King Lear: Points on Imagery and Symbolism (not a q&a kind of set)

Explanation of this quizlet set I’m copying down points from the imagery and symbolism notes on this page: sides of a card contain a point, because I’m not sure how I would write the terms.I’ve tried to bold all of the quotes
Verbs you might want to use AmusesAppalsDisgustsEmphasisesEvokesHeightens (our sense of outrage, our sympathy, our curiosity etc.)HorrifiesIntriguesProvokesRepulsesRevoltsSaddensShocks
In Shakespeare’s time, the human body was frequently used as a metaphor forthe kingdom. When Regan refuses to offer comfort to Lear and to keep all his knights, he says, she is ‘a disease that’s in my flesh, / Which I must needs call mine. Thou art a boil, / A plague-sore an embossèd carbuncle, / In my corrupted blood.
In Renaissance thinking, the balance of the natural world could be easily upset as it was linked to the nature of man. If a person or people behaved in an unnatural way, then disorder in the wider world was inevitable. Although it is Cordelia that Lear originally accuses of behaving like ‘a wretch whom nature is ashamed / Almost to acknowledge as hers’,
Lear uses imagery drawn from nature when he casts her out, calling on the ‘sacred radiance of the sun’ to bear witness to his disowning his youngest child. Edmund’s case is even more interesting than Goneril and Regan’s however, in that he is actually a ‘natural’ son but not a son according to the law of the land. It is Gloucester who draws our attention to this, making it perfectly obvious that while he loves his illegitimate son, he is not his son ‘by order of law’, unlike Edgar.
Edmund’s reaction to his situation is to reject the ‘natural’ duty owed by a son to a father and to embrace instead the more primal and basic laws of nature in which the strongest prevails and self-interest is the main motivation for all action:*Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy lawMy services are bound.* When Lear discovers that Goneril and Regan have betrayed him, we see just how strong is the link between man and nature.
The storm shows us that the connection betweenman and nature is so strong that if the balance of one is disturbed, the balance of the other will be equally thrown. the people of Shakespeare’s time were far more at the mercy of nature and the elements than we are today.
‘This tempest will not give me leave to ponder / On things that would hurt me more’It is a distraction for lear All of those who flout the natural order of things (according to the understanding of social laws of the time) are dead by the end of the play. Because of their actions, innocent characters such as Cordelia and Kent are dead too.
Animal imagery in King Lear is linked to pain and suffering. Serpents dart, wolves are savage and even Cordelia’s imaginary enemy’s dog bites her! The animals to which the evil characters are compared are all predators which feed on the flesh of other creatures: wolves, tigers and kites for example. For their appetites to be satisfied, others have to die.
If man is reduced to the level of a beast, then chaos and bestial cruelty may rule the day. Albany predicts such an outcome when he says that Goneril and Regan are ‘tigers, not daughters’ and if their behaviour continues unchecked then ‘Humanity must perforce prey on itself / Like monsters of the deep.’Translation of last quote: Human beings will become cannibals, like ravenous sea fishes. Goneril reveals her true nature to her father and advises Lear to reduce his train of knights to a manageable number. Lear feels utterly betrayed by her actions and cries, ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child!- one of the first references to Animal imagery
When Lear goes to Regan, he says that Goneril ‘struck me with her tongue, / Most serpent-like’. → Goneril is often compared to a snake/serpent The final comparison between Goneril and a snake occurs in Act 5 Scene 3, when Albany calls his wife a ‘gilded serpent’ who has made love to Edmund despite being married.
Goneril being compared to a snake is a reference to Adam and Eve. Although the play is set in pre christian times, this is a reference the audience would have picked up on. When Regan tells Lear to go back to Goneril, he is appalled and says he would rather ‘be a comrade with the wolf and owl’ than subject himself to his daughter’s cruelty once more. -The king is saying that he would rather reduce himself to the level of a beast. This is a shocking idea.
In Act 3, Scene 4, he describes Goneril and Regan as . In ‘pelican daughters’his time, it was believed that pelicans fed their young by stabbing their own breasts with their long beak and giving the blood to their chicks. This vampiric image is appropriate, however, as Lear implies that Goneril and Regan are taking his life’s blood and draining him of everything that makes him who he is. Lear says to Tom O Bedlam (Edgar) * ‘unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,forked animal as thou art’. *→ Without the trappings of civilisation, man is no more than animal.
The two main aims of animal imagery in the play are to show is that if we behave like animals, then we will be subject to dreadful pain and suffering and that if we reduce ourselves to the level of beasts, we lose our basic humanity.
When Lear disowns Cordelia, he orders her ‘out of [his] sight’ Kent advises Lear to reconsider his rash action andurges him to ‘See better’
Sight is linked to good judgement, and blindness to bad judgement. Talk about Lear’s short sighted decisions/blindness/inability to see the truth/blind love Lear is unable to see that his power derives from hisposition rather than from any personal strength.
Goneril, in her expression of love for Lear, claims her love for him is ‘Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty’. This seems an unnatural and disturbing comparison: why would someone place a value on eye-sight? Goneril’s words, therefore, ring false from the start. *Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?*
*Fathers that wear ragsDo make their children blind; But fathers that bear bags Shall see their children kind.*Translation:Fathers who wear ragsMake their children neglect them.But fathers who are richMake their children kind. It is ironic that Gloucester says ‘Let’s see’ three times, when asking Edmund to show him the letter, as he is blind to Edmund’s purpose.
Gloucester: *I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;I stumbled when I saw:* Gloucester: ‘Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind.’