontation, they team up with Edmund in the war against France
and encourage him to send a warrant for the death of Lear and Cordelia
· They are the most Machiavellian characters in the play because, unlike
Edmund, the more shocking their actions become, the more unprovoked
they seem.…read more

Slide 4

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· There are rival versions of humanity working against each other in this play, The
traditional Christian view, which stresses faith and hope, built on a reliance of the
bonds of Jacobean society, and the opposing view of a new individualism
manifested in, Regan, Goneril, and Edmund, whereby the characters are driven
solely by power and hierocracy. This view sees no moral order in the world.
· The different repetitions of the word "nature" represents this clash. For the
Christian side, nature is ordered and moral and the signs of the constellations
and the actions of the heavens are reflections of society, the first view sees life as
a matter of service to traditional ideals and that the world is what you make of it.
the second sees life as an aggressive assertion of one's own individuality.
· This structure is carried further by the sub plot that runs through the play, the
relationship between Gloucester and his sons expresses many parallels between
Lear and his children, Edmunds soliloquy draws attention towards the deceitful
nature of Goneril and Regan and his ability to frame his brother highlights the
theme of parents favouring the wrong children and banishing the loyal ones.…read more

Slide 5

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· King Lear is a dramatic tragedy, it is written in unrhymed iambic
pentameter, however much of what the fool says is performed in
tetrameter or trimeter verse for songs
· Shorter lines are used for emphasis in tense moments or moments of
· rhyming couplets provide a sense of closure at the end of scenes or
draw attention to particular thoughts…read more

Slide 6

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· Goneril and Regan use clipped commands signifying their desire for power
which drives events in the plot
· Religious imagery is used to describe Cordelia in act 4 scene 6 which
identifies her as an example of Christian goodness elevating the audiences
feelings of pathos at the end.
· Suffering is prevalent throughout the play, when Lear tells us that Regan
and her sister are " a disease that's in my flesh...a boil/ a plague-sore or
embossed carbuncle/in my corrupted blood" he signifies how they have
wounded Lear and now eat away at his flesh. This highlights their
significant part in driving Lear from sanity, and bringing about the
carnavelistic end.
· The two sisters are compared to animals to highlight their evil nature and
lack of humanity and savage nature they are likened to fiend's and
monsters. Goneril is "sharp toothed like a vulture" and is "most serpent
like". These images signify their instinctive need to eliminate competition
and threat, which is portrayed when they expel Lear from their homes…read more

Slide 7

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