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King Lear: Act 2 Scene 2 revision notes
Kent attacks Oswald and Gloucester tries to break them up. Cornwall tries to find
out why they were fighting and is offended by Kent and therefore wants him to be
punished and orders that he is put in the stocks and Kent argues that he is a
servant of the king, but Cornwall ignores him. Regan wants him to be put in the
stocks, showing that she is loyal to her sister more than she is to the king.
Gloucester is loyal to the king so doesn't want Kent to be put in the stocks as it
would be insulting to Lear.
Loyalty/betrayal: Kent's punishment is showing who is loyal to Lear.
Cornwall and Regan aren't loyal as they insult Lear by putting Kent in the
stocks but Gloucester is loyal as he doesn't want this to happen.
Conflict: argument between Cornwall, Regan and Gloucester over whether
Kent should be punished.
Power/status: Regan and Cornwall are taking Lear's power as they make the
decision to punish Kent instead of leaving it to Lear.
Kent: loyal to Lear but also show dignity by not protesting about being put
in the stocks makes the audience admire Kent.
Gloucester: loyal to Lear as he tries to stop Kent from being put in the
Cornwall and Regan: not loyal to Lear and are becoming power hungry as
they start to use others for their own gain.
Phatic talk (line 1-4)
Lines 13-23: Kent insults Oswald by calling him weak, vein, fussy and lazy.
Shows how angry he is that Oswald won't serve Lear which illustrates his
loyalty to Lear.
Kent is the dominant speaker at the beginning of the scene as he changes the
mood of the scene after Oswald speaks politely.
Cornwall uses imperative verbs such as "keep" and "speak out". He also uses
a lot of interrogatives showing that he is the agenda setter.
Kent calls Oswald an "unnecessary letter" (line 101) which was the letter `z'
in Tudor times as it wasn't used much which suggests that Oswald is
unimportant. Also because the insult is so obscure this creates the dramatic
effect of humour.