MADNESS essay plan for King Lear/Oedipus




1) Initial motif of madness at the start of the play  

2) storm setting echoes Lear's inner turmoil and mounting madness

3) Due to Lear's anagnorisis at the end of the play he is able to recognise his mistakes and transgression into madness 

PARAGRAPH 1: Shakespeare sets up the initial motif of madness at the start of the play in order to hint at Lear's foolish decisions and to foreshadow his later demise.

Early references to madness in the play –‘Be Kent unmannerly/ When Lear is mad’ and "When majesty falls to folly" pg. 107 

‘the infirmity of his age’, -madness is ascribed to his senilitiy in his old age and here Regan is suggesting that Lear's irrational judgment is 

"Thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides and left nothing in the middle." - Fool sets out Lear's fate and how he has made foolish decisions (in Act 1) which then foreshadows his loss of poweer (motif of "nothing" in the play) and his descent into madness. 

"As if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion." - even Edmond says 

"O fool, I shall go mad" 

"O, let me not be mad, be mad, sweet heaven" 

AO3i: Oedipus - Sophocles reveals the madness of Oedipus in the stichomythic dialogues between himself and Tiresias and Creon to show how pride and fear can drive wedges in friendships. --> Oedipus: "Just this: were you not hand-in-glove with him, he never would have thought of pinning Laius’s death on me." --> Creon: "What prompted him, only you can tell. Now I should like to ask, and you can do the answering.”




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