King Lear: act 2 scene 2 notes

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King Lear: Act 2 scene 2
Key: plot form language structure character
Lines 1-44: Oswald and Kent meet outside Gloucester's castle, Oswald
doesn't recognise Kent and treats him well but then Kent starts attacking
Phatic talk: (lines 1-4) asking where to put the horses
Lines 13-23: Kent heavily insults Oswald calling him weak, vein, fussy and
lazy. This shows how angry Kent is that Oswald is choosing not to serve
Lear and he feels that Oswald is betraying Lear, as Kent is loyal to Lear.
Kent wants to hurt Oswald and demands that he should fight him but Oswald
refuses to do so on the grounds that Kent is much older than he is. When he
refuses Kent starts to beat him (lines 26-41)
Kent is the dominant speaker (controlling the conversation) as he changes
the mood of the scene after Oswald speaks politely Kent starts to do the
opposite. Kent also speaks for longer terms.
Lines 45-92: Gloucester comes in to a scene of violence and tries to break
Oswald and Kent up. Cornwall tries to find out why they were fighting.
Oswald says he didn't want to fight Kent due to his older age. Cornwall is
offended by Kent and therefore wants him punished.
Cornwall is using lots of imperative verbs at the beginning of sentences such
as "Keep" "Speak out" and "peace sirrah". He also asks a lot of questions.
This shows that Cornwall is controlling the conversation.
Lines 54-55: Kent insults Oswald by saying that it is only his clothes that
make him a head steward, which implies that Kent thinks lowly of Oswald's
personality. Kent perhaps here may have forgot that he is in disguise and
therefore he thinks he is noble again and therefore above Oswald so he
feels he has the right to insult him this way and speak impolitely to Cornwall
as well.
Line 61: Kent calls him an `unnecessary letter' which was the letter `z' that
wasn't used much in Tudor times. This suggests that Kent is saying that
Oswald is unimportant. However this insult is so obscure that it creates a
sense of humour in the play.
Lines 93-124: Kent is mocking the language of flattering courtiers. Oswald
gives his side of the story to Cornwall. Cornwall orders that Kent should be
put in the stocks, Kent protests that he is serving the King, but Cornwall
ignores him.
Cornwall may have suspected that Kent is in disguise "this is some fellow"
this suggests that Cornwall is confused by Kent (line 93)
Cornwall is dominant over Kent as he makes the decisions to put Kent in the
stocks. He also asks a lot of questions "What mean'st by this?" (line 104)

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Cornwall speaks very fast to show the tension between him and Kent. This is
shown by the large amount of punctuation in the long terms of speech by
Cornwall and Kent. (lines 93-103)
Lines 124-170: Cornwall wants Kent to be put in the stocks, but Kent says
he is a servant of the King, but Cornwall ignores this.…read more


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