King Lear: Act 4 scene 2 notes

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English lang and lit king Lear revision
Act 4 scene 2 notes
Plot
Goneril and Edmund discuss becoming lovers and Goneril says Albany is a coward.
They part like lovers as their conversation is filled with sexual connotations.
Albany enters and says Goneril and Regan have treated Lear inhumanely. Albany
and Goneril argue. Albany says Goneril's behaviour will lead to chaos and she
accuses him of cowardice and says she should be prepared to defend his kingdom
from the French. Albany is shocked by Gloucester's treatment. Goneril receives a
letter from Regan and is worried that Regan might come between he and Edmund
now she is a widow.
Themes
Anger- Albany is angry at how Lear is treated and this grows when he hears
of Gloucester's treatment.
Gender roles and differences- Goneril is very commanding and dominant
here and is behaving in the opposite way a woman was expected to behave
towards her husband.
Justice- Albany sees Cornwall's death as a retribution for Gloucester's
mistreatment but still vows to avenge Gloucester's suffering.
Rivalry- between Goneril and Albany as Albany supports the king whereas
Goneril doesn't.
Characters
Albany- portrayed by Goneril as being weak and is sided against her. She
also calls him a coward. However, the treatment of Gloucester makes him
seem stronger here.
Goneril- dominant and behaves in the opposite way a woman was expected to
behave towards her husband by arguing with him, insulting him and working
against him.
Language features
"A fool usurps my bed" (line 28)- Goneril calls Albany a fool whilst inviting
Edmund to be her lover
Lines 17-18 "give the distaff into my husband's hands"- metaphor for
domestic, female role suggesting she is taking control and her husband is
going to lose his masculine control due to his cowardness. Goneril's control is
also shown here as it is said in the form of an imperative.
A lot of insults are used here such as "milk livered man!" milk has
connotations of femininity and delicateness suggesting Albany is not strong
or masculine and that he can easily be controlled. This is also shown through

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English lang and lit king Lear revision
the use of a short exclamative. Albany calls Goneril evil through words such
as "devil", "fiend" (lines 59-60) and "be monster not thy feature" (line 63)
Dramatic irony- as the messenger reveals what happened to Gloucester, but
the audience already know this.…read more

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