King Lear Study Guide 2

What question does Lear ask his daughters? How much do you love me?
How does Lear expect his daughter’s to answer his question? He expects flattering rather than an honest answer from his daughters
What answer does Cordelia give her father? “I will love you as much as a daughter should love her father, no more, no less.”
Does Lear realize Cordelia’s sincerity? No
How is Kent’s reaction to Lear’s banishment of Cordelia an example of sight and insight? He sees things for the way it is and realizes Cordelia’s answer is more honest
What is Lear blind to? Cordelia’s love
What does Kent realize about Lear? He is superficial
What does Lear and Gloucester have in common? They are blind to the love of their true children
When Cordelia bids the love of her sister’s saying, “The jewel of our father with washed eyes, Cordelia leaves you.” She is referring to sight vs. insight, what does she mean? -Cordelia talks about her own eyes being washed and sees the situation clearly for what it is-She knows what her sisters are doing and is willing to step back and watch how things play out-Jewels may stand for the sisters, but can also be a synonym for the eyes
How does this love test foreshadow the way this plot is going to play out? He has pitted daughter vs. daughter which shows that rivalry is going to be a predominant subject in this story
What emotional reasons were suggested for Goneril and Regan’s treatment of Lear and their sister Cordelia? They were fearful that he was going to give Cordelia the biggest portion of the land, so they knew they were going to have to over exaggerate to “woo” their father
What emotions are at the root of the Edgar vs. Edmund plot? Edmund felt less favored than Edgar and therefore he decides to become a villain
How does Lear upset the theme of natural order? -He illustrates that authority has rank and a king has an obligation to reign fairly not nearly because it is his prerogative to do something-He was willing to give the most shares to Cordelia the youngest rather than the eldest, Goneril
What information is in the letter that Edmund pretends to conceal from his father? A plan to murder their father and possessing their father’s land
What does Edmund suggest that his father does to pursue the content of the letter? He comes up with a plan where Gloucester can hear a conversation between Edgar and himself
What did Gloucester’s and Edmund’s conversation about the constellations and the stars reveal about their belief? -The stars are responsible for the mischief that’s happening-Gloucester associates Edmund with the eclipses and the son of the moon
What does Edgar believe about the constellations and stars? Edgar doesn’t believe that the stars influence human existence at all, but he realizes people look at the stars for answers rather than looking around them
Where does Edmund send Edgar in Act I? Into hiding and invites him to his house and promises protection and the wrath against his father
What concerns about Lear’s intentions does Goneril express in her conversation with Oswald? -Goneril is afraid that Lear is still going to still demand control and authority-She believes her father is a child and deserves to be treated like a child
Who does Goneril contact by letter? -Regan to tell her Lear is coming and how to treat Lear-She wants to make sure that Regan doesn’t want her father to have power or authority as well
How does the disguise that Kent adopts the theme of sight and insight? -Trying to teach Lear not to base people on the exterior but the interior-Kent’s loyalty and good character didn’t change even after what Lear did to him
How did Kent try to trip up Oswald? Kent has a conflict with Oswald because he wasn’t giving Lear respect
What wisdom does the fool express about possession on one hand and nothing on the other hand? Cordelia is banished because she is suggesting nothing to her father, and the fool is suggesting that her nothing is true affection and her undying love for him
Why is Lear angry at Goneril? Goneril is criticizing the behavior of his knights and demands they be removed
Who else did Goneril criticize? Lear and the fool
What do Lear’s knights symbolize? Lear’s power
What is the curse that Lear places on Goneril? She can never have any kids, and if she does, the child will be deformed
What is Goneril’s reaction to Lear’s curse, and what does this reveal about her character? -Goneril disregards it and has no emotion about it -This reinforces that she has a pretty cold, heartless personality
What does Lear vow to do in the face of Goneril’s behavior and how realistic are these threats that he makes towards? He is going to appeal to his other daughter. He says, “I am going to try to reassume power and take away Goneril’s power.”
What does Goneril command Oswald to do? Take a letter to her sister Regan to explain what happened between her and her father hoping that she is going to defy him in the same way
Where does Lear send Kent in Scene V of Act I? Lear sends Kent to Gloucester with letters that tell the treatment he received from Goneril and is hoping that Regan treats him better
What does the fool criticize in his statement to Lear when he says, “Thou shouldst not been old till thy hadst been wise.” -He should’ve never given up his power so prematurely-He is saying that old age and wisdom do not go hand in hand with each other
What is the significance of Lear’s prayer to not go mad? His madness is going to adhere to the lack of righteousness in the world
What is the rumor of unheavel that reaches Gloucester? There is a division between Cornwall and Albany
Why does Edmund injures himself? – To draw blood to convince his father that his brother tried to kill him-He lies to his father and says that Edgar is planning on killing his him
How does Gloucester react to Edgar’s attempt to try to murder him? He vows that he is going to send out a search for Edgar and hurt anyone who gives him refuge
Two things change between Gloucester and Edmund after Edgar runs off -They’re no longer a family-Edgar was the favored one, but loses respect after Edmund lied to his father about Edgar’s plans
“My old heart is cracked, is cracked,” how does this parallel Gloucester’s and Lear’s relationship when it comes to old age and their relationship with their children? As parents, their hearts are broken, and they feel abandoned and taken advantage of
What does Kent say about Oswald’s character when he metaphorically claims, “A traitor made thee.” Kent doesn’t think Oswald is intelligent, nor has a lot of character
What is Oswald seen as? Goneril’s puppet
Why does Kent try to keep Cornwall and Regan from putting him in the stocks? Kent expects to be treated with certain respects and knows Lear would be angry if his servant was put in the stocks
How does Kent worrying Lear would be angry if his servant would be put in the stocks parallel Lear and Gloucester’s relationship with their children? Their children have them in the stocks and are manipulating him, and what they are doing are disrespectful
What does Kent base his future on at the end of Scene II once he has been put in the stocks? He puts his hopes on Cordelia
What decision does Edgar make that is going to help him to hide from the authorities? He disguises himself as a beggar and acts crazy; He renames himself as Poor Tom
Edgar makes the statement “Edgar I am nothing,” how does this resemble the current motif of nothing? He is talking about his former life
What does Lear receive upon his request of remittance during the presence of Cornwall and Regan? -He wants to visit them, but they lie and say they are tired-They finally come visit, and he tells her how wrong Goneril is, but becomes angry when she doesn’t agree with him
What question does Lear keep asking that Regan refuses to answer? “Why can’t I keep my knights?”
When does Lear begin losing his mind? When Lear swears revenge on both of his daughters, but realizes he has no power and there is nothing he can do
What makes the sister’s actions at the end of Act II particularly cruel to their father? He gave them everything, and they cast him out into the storm to fend for himself
There are two things that happen that signal the end King Lear’s status as a father, what are they? -He kneels in supplication to his daughters begging them for their protection-The daughters have whittled away his knights and the people who help protect him (no knights, no servants, no authority)
What does the storm represent? -His feelings that the whole world is against him-Represents his insanity
What news about Albany, Cornwall, and the King of France does Kent reveal to the Gentleman? The division between Albany and Cornwall has intensified, and the King of France plans to invade the company and has already landed troops on the shores of Dover
Kent asks the Gentleman to complete a mission, what is the mission? To go find Cordelia, and he sent his ring, so Cordelia would know that Kent sent him
When Lear is out in the storm, he remarks, “I am a man more sinned against, than sinning.” How does that remark reflect Lear’s development in the play? -It signals that Lear is having a turning point. He recognizes he has made mistakes, and realizes his assumptions about relationships are invalid and meaningless-But he doesn’t think he deserves to be out in the storm, and he believes that any of the mistakes he has made, have been surpassed with the mistakes his daughters have made (they have been SO disrespectful and do not treat him like a father)
The fool evaluates the state of Britain in a prophecy, what is his prophecy? -He believes there is no hope for Britain-He says there is going to be a time where evil and cheating are going to cease to exist, but that is just imaginary and is never going to happen-Britain is too absorbed in corruption in evil, that there is no way it can change
How do Regan, Goneril and Cornwall react to Gloucester’s request to pity the king? They think he is a traitor
What information does Edmund reveal to the audience after his father tells him about the dangerous letter? -He tells him that he is going to go to the Duke of France to see him about the information he got from the troops that are approaching-He hopes that everything that his father loses is going to be given to him
How does Lear explain his insanity? What does he blame? -He blames his daughter’s mistreatment to him-He compares his state of mind to a storm (the tempest in his mind)
When Edgar emerges from the disguise as Poor Tom, Lear immediately makes this assumption about Edgar? -He is poor and insane-Lear has the epiphany that insanity can affect anyone-He believes Edgar has done the same thing he has done
How does Edgar respond? He is providing them a set of rules that is like the 10 Commandments starting with, “Obey thy parents.”
Why did King Lear remove all his clothes? -He wanted to be like Poor Tom because he didn’t want to be himself anymore-To resemble they both have nothing
What trait is Lear developing as of the way his daughter’s have treated him? He is being humble and realizes when he was king, he didn’t think about the homeless and has developed sympathy for poor people
What is Edmund’s reward upon Gloucester has alleged sympathies for the King of France to the Duke? He gets his father’s title
What is Edmund’s attitude towards the concept of loyalty and what does that tell us about his character? He is loyal to no one but himself (“master manipulator”)
What does the Duke promise Edmund? He is going to treat him as a father if he goes against his own father
What event does Lear stage once he goes into the farmhouse? He made a play with Kent, the Fool, and Poor Tom resembling a trial with his daughters
In the trial, what does Lear accuse Goneril of figuratively? (she did it literally, but it’s figuratively) Kicking her father
Edgar fears that his true identity is going to be exposed, why should he have to fear this? It is hard for him to keep up the persona of Poor Tom and he fears he will be captured and killed by his father
What news does Gloucester bring? He learned about the plot to kill Lear, so he goes to get Kent and the Fool to lead Lear to Dover where Cordelia and the King of France are
Cornwall orders his servants capture Gloucester why? He knows that Gloucester is going to go tell Lear about his and Regan’s plan
What does he say he is going to do to Gloucester once he is captured? He is going to make him feel his wrath
Gloucester considers the treatment of Regan and Cornwall towards him is wrong, why? They are a guest in his home and he deserves to be treated with respect
What information do Regan and Cornwall demand from Gloucester? Lear’s location
This is when Gloucester receives news from Goneril about Edmund, what news does he receive? Edmund has betrayed him and accused his brother
What does Edgar mean when he says, “The worst is not so long as we can say, this is the worst.” -If you have the ability to think you are at your lowest point, you can still sink father-Only when you are dead, are you at your worst
To what degree can Gloucester contribute influence and power to the faith of the gods? -They can determine the faints of human beings-gods decide what your faith is going to be and they are playing with human life like it is a sport
When Gloucester makes his last comments about his attitude about faith, what can you infer? (at the cliff) -His plan is to kill himself-Gloucester has become very disillusioned and he doesn’t want to take his faint into his own hands-He believes he is powerless in the face of faint and if he ends his life, the gods have no control over him anymore-He has reached the point of utter hopelessness, has no hope for human beings, and he is done
What is Albany’s reaction to Goneril’s treatment of her father? -He is appalled and doesn’t believe it is right -He compares his wife and her sister to tigers
What happens at the point when Albany realizes who his wife truly is? Instead of being her and Regan’s ally, he turns and starts to oppose them
Instead of being Goneril and Regan’s ally, Albany turns and starts to oppose them. What does he hear afterwards? He hears Cornwall is dead, and he feels there is some justice in that
After hearing what Cornwall, what does Goneril do? Goneril turns on Albany and starts having feelings toward Edmund
What news is given regarding the death of Cornwall? He was killed by a servant in a sword fight trying to keep him from blinding Gloucester completely
What does Albany learn about Edmund? What is his resolution? -Edmund brung about the capture of Gloucester, and he encouraged Cornwall to pluck out Gloucester’s eyes-Albany vowels revenge
What effect does Shakespeare create by allowing the French King return to France and leaving Cordelia in Dover to lead the French Troops? The battle is really going to be between the sisters, so what seems to be a conflict is really a family crisis
What information does Kent want from the messenger? How the letters he sent to Cordelia were received
How does Kent describe the differences between Lear’s three daughters? He makes the realization that even though parent’s have multiple children, each and every one is going to be different from each other
Why does Lear refuse to see Cordelia in Act IV? He feels guilty
What does Cordelia promise for anyone who can help her father? All her material possession
Why does Regan think it’s necessary to find Gloucester and kill him? She is afraid that people are going to have sympathy for Gloucester
Why does Regan want to open the letter her sister has written to Edmund? She is jealous of her sister and wants Edmund for herself
There is a conversation that happens between Regan and Oswald in Act IV that reveals a lot about his character, what kind of character is he? Opportunistic, power hungry, and not interested in right or wrong
What is Gloucester’s intention upon reaching Dover? He wants to jump off the cliff and kill himself
Gloucester thought he is throwing himself off the cliff, but he just fell forward to the ground and fainted. Edgar just assuming the character of the man that just happened to be passing by the cliff, revised him and tells him that it is a miracle that he survived falling off the cliff. What has Gloucester resolved? He believes he has been saved by the grace of gods, and he decides he is going to bear his affliction with blindness with strength, and he must’ve been tempted by the devil when he attempted suicide
After the fight between Edgar and Oswald, where Oswald is wounded, what does he ask of Edgar? Bury his body and take the letter Goneril wrote to Edmund
What does Edgar learn from the letter? He learns that Goneril and Edmund have developed a relationship with one another, and she wants Edmund to kill her husband, so they can be together
Does Lear ever realize his error in judgement? Yes, at the very end of the play
Are Lear and Cordelia ever able to reconcile? -Yes, he still has to face the wrath of the other two daughters-He is ultimately destroyed by the very forces he set into motion
What fear does Regan express to Edmund at the beginning of Act V, and what does she demand from him? She is worried that her sister is going to take him from her, and she makes him promise he isn’t going to become involved with Goneril
What do you learn about Goneril’s character in this Act V? Her relationship with Edmund is more important to her than her fight against France, and she will sacrifice everything for him
Why does Albany stay with Regan, Edmund, and Goneril despite what they do? -He believes that loyalty is more important than his feelings of resentment-Albany is an exact opposite of Goneril
Why is Edgar who is still in disguise want to speak with Albany? He wants to warn him that Goneril is planning on killing him to be with Edmund
What orders does Edmund give the captain? Follow to Cordelia and Lear to prison and murder them
What does Albany want? He wants the prisoners
Albany is sort of able to put Edmund in his place, how does he do this, and why? -Albany reminds him that he is the one on charge, and Edmund is not an equal rank to him-He does this to keep him from seeing Lear and Cordelia until later
How does Regan stand up for Edmund? She constantly resists her sister loves for Edmund and demands that he will be hers; although, Goneril isn’t going to let her sister link her name to Edmund
After the argument between Regan and Goneril what does Albany accuse Edmund of? Treason and challenges him to a duel
Regan starts to feel sick, why is that? Goneril poisoned her
In the fight with Edmund, Edgar wants to avenge Edmund’s lie. What is Edgar referring to? -At first, he is referring to Edmund’s betrayal of his father-He is also referring to him betraying his brother by telling lies about him
Before Edmund dies, he intends to do a good deed, what does he do? He sent someone to save Lear and Cordelia
Someone else already commissioned Cordelia and Lear’s death, who was this? Goneril
Cordelia is murdered, how does Albany try to appease Lear, who has become distraught over this? He tells him that he is going to give him back his throne and all the power that comes with it
What does Albany do with the power once Lear dies? He gives it jointly to Kent and Edgar
In Albany’s final speech, he says, “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” In that quote, he is alluding to some of the themes we discussed earlier, what do you think he really means? -Honesty and the superficialness of appearances-Flattery as opposed to the person relationship and honesty