King Lear: Act 1 scene 4 revision notes

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King Lear revision
Act 1 scene 4 revision notes
Plot
Kent is disguised as a servant and seeks to serve Lear who questions Kent but
eventually allows this. Lear becomes angry when he is not treated with respect by
Oswald and when Goneril refuses to see him. The fool enters and teases Lear for
his foolish behaviour and offers him his fools cap.
Goneril asks Lear about his followers and tells him to reduce the amount he has.
Lear gets angry and curses Goneril by wishing she never has any children. Albany
is confused by all this and is being controlled by his wife, Goneril.
Themes
Power/status- Goneril seems to be taking over Lear's power even though he
is still of a higher status than her, by telling him to reduce the amount of
followers he has.
Conflict- Goneril is controlling Lear and Lear reacts to this by cursing
Goneril.
Disguise- Kent is in disguise as a servant but Lear doesn't recognise him.
Characters
Kent- loyal to Lear as he wants to serve him even though Lear banished him
Fool- witty, clever and able to insult Lear without making him angry. Close
relationship with Lear.
Albany- weak, doesn't seem to have control and Goneril is controlling him
Language features
Kent speaks in short sentences with plain language as he is adopting the role
of a servant although he occasionally breaks out of this and speaks in longer
sentences again when he begins to lose his disguise.
Lear uses exclamatives to show anger "he would not!"
Lear insults Oswald by using adjectives that connote evil such as "Whoreson
dog! You slave! Your cur!"
Lear uses more gentle terms of address when speaking to the fool as he has
a more personal relationship with him such as "No lad; teach me."
Fool speaks in prose (apart from songs which use verse) making him more
informal to Lear.
Lines 214-215: fool uses metaphor to describe how Lear's daughters are
taking him over.

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