Friday, March 5, 2010

Reading and Responding to King Lear

Reading King Lear

1. Take notes on the following motifs by marking down the motif(s), speaker(s), act, scene, lines. For example, parenthood/sex/unfaithfulness, Gloucester, 1.1.8-1.1.24; Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, saying v. truth, 1.1.60+; Cordelia, Lear, “nothing” 1.1.96; Lear, appetite/savagery 1.1.131, 136; Kent, loyalty, madness, flattery, wisdom, emptiness, hollowness 161-174
What is the relationship between literal and figurative imagery, on the one hand, and thematic development on the other?

Is what is said understood? Is what is said true? (flattery, lies, etc.)
Is what is seen or (otherwise sensed: touched, smelled) understood? Is it true?
(Eyes are very important!)
What is natural? What is unnatural (or monstrous)?
What is sane? What is mad?
What is wisdom? (What is reasonable?) What is foolishness? (What is excessive?)
What is loyalty and faithfulness? What is betrayal and unfaithfulness?
What is kindness? What is cruelty?
How are these related to age and youth?
How are these related to parents and children?
How are these related to rank and status?
How are these related to property and wealth?
How are these related to the line between animals and humans?
How are these related to storms and calms?
How are these related to planets, stars, fates?
What is the significance of nothingness, emptiness, hollowness, loss, and nakedness in the play?
What is the significance of eating, appetites, consuming in the play?
What is the significance of sex and lust in the play?
What is the significance of blood (both as a signifier of family and of violence)?

All of the aforementioned motifs interact, weaving in and out of each other to form a matrix of association. So when Lear denies Cordelia her inheritance, he doesn't say "get away from me; you're no longer my daughter" (in Elizabethan English and iambic pentameter). He evokes several motifs and images: "Thy truth, then, be thy dower" "For by the sacred radiance of the sun... by all the operation of the orbs" "paternal care" "property of blood" "gorge his appetite" "avoid my sight" (1.1.120-139).

Also be on the look out for inversions: the natural becoming unnatural, the truth that is false, the sight that is a lie, the fool that is wise, etc. & look out for parallels. ("Monster" is tagged on Cordelia and Edgar in Act One.) Look out for motif-words with ambiguous multiple or shifting meanings (especially "nature"). Listen for playfulness and for echoes. Figurative associations often haunt the literal meanings. And repetitions often reveal the play's obsessions.

2. On the blog analyze at least two interrelated motifs. Your comments should refer to at least two specific passages (at least one passage for each motif). Demonstrate your understanding of the play so far by linking the motifs and the passages to each other and to the overall events and themes. Again, we're using close attention to small particulars to illuminate the whole. At the beginning of your post include your name, name the motifs, and quote the passages (include act.scene.line). Your insightful well-supported commentary comes next.

Comments on act one are due by pumpkin time on Monday, March 8.
Comments on acts two are due by pumpkin time on Wednesday, March 10.
Comments on acts three are due by pumpkin time on Monday, March 15.
Comments on acts four are due by pumpkin time on Wednesday, March 17.
Comments on acts five are due by pumpkin time on Friday, March 19.

77 comments:

andrew said...

Andrew R.
Nothing, and flattery

Fool, Lear, “nothing” 1.4.134-136
Kent, “nothing” 1.1.171-173
Kent: “The youngest daughter does not love least, nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds reverb no hollowness.”
Goneril, Regan, “flattery” 1.1.60-84
Goneril: “Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, beyond what can be valued, rich or rare, no less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor; as much as child e’er loved, or father found; a love that makes breath poor, and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Regan: I am made of that self mettle as my sister and prize me at her worth. In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love; only she comes too short, that I profess myself an enemy to all other joys which the most precious square of sense possesses, and find I am alone felicitate in you dear Highness’ love.

The motifs nothing and flattery intertwine early on in King Lear in that Goneril and Regan appear to flatter their father, but the truth is that their words mean nothing. Kent points out in 1.1.171-173 that Cordelia does care for the king even though she doesn’t say it when he says, “The youngest daughter does not love least, nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds reverb no hollowness.” It is obvious by listening to the other two sisters that they are clearly sucking up to their dad so they can get the land and wealth. But anyone can read through what they say and can tell that what they are saying means nothing. It’s also evident that their love for their father is not as strong as they say especially when Lear decides to live with Goneril. Here you hear Goneril’s true feelings toward her dad when she says on 1.3.4-12 “By day and night he wrongs me. Every hour he flashes into one gross crime or other that sets us all at odds. I’ll not endure it. His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us on every trifle. When he returns from hunting I will not speak with him. Say I am sick. If you come slack of former services, you shall do well. The fault of it I’ll answer.” It’s obvious that she does not enjoy his company or presence at all. This proves that her speech to him meant nothing.

nFrye said...

Nancy F.

Motifs: What is said and what is true, loyalty and betrayal, what is seen and what is true

Within the story of King Lear, Kent is one of the most complex characters. When he is banished by Lear for defending Cordelia (1.1.191-203), Kent proclaims that he will leave and is going into freedom (1.1.204-205). However, within the next few scenes, Kent returns in disguise and is rehired by the king (1.4.), thus showing that what both his and Lear's proclamations are very different from what is actually the case. That is, while Lear promises that he will never hire Kent again, he does just that. Also, Kent states that he is going into freedom, only to return to the same place from which he had just been freed.

This first motif, the difference between what is said and what is understood, is also interlaced with Kent's loyalty to the king and with the motif of the difference between things that are seen and what they actually are. Kent, though banished, returns to his king's service. Whether or not this is due to loyalty or to achieve some other goal is still unclear. However, Kent must return in disguise. Thus his true identity is different than what it appears to be.

Katina T said...

Katina Tibbetts
Wisdom/foolishness,
Loyalty/ betrayal

Wisdom/foolishness,
(passage 1) 1.4.133-154

KENT:This is nothing, Fool.
FOOL: Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer. You gave me
nothing for ’t.—Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
LEAR: Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.
FOOL: (To Kent) Prithee, tell him so much the rent of his land
comes to. He will not believe a fool.
LEAR :A bitter fool.
FOOL: Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter
fool and a sweet fool?
LEAR: No, lad. Teach me.
FOOL: That lord that counseled thee
To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me.
Do thou for him stand.
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear—
The one in motley here,
The other found out there’
LEAR: Dost thou call me fool, boy?
FOOL:All thy other titles thou hast given away that thou wast born.


loyalty/betrayal (Passage 2) 1.4.52-66


LEAR: Why came not the slave back to me when I called him.
FIRST KNIGHT: Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner he would not.
LEAR: He would not?
FIRST KNIGHT: My lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my judgment
your highness is not entertained with that ceremonious
affection as you were wont. There’s a great abatement of
kindness appears as well in the general dependants as in the
duke himself also, and your daughter.
LEAR: Ha! Sayest thou so?
FIRST KNIGHT: I beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken, for my
duty cannot be silent when I think your highness wronged.



The motifs of wisdom and foolishness and loyalty and betrayal are both common through out Act 1 that play off each other to create a sense of emotions between characters. It is clear that the King is being used by his heirs to get money, but the King is blind to this. He feels that his children love him, such as when he asks them to profess their love to him to get their inheritance. In a sense that his children don’t adore him as much as they say, they are not loyal to him. As his servants notice his foolishness, they also show King Lear with less and less respect, such as lines from 1.4.52-66. But he is so naïve to this behavior that the First Knight in this passage has to point out that the surrounding characters have been not treating him that well. These themes relate to one another by that Lear is a fool for not realizing his family’s lack of love. At such an old age, he is supposed to be the wisest, he is the exact opposite. Shakespeare goes on to use a play on words with this motif with lines from 1.4.133-154, when the fool, who is supposedly the least wise, is showing how much wiser he is compared to the Lear. The Fool thinks that Lear is stupid for dividing up his land and giving it to the people that really don’t care about him. The fact that the Fool sees this before the King even begins to ponder it shows Shakespeare’s cunning way to prove that age does not always mean wisdom. The evidence of this gives readers a sense of who the characters are, and what their futures may bring. My prediction from these clues is that King Lear will be betrayed by his children that he has trusted, even though it has blatantly been obvious that they were not being genuine from the beginning.

Sarah Al-Edwan said...

Sarah Al-Edwan

Motifs: natural/unnatural and loyalty


1.1.105 Cordelia “Good my lord…to love my father all”
1.2.79 Gloucester “O villain, villain!...where is he?”
1.2.150 Edmund “I promise…I know not what.”



Both motifs of natural vs. unnatural and loyalty go together throughout act one. Cordelia speaks the truth to her father about the way she feels for him, and is shunned because of it. She says “You have begot me, bred me, loved me. I return those duties back as are right fit: Obey you, love you, and most honor you. Why have my sister’s husbands if they say they love you all? Haply, when I shall wed, that lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry half my love with him, half my care and duty. Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, to love my father all.” Cordelia, naturally feels that she must love her husband, as much and if not more than her father. Her father who is greedy and naïve even at an old age considers this behavior unnatural. While Cordelia is actually being loyal to her father by being honest unlike her sisters, her father sees not being completely devoted to your father as unnatural and that is why he shuns her.
Again, the relationship between natural and loyalty comes up when Gloucester is fooled by his son into thinking that the other is not loyal. Edmund, Gloucester’s bastard son depicts his other brother who is the legitimate son as a threat to Gloucester. When Gloucester learns that his legitimate son Edgar is “against him” he states “Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish!” Edmund goes on to say “I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent;” He is calling his brothers supposed betrayal unnatural, while in reality Edmund is the unnatural child because he was born out of wedlock. Gloucester mistakes his loyal son for an enemy, and calls him unnatural the same way the King Lear looks at his daughter Cordelia who is actually being loyal to him, rather than acting unnatural.

Brianna A said...

Brianna A.

Stars/Fates & Nature

1.1.122 “The mysteries of Hecate and the night, by all the operation of the orbs from whom we do exist and cease to be…”
1.2.125 “This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeits of our own behavior) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon and the stars, as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforce obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the chare of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon’s tail, and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous. (Fut.) I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing…”

1.1.244 “than on a wretch whom Nature is ashamed almost t’ acknowledge hers.”

The use of stars and nature so far has outlined the inverse themes for King Lear. In the first passage Lear is calling upon the fates to explain his dismissal of Cordelia as his daughter. This connects to the third passage when he says that Cordelia goes against nature, and that nature is ashamed of her. Using nature and the astrology are a way for the characters to justify their actions on something that is beyond them and out of their control. In the second passage Edmund is saying how foolish his father and the world is by the way that people use silly arrangements in the sky to explain things, especially directly to Edgar being the direct heir and not Edmund. Edmund goes against nature because he is illegitimate so he rejects nature’s system’s reflection in society. However, nature alone and not compared to society is wild and has no system which is where Edmund should fit it. Instead, Edmund chooses to fight his illegitimacy and become a part of the system. Lear is using the stars and nature to establish that how he is treating his daughter is necessary. He is going against typical paternal behavior in order to disown his wretch of a daughter.

Meredith S said...

Meredith S.
Motifs- Natural/Unnatural and Nothing


Passages-
Lear: "Nothing will come out of nothing." (1.1.99)
Gloucester-"The quality of nothing hath not much need to hide itself. Come, if it is nothing, I shall not need spectacles." (1:2:35-37)
Gloucester: "Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities, mutinies; i countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son and father." (1:2:112-114)


The motifs of nothing and states of natural/unnatural being are interwoven throughout Act I. Lear often pushes the limits of situations of his own fulfillment, taking them from a calm "nothing" state to a more chaotic state, producing some kind of negative result. This can be applied to both motifs. When Lear says that "nothing will come of nothing," he is actually precisely trying to create something out of nothing. He insists that Cordelia speak her mind even though she was going to hold herself back from doing so. His insistence leads to her being disowned. Gloucester does something similar. He convinces Edmund to show him the letter by arguing when he says it is "nothing." Apparently, "nothing" is a concept that is not easily accepted. Similarly, there seems to be a constant need to evaluate or change the natural state of things. Gloucester describes changes in nature on lines 1:2:112-114. He seems to be quite willing to accept changes in things that are natural as inevitable and common. Nature, like nothingness, appears to be subject to change based on the whims and curiosities of people.

Francesco P said...

Frankie P

Nothingness/Emptiness and parents & children

1.4.134:
Fool: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?
Lear: Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.
1.4.192:
Fool: I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are.
They’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou’lt
Have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am
Whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any
Kind o’ thing than a Fool. And yet I would not be
Thee, nuncle. Thou hast pared thy wit o’ both sides
And left nothing I’ th’ middle. Here comes one o’ the
pairings
1.4.221
Fool: For you know, nuncle
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long
That it’s had it head bit off but it young.
So out went the candle, and we were left darkling.


The notion of nothingness is omnipresent, in context and in suggestive imagery throughout the first act of King Lear, is interwoven with the compelling conflict between parent and child. We can understand, through Lear’s brazen and harsh inclination to exile his daughters that his notion of parenthood relates to gratitude for himself. Yet parenthood in some notion, ought to be raising your offsprings to further themselves past your own limitations. In [1.4.221] the fool makes clever use of a cuckoo eating its parent sparrow, insinuating that the child spawned will inevitably devour the use of the parent, exterminating the parents light into nothingness. The same parallel holds true in [1.4.192] where Lear’s divided dominion amongst his two daughters, those whom he has not yet banished, split himself in two, and in that also making him nothing. The intriguing aspect of the nothingness allusion is Lear’s pompous ego attempt to find self-righteousness in attempting to maintain his ‘somethingness’ as King. To relate all this back to the first allusion to nothingness by the Fool in [1.4.134], ‘nothing can be made out of nothing’, in these terms meaning the emptiness of Lear’s aspirations yield nothing in reference to his offspring. Rather, it’s the fact that it is his own inability to make use out of his own nothingness that drives his aversion to his children ingratitude in the first place.

Sabrina said...

Sabrina P.

NATURE:
1.1.326
1.1.58 Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril.
1.1.195 Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
1.1.243 Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
1.1.272 Is it but this,--a tardiness in nature
1.2.1 Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
1.2.12 Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
1.2.111 nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
1.2.117 against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against
1.2.188 Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
1.4.280 Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
1.4.289 Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
1.4.297 And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
1.5.32 I will forget my nature. So kind a father! -- Be

SHAME:
1.1.125 Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
1.1.138 On her kind nursery. To Cordelia. Hence and avoid my sight!--
1.1.243 Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
1.1.326 Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
1.4.218 Which else were shame, that then necessity
1.4.253 Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak
1.4.311-312 I'll tell thee: To Goneril. Life and death! I am ashamed


In King Lear, the motifs shame and nature of tightly knit but it is hidden. The shame of Cordelia is reflected with nature. Cordelia disobeyed her father in his eyes, but the true is that she is not lying. Cordelia is telling the truth about how she feels, and being sincere. Her sisters on the other hand are not disobeyed by their family and kicked out because they lie to their father about how they feel about him. It is unnatural to kick a child out of the family. Sometimes it is suggested that nature is something the can and can not bear, but it is always there. For example, the family speaks of how ashamed they are of Cordelia, especially her father who shuns her when she does not express more love than her sisters. The motif of shame, which can be other ways said as shunning, disclaiming, or kicking one out, is what Cordelia is being put through in Act I. The majority of 1.1 is King Lear telling Cordelia how unnatural she is, and wrong. But I see this as the wrong thing, not how Cordelia handles it.

ter said...

Terri Moody

King Lear
Act One

Motifs: Truth/Dowry and Digestion/appetite

Lear
1.1.131(“ …To gorge his appetite…”)
1.1.144(“With my two daughters’ dowers digest the third.”)

In this passage found on page 15, King Lear has just discovered Cordelia’s true feelings about their relationship and is willing to give up her dowry. She makes implications about how her sisters really feel which do not match the descriptions they just made. King Lear’s response is extreme, to state it lightly, and he makes a giant speech about how upset he is. No one can persuade him that perhaps he is overreacting to Cordelia’s response and overlooking that his other two daughters were merely flattering him.
King Lear goes on to disown Corderlia. He makes the comment that he feels closer to savages and those that “gorge” on their children. King Lear is flabbergasted at how his daughter has just treated him but she has told him the truth about how she feels.
Next, King Lear talks about how Cordelia’s money can be split up between Goneril and Regan and their husbands. He makes another reference to the digestive system by stating that the remaing members who are eligible for the dowry must “digest Cordelia’s third. →Eating a dowry just makes me think of greed.
The word choices that Shakespeare uses in this passage both relate to the truth and food, appetite and digestion. Cordelia will not get her dowry because she was honest. What I got out of this is that Cordelia is trying to feed Lear the truth but he only wants to eat (hear) something to make him feel good.

Taking the truth in but not digesting or thinking about it clearly?

I would like to talk about this more because I feel like there is much more to appetite/food/digestion in relation to truth/money in King Lear.

Megan Keegan said...

Megan K.

Parenthood & Family: p. 11, line 60 “Sir…Highness’ love.”
p. 27, line 342 “Then must…bring with them.”

Wisdom: p. 17, line 175 “My life…thine eye.”
p. 49, line 102 “Nay…two daughters.”


The motif of parenthood and family appears often through the first act of King Lear. It first becomes evident that King Lear has complete control over his daughters on line 60 when he tells them that he is going to divide his land into sections for them based on how much they love him. The first two daughters, Goneril and Regan, don’t think twice about their responses to his question and suck up to their father saying that they love him “as much as child e'er loved or father found— A love that makes breath poor and speech unable” (line 65-65). These feelings towards him change however and by page 27, everything is different. This is after their third sister, Cordelia, refused to express her love toward her father and he disowned her. When this occurs, it seems that Regan and Goneril’s sincere feelings about the King come out. They say their father has “imperfections of long-engrafted condition” (line 43) meaning that he has imperfections that have become typical for him. By comparing these two different dialogues it is obvious that Regan and Goneril are manipulative and have many tricks up their sleeves.

The second motif that I tracked is wisdom. It seems to appear very frequently through unexpected characters. I first noticed a voice of reason in Kent on page 17 line 156 after Lear disowns Cordelia. Kent very strongly opposes the King’s decision and makes sure that the King knows it. “My life I never held but as a pawn to wage against thy enemies, nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being motive,” reflects Kent’s wisdom and confidence. He knows what the King did was wrong and felt he needed to try to show reason to the King. Unfortunately, he was banished for his words. Next, I became aware of wisdom in the Fool. On page 49 line 102, the Fool questions “Why, this fellow has banished two on’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.—How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters.” His words state the obvious but from someone that the King doesn’t expect it from. The Fool is right in his thinking and since his job is to say whatever he wants, he provides the words of wisdom King Lear needs to hear. The two people that provide the most insight are unforeseen but key to the story.

Megan Keegan said...

Act 2:

Megan K.

Parenthood: p. 73 line 20 “My father…advise yourself.”
p. 115, line 294 “Those…her love.”
Wisdom: p. 101, line 84 “We’ll see…perdie.”
p. 83, line 14 “A knave…till noon.”

In the second act, family ties are complicated very much. It starts off when Edgar and Edmund are conversing. Edmund has convinced his brother that their father is furious with him for telling lies about him. On page 73 line 21. Edmund manipulates his brother by saying “My father watches. O sir, fly this place. Intelligence is given where you are hid. You have now the good advantage of the night.” By saying this, Edmund forced Edgar to leave the area so that he can have time to enhance his relationship with his father to which he is a bastard child. More manipulation occurs in this act between Goneril and Regan. The two daughters work together to try to take down their father and have made him feel as though he cannot choose which of them is worse. It is then when the King declares “Those wicked creatures yet do look well favored When others are more wicked. Not being the worst Stands in some rank of praise.” In response to this, the daughters decide that neither one will house his entourage so he will have to leave. The King becomes infuriated and storms off, leaving things up in the air with his daughters.

The second motif of wisdom was evident in the second act. As in act one, the Fool is a character who delivers words of wisdom. On page 101 line 84 he sings, “That sir which serves and seeks for gain, And follows but for form, Will pack when it begins to rain And leave thee in the storm.” This is when the King is talking to Kent so it seems as though the Fool knows Kent isn’t who he says he is and is trying to convey this to the king. King Lear however is too distraught to notice this information. During this time, Kent is using his awareness and knowledge to further him in the king’s eyes. Starting on page 83, Kent begins an argument with Oswald, who the King already does not like, and stages it to make it look as though his daughter Regan put him in the stocks. When the King comes to find Kent in the stocks and demands an explanation, Kent replies by saying “Being the very fellow which of late Displayed so saucily against your highness—Having more man than wit about me, drew. He raised the house with loud and coward cries. Your son and daughter found this trespass worth The shame which here it suffers.” The way that Kent explains the situation completely turns it around on Regan and makes him look like a victim, only something that a wise man would plot.

Andrew Ryan said...

Andrew R.

Truth/Loyalty

2.1.74-99

Edmund: When I dissuaded him from his intent and found him pight to do it, with curst speech I threatened to discover him. He replied “Thou unpossessing bastard, dost thou think if I would stand against thee, would the reposal of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee make they words faithed? No. What I should deny- as this I would, though thou didst produce my very character-I’d turn it all to thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice. And thou must make a dullard of the world if they not thought the profits of my death were very pregnant and potential spirits to make thee seek it.”
Gloucester: O strange and fastened villain! Would he deny his letter, said he? I never got him. Hark, the Duke’s trumpets. I know not why he comes. All ports I’ll bar. The villain shall not ‘scape. The Duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture I will send far and near, that all the kingdom may have due note of him. And of my land, loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the means to make thee capable.

2.4.281-299

Regan: Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you, we could control them. If you will come to me for now I spy a danger, I entreat you to bring but five-and-twenty. To no more will I give place or notice.
Lear: I gave you all-
Regan: And in good time you gave it.
Lear: Made you my guardians, my depositaries, but kept a reservation to be followed with such a number. What, must I come to you with five-and-twenty? Regan, said you so?
Regan: And speak ‘t again, my lord. No more with me.
Lear: Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favored when others are more wicked. Not being the worst stands in some rank of praise. I’ll go with thee. Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty, and thou art twice her love.

The motifs: truth and loyalty intertwine in King Lear in that if a person lies than he or she will gain the other’s loyalty. When a person tells the truth in King Lear they are usually banished or affected in a negative way. In the first quote, when Edmund is lying to Gloucester about Edgar’s loyalty, Edmund is seen as the loyal one through Gloucester’s eyes. When people tell the truth, like when Regan tells Lear her true feelings about him, she is criticized and cast-out. Similar to Cordelia at the beginning of the play when she says she does not love Lear. As a consequence, she receives no benefits from her father. It seems based on this, that if you want to get ahead during this time you have to lie.

Andrew Ryan said...

Andrew R.

Truth/Loyalty

2.1.74-99

Edmund: When I dissuaded him from his intent and found him pight to do it, with curst speech I threatened to discover him. He replied “Thou unpossessing bastard, dost thou think if I would stand against thee, would the reposal of any trust, virtue, or worth in thee make they words faithed? No. What I should deny- as this I would, though thou didst produce my very character-I’d turn it all to thy suggestion, plot, and damned practice. And thou must make a dullard of the world if they not thought the profits of my death were very pregnant and potential spirits to make thee seek it.”
Gloucester: O strange and fastened villain! Would he deny his letter, said he? I never got him. Hark, the Duke’s trumpets. I know not why he comes. All ports I’ll bar. The villain shall not ‘scape. The Duke must grant me that. Besides, his picture I will send far and near, that all the kingdom may have due note of him. And of my land, loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the means to make thee capable.

2.4.281-299

Regan: Why not, my lord? If then they chanced to slack you, we could control them. If you will come to me for now I spy a danger, I entreat you to bring but five-and-twenty. To no more will I give place or notice.
Lear: I gave you all-
Regan: And in good time you gave it.
Lear: Made you my guardians, my depositaries, but kept a reservation to be followed with such a number. What, must I come to you with five-and-twenty? Regan, said you so?
Regan: And speak ‘t again, my lord. No more with me.
Lear: Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favored when others are more wicked. Not being the worst stands in some rank of praise. I’ll go with thee. Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty, and thou art twice her love.

The motifs: truth and loyalty intertwine in King Lear in that if a person lies than he or she will gain the other’s loyalty. When a person tells the truth in King Lear they are usually banished or affected in a negative way. In the first quote, when Edmund is lying to Gloucester about Edgar’s loyalty, Edmund is seen as the loyal one through Gloucester’s eyes. When people tell the truth, like when Regan tells Lear her true feelings about him, she is criticized and cast-out. Similar to Cordelia at the beginning of the play when she says she does not love Lear. As a consequence, she receives no benefits from her father. It seems based on this, that if you want to get ahead during this time you have to lie.

Katina T said...

Relating Nature to Authority

Passage 1:
2.4.178-190

Regan: Good sir, no more. These are unsightly tricks.
Return you to my sister.
Lear: Never Regan. She hath abated me of half my train.
Looked black upon me, struck me with her tongue
Most serpentlike upon the very heart.
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
On her ingrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!
Cornwall: Fie, sir, fie!
Liar: You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-sucked fogs drawn by the powerful sun
To fall and blister!

Passage 2:
2.4.52-61
Fool:
Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.
Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind.
But fathers that bear bags
Shall see their children kind.
Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to th' poor.
But for all this thou shalt have as many dolors for thy
daughters as thou canst tell in a year.


In these two passages, the themes of nature and authority relate to each other perfectly. As Lear loses his authority with his daughters, his problems are related to nature. The first passage I chose shows Lear’s anger towards his daughter for her lack of respect, he relates lighting hitting her eyes as a form of punishment. The second passage shows how the Fool is relating nature of winter to how he feels that Lear’s daughter will only give him pain in the next coming year. Comparing a loss of authority and nature to each other is an interesting way of Shakespeare saying that no one can control nature, and Lear can no longer control his daughters. Both circumstances are extremely frustrating to the people wishing they could change them. This frustration can often lead to insanity, which is what the king is heading towards.

Nick B said...

Nick B.
Act 1

Motifs: nothing and natural/unnatural

Nothing – 1.2.33-37 (Gloucester and Edmund)
Nothing – 1.4.133-137 (Fool and Lear)
Natural/Unnatural – 1.1.243 (Lear about Cordelia)
Natural/Unnatural – 1.1.19-25 (Gloucester about Edmund)

The motifs of nothingness and naturality relate interestingly in Act one. The first question is what is nothing; is it natural or unnatural. Is it natural because there’s nothing there to be unnatural, or unnatural because there should be something there? The Fool likes playing on the idea of nothing, and Lear’s confused head plays along as well (“Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.”). The Fool uses nothing almost like an inside joke, as if he knows what nothing is and confuses everyone else by talking about it. That’s essentially his role in the play; to force the other characters to wonder, and lose certainty of things that seem real. Naturality is also interesting in Edwards’s case. Which is more natural, having a child out of wedlock, free of society’s rules and principles, or having one legally and formally, the way society thinks it should happen? That question really controls Edwards’s life, and the answer eventually convinces him that he has nothing. He’s the bastard son of a Duke, isn’t going to receive any inheritance, and isn’t even respected like a real son. This prompts him to take matters into his own hands and try to make something for himself out of nothing.

Nick B said...

Nick B.
Act 2

Motifs: truth and betrayal

Truth – 2.1.43-45
Truth – 2.2.96-99
Betrayal – 2.1.29-40
Betrayal – 2.4.165-171

In Act 2 I was interested by how truth is often really a betrayal, but a betrayal can be either a truth or a deception. Edmund grossly betrays Edgar, and deceives Gloucester, with a lie. He uses deception to get his way, even though it means betraying his family, who luckily for him doesn’t know what he’s doing. Lear on the other hand, is betrayed when the truth comes out. Everything was fine when Regan and Goneril were falsely praising him, but once they get their halves of the kingdom and stop putting up their false pretenses, the truth is a harsh blow to Lear. Their feelings, though constant throughout the book, only betray Lear once he discovers them after he hears the truth from their own mouths. I liked how regardless of whether the betrayal was caused by truth or deception, the ideas of truth and betrayal, whenever either occurs, always start the other one down a path of its own too.

Sabrina said...

Sabrina P
Act 2

Craziness:

2.2.14-2.2.24 Kent going crazy about Oswald.
2.2.46-47 "With you, goodman boy, if you please. Come, I'll flesh you. Come on, young master.
2.3.9 "My face I'll grime with filth,"
2.4.219-Lear wondering about how Kent got put in jail
2.14.313 "You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!"

What is said/What is meant:

2.1.29- In cunning.... - 2.145 To stand auspicious mistress
2.2.38-39 "Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks!
2.2.100-110- Cornwall trying to make Kent feel dumb and "plain"
2.2.111-114- Kent
2.2.147 "Till noon? Till night, my lord, and all night, too."



Kent is portrayed as the crazy character in scene two of act two. For no apparent reason other than anger of "such a slave as this" "who wears no honesty", Kent attacks Oswald both verbally and physically. In scene three of act two, Edgar decides to disguise himself as a beggar. This shows his craziness from being in trouble. Then, in scene four, King Lear seems to be the crazy man. He goes off about how Kent got put in jail and blames his daughters Goneril and Regan for this. Lear says he is offended and ashamed.

In act two, scene one, Edmund tricks his brother into leaving. Edmund says things to his brother that make it seem as though he is trying to help him, but what he means is for him to flee and get lost. On 2.2.111-114- Kent talks about basically nothing, but what he means is that he is not stupid, or plain, he knows what he is talking about and his insulting is proving to work. On 2.2.147, Regan says that Kent should be locked up all night, but what he means by this is that just becuase Kent works for King Lear does not mean that the other men do not have any power over him.

These two motifs, craziness and what is said /what is meant link together through act two. The crazier the people are, or become, the less they say what they actually mean. A majority of the time, the characters say something that I do not actually understand at first, but then going back a second time, I realize it was either a play on words; for example, when Kent spoke "unplain" to prove something to Oswald. Act two is filled with connections between the two motifs. Another that would link is the similarities that are broughten out from the lies of his daughter. Lear begins to go crazy, in part, because of this. So, eventually, he says things that he really does not mean and takes off at the end of act two.

Meredith S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meredith S said...

Meredith Salo
Motifs: Lies and flattery

Passages:
Lies -- Edmund: Lines 2.1.29-32 and 2.1.43-45
Flattery -- Cornwall: 2.1.129-134



The motifs of lies and flattery have a connection in Act II. Edmund sets up a blatant lie in lines 2.1.29-32. Here, he is plotting a way to get rid of Edgar. This involves a somewhat complicated lie. Edmund tells Gloucester that Edgar is scheming to kill him, and to make it seem more convincing Edmund cuts his own arm with his sword and says it was Edgar's doing. This lie is also a form of betrayal of Edgar's trust. The motif of lies ties into the motif of flattery when Edmund gets praised by Gloucester and Cornwall based on the story of his lie. They look at Edmund with a higher regard because they are victims of his deception. This is shown when Cornwall claims that Edmund has both "virtue and obedience" when, in fact, he does not have much of either.

Brianna A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brianna A said...

Brianna A.
Act II Age & Nature

2.4.165 “Oh sir you are old. Nature in you stands on the very verge of his confine.”
2.4.174 “Dear daughter, I confess that I am old. Age is unnecessary.”
2.4.220 “If you do love old men, if your sweet sway allow obedience, if you yourselves are old, make it your cause.”

2.4.166 “Nature in you stands on the very verge of his confine.”
2.4.193 “No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse. Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give thee over to harshness. Her eyes are fierce, but thine do comfort and not burn, tis not in thee to grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train, to bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes, and in conclusion, to oppose the bolt against my coming in. thou better knowst the offices of nature, bond of childhood, effects of courtest, dues of gratitude.”
2.4.307 “Allow not nature more than nature needs; man’s life is cheap as beast’s.”


In this act, Kent acts out as his disguise and Edmund tricks Edgar until Edgar decides to disguise himself also. The sisters are passing along Lear because neither of them want him and are still hiding behind their fakeness for love to Lear. The characters are going against what is natural of them in order to achieve what they want. Kent wants to help and be outwardly opinionated as he can be with his vessel of a disguise. This is also true of Edgar and of even the sisters who use flattery to deal with their father. The age, especially to Lear seems to hide his natural foolish self. As said in the second passage I noted, Lear believes that age is unnecessary. But he also uses age to sway people, he believes that wisdom does associate with age because in the third noted passage he uses “old” and “wise” synonymously. In the four noted passage Lear is saying that nature is what it is. What makes something natural is needed; for example, if women dressed warmly to be beautiful then they would not need to waste time on gorgeous clothes which would no longer keep them warm. The characters are not battling with how to live and work within the natural society to get what they want but also how to be natural them. Shakespeare is also testing us to see what is natural, becoming older and wiser?

Molly A said...

Molly A.

FLIGHT
Edmund-2.1.20
Edmund-2.1.34
Edmund-2.1.65
Gloucester-2.1.66
Fool-2.4.52
Lear-2.4.98

SWORDS
2.1.30-Edmund
2.1.43-Edmund
2.1.68-Edmund
2.2.74-Kent

Something that has stood out, particularly, thus far in King Lear is the underlying sense of major betrayal. Every motif and relationship seems to encompass traits that allude to either unknown or known betrayal by a loved one. Flight and swords are two motifs found frequently throughout Act 2. They, similarly to eyes and nothingness, could be used to assume many other things about King Lear. However, a particular passage, where Edmund is betraying his brother Edgar, uses flight and swords is deceiving ways. “Edmund ‘I hear my father coming. Pardon me. In cunning I must draw my sword upon you. Draw. Seem to defend yourself. Now, quit you well. Yield! Come before my father! Light, hoa, here! Fly, brother! –Torches, torches! –So, farewell. Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion of my more fierce endeavor. I have seen drunkards do more than this in sport.’ (He wounds his arm)”. This quote shows the true deception of relationships in King Lear. Edmund, the brother of Edgar, is willing to practically stake Edgar’s life, upon receiving a little respect from his father. This blood-related betrayal is common to the storyline.

ter said...

Terri M.
King Lear
Motifs: Age, Madness and Nature

2. 4. 165 -176 (page 107)

Regan:
O sir, you are old
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of his confine. You should be ruled and led
By some discretion that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you
That to our sister you do make return.
Say you have wronged her.
Lear: Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark but how this become the house:
“ Dear daughter, I confess that I am old.
Age is unnecessary. On my knees I be
That you’ll vouchsafe me raiment, bed and food.”


In this short passage Regan tells her father that he is old and should let other people take of him. She weaves nature and hints at Lear losing his ability to think clearly. Regan is using King Lear’s age as an excuse for talking disrespectfully to him. I know that this is an easy attitude for modern families to get in. The elder wants somewhere to live other than a nursing home and the younger generation does not want take them in, because it is a lot of work or personal conflicts. As people get older it is easy to use age an excuse for many things. Sometimes older people even use age as an excuse themselves.
There is some word play in this passage where Regan says, “ Nature stands in your way.” Nature is used in many ways in this book and I thought it was interestingly used here because although she is talking about his nature taking a toll on his health it seems to me she is saying something about her nature without necessarily meaning too (that she does not love him). Regan goes on to say that he “ Should be ruled and led by some discretion that discerns your state better than yourself.” She basically tells him that he is not in the right state of mind to take care of him, and implying that yes, he needs someone to take care of him, but she does not want it to be her. She is trying to convince him to believe something about himself so he will essentially leave her alone.
I think it is up for discussion whether or not King Lear is actually mad. In the beginning he acts irrationally about Cordelia, and there are many other instances where seems perhaps a little mad. He seems like the money he has, has led him to believe he can buy his children’s love and affection.

nFrye said...

Nancy F.
Act Two, Scene 4, Lines: 236-328

In Act Two, loyalty and the battle between the young and old come into play in a great way. When Goneril and Regan prevent Lear from keeping some control over the situation with his knights, they strip him, essentially, of his crown. No longer does he have any authority over his men or his daughters. He feels that his people, at least the most important people in his life, are no longer truly loyal to him. They take away his authority to punish his own messenger (Kent) and then they attempt to keep him from having any men to lead. While the men are rude and unhelpful, and he had no control of them anyway, he feels that he needs them in order to maintain a semblance of kingliness.

Sarah Al-Edwan said...

Motifs: Betrayal and Truth

2.1.36-38. “Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion of more fierce endeavor. I have seen drunkards Do more than this in sport.” (He wounds his arm.)
2.4.252-265. “But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or rather a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Mend when thou canst; be better at thy leisure:
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.”

I’ve noticed in act one, and then again in act two that by withholding truth, the young betray the old. Edmund, by tricking his father into thinking he is loyal, is actually being deceitful. He cons his brother Edgar into getting in to a fake fight, and then injures himself to get his father Gloucester’s attention. Gloucester mistakes his bastard son for the natural one out of his two children, because Edmund appears to be on his side. He then sends his other son Edgar to his death, although he escapes. In act one King Lear’s children (all but Cordelia) lie to Lear about their affection. In act two, scene four, line 252 King Lear realizes their betrayal only after they are truthful with him. If they were going to continue to withhold the truth from their father Lear most likely would of remand oblivious to their betrayal. As soon as they show their true colors he understands their faults.

Francesco P said...

Frankie P
Nature and Truth/Lies

Pg 89. 2.2.100
Cornwall: This is some fellow
who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature. He cannot flatter, he.
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth!

Pg 2.3.11 –
Edgar…
And with presented nakedness outface
the winds and persecutions of the sky.

As is fundamental to the thematic development of Shakespeare’s Lear, the nature of communication and appearance is distorted from the supposed original purpose of language as truth, to a mode of cunning for self-furtherment, which may be imposed by necessity (as in Edgar’s condition). In Kent’s case, his mendacity in the brevity of his words are acknowledged by Cornwall, who realizes the revealing flaw within his manner is from the distortion of truth evident from ‘plainness’ of his language. The nature of his words results from his own nature in attempting to appear to affirm the King and gain his trust. We contemplate nature as what is natural and self-existing, and Shakespeare consistently insinuates that ‘untruth’ is natural in humankind although it is not natural in terms of truth and consistency. This notion is reliable when considering the constant allusions to the natural order and individuals natures within the text, and realizing that the nature of things carries with the distortion of what a characters perceives it subjectively as. Another character who illustrates this quite efficiently is Edgar. In the second passage, in order for Edgar to succeed in fabricating his illusion, brought upon by yet another self-furthering distortion by his brother Edmund, he must expose himself in order to conceal himself. Meaning, his assumed nakedness aids in cleaving him from his identity as Edgar, although his actual ‘nature’ lies below the conceptual character of ‘Edgar’. There’s an intriguing allusion here to the roles we play in order to affirm our identities. In abandoning identity, he can then defy the world’s affairs towards him. In a manner of speaking, we observe his actions as guileful as he is distorting other’s perception of what he would normally be, yet they are not merely modes of total self-effacement. Rather they act as modes of revealing truths about the characters underneath their roles.

andrew said...

Andrew Ryan

Motifs: Madness, Epiphany

3.4.50-67

Edgar: Away. The foul fiend follows me. Through the sharp hawthorn (blows the cold wind.) Hum! Go to thy (cold) bed and warm thee.
Lear: Didst thou give all to thy daughters? And art thou come to this?
Edgar: Who gives anything to Poor Tom, whom the foul fiend hath led (through) fire and through flame, through (ford) and whirlpool, o’er bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow and halters in his per, set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud of hear to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inched bridges to course his own shadow for a traitor? Bless thy five wits! Tome’s a-cold. O,do de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Do Poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes. There could I have him now, and there-and there again-and there.

3.6.37-60

Lear: I’ll see their trial first. Bring in their evidence. Thou robed man of justice, take thy place, and thou, his yokefellow equity, bench by his side. You are o’ th’ commission; sit you, too.
Edgar: Let us deal justly. Sleepest or wakest, thou jolly shepherd? Thy sheep be in the corn. And for one blast of thy minikin mouth, thy sheep shall take no harm. Purr the cat is gray.
Lear: Arraign her first; ‘tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this honorable assembly, kicked the poor king her father.
Fool: Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
Lear: She cannot deny it.
Fool: Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint stool.
Lear: And here’s another whose warped looks proclaim what store her heart is made on. Stop her there! Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place! False justicer, why hast thou let her ‘scape?

3.4.27-43

Lear: Prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease. This tempest will not give me leave to ponder on things would hurt me more. But I’ll go in.- (In, boy; go first. –you houseless poerty-nay, get thee in. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.) Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are, that bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, how shall your housless heads and unfed sides, your looped and windowed raggedness defend you from seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en too little care of this. Take physic, pomp. Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, that thou may’st shake the superflux to them and show the heavens more just. Fathom and half, fathom and half! Poor Tom!

King Lear in Act III slowly begins to lose his mind once he realizes what his people have been living through. This epiphany is important because it is the first time that Lear is thinking about the safety of others. King Lear’s epiphany coincides with his madness that grows later in the act. His madness is sparked by the realization of the living conditions of his fellow subjects and with the company of Edgar and the Fool who are also mad. His madness leads him to hallucinate his daughters on trial. There seems to be hope for the king early on in Act since he shows empathy for others, but as his madness grows he becomes angry toward his daughters.

Katina T said...

Katina Tibbetts
Act 3

Nature/betrayal/realization/sense of humanity

3.2.16-26

Lear: Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.
I tax not you, you elements with unkindness.
I never gave you kingdom, called you children;
You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That will with two pernicious daughters join
Your high-engendered battles ‘gainst a head
So old and white as this. O, ho, ‘tis foul!

3.4.32-41

Lear: Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,
That bide the pelting this pitiless storm,
How shall you houseless heads and unfed sides,
You looped and windowed raggedness defend
You
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’em
Too little care of this. Take physic, pomp.
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou may’st shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.


In Act three, the irony of King Lear’s situation continues. The daughters who once professed their love for him, have now turned on him. Because of this, his sense of reality has become skewed. As he goes mad, he has a conversation with a storm, from the first passage I picked. He finds his lack of power in the world even though he is a king, because he has just as little power against nature as anyone else. Although he resents this lack of power, he does not blame nature. He feels as though nature doesn’t owe him anything, and never betrayed him, unlike his two daughters. As the novel goes on, his insanity caused fro his family’s betrayal makes him focus on the meanness of the world. His focus changes from his daughters to poor people. It seems as though his insanity has ironically cleared up his mind. Prior to these events, he was self-absorbed, making his daughters profess their love, yet after this ordeal, he has become more humbled. He cares more about the world around him. After being betrayed, King Lear can now relate to the poor people and has now gained a sense of humanity.

nFrye said...

Nancy Frye

What is sane and what is mad and how children and parents are related.

Within act three, the two motifs that are most exemplified are sanity and insanity and the relationships between parents and children. While Lear, the Fool, and Kent are out in the storm and need shelter, they encounter Edgar. Lear has been driven to the point of madness due to all of the things that his daughters have done since he divided his kingdom. Edgar has been forced into disguise by his father's warrant for his death and must act as though he is an insane beggar. At the end of act three, the tables are turned on the Earl of Gloucester when Edmund betrays him and tells the Duke of Cornwall that Gloucester is still loyal to Lear. The relationships between parents and their children within the play seem to lead to madness. The children seem to grow so lustful for power that they will go to any length to achieve it, even killing, maiming, or exiling those who raised them. The parents, in return, are hopeless. However, they are not totally undeserving. Lear brings his madness and the wrath of his children upon himself by demanding more of them, Cordelia in particular, than is fair. They repay his selfishness with banishment and injury to those around them. Edmund suffers with the fact that he is the illegitimate child of Gloucester and eventually feels that he is the child who should inherit. All of the anger that is in him due to the fact that Gloucester brags about how it was a good time to make him and such is released in his betrayal and rise to power.

Edgar is a special case because, as opposed to being a parent that is betrayed by his children, he is banished by his own father. Because Edmund so warped Gloucester's mind, Edgar was forced to suffer and face insanity or death. Edgar, the loving, loyal, legitimate child, is the one who suffers as Edmund's lust for power betrays him.

Brianna A said...

Brianna A.
Act III: Sane/Insane & Loyalty/Betrayal

3.4.15 “Doth from my senses take all feeling else save what beats there. Filial ingratitude! Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand for lifting food to it? But I will punish home. No, I will weep no more. In such a night to shut me out? Pour on. I will endure. In such a night as this? O Regan, Goneril, your old kind father whose frank hear gave all! O, that way madness lies. Let me shun that; no more of that.

3.7.103 “All dark and comfortless! Where’s my son Edmund? ---
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature to quit this horrid act.”

This act is chaotic but reveals a lot of hidden truth for the characters. As the elements test Lear and cause him to go mad, he is finally able to understand the betrayal of his daughters. As Gloucester’s eyes are thumbed out of his head, he is finally able to see clearly what his son Edmund is doing to him. The flip flopping of emotions seem to shine light on the real events occurring around Lear. When Lear is led to the hovel by Kent he is shaken by the elements and sees the poor people around him. He is able to empathize with the madness in Poor Tom’s words and understands the heartache and betrayal of poor people everywhere. He himself is starting to realize that the title of King Lear does not protect him from betrayal or lies. The most dishonest and deceiving characters are triumphing: Goneril and Regan are running England and Edmund has become Earl of Gloucester over his father and brother. However, the ego of Lear has shielded him from realizing the false loyalty of Goneril and Regan and now the madness from the storm has driven him to understanding. Shakespeare is saying that what is said is not always understood and but what is felt (such as the rain, or pain) is sometimes the most revealing. This is related to parents and children such as in Lear’s case because Goneril and Regan profess their love and loyalty but that is not what they feel. Here, the words are nothing. However, when Cordelia says what she feels she is not heard or felt so she is banished and sent away. Lear hears what he wants to hear and feels what he wants to feel until the truth is shoved into his face and through his mind to help him realize.

Sabrina said...

Elements: (wind, water, fire, earth)
3.1.5-6 Gentleman “Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea/ or swell the curléd waters ‘bove the main,”
3.1.12 Gentleman “The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain”
3.2.1 Lear “Blow winds,--“
3.2.5 Lear “You sulph’rous and thought-excuting fires,
3.2.16-18 Lear “Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout rain! / Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters/ I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness. ”
3.2.48-49 Kent “Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder, / Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never”
3.2.82 Fool “With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain,”
3.4.56 Edgar “foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame,”
3.4.105 Edgar “Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind;”
3.4.121 Fool “Look, here he comes a walking fire”
3.4.126 Edgar “hurts the poor creature of earth”
3.4.137 Edgar “toad, the tadpole, the wall-newt and the water;”
3.6.58 Lear “Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!”
3.7.74 Gloucester “And quench'd the stelled fires;


Unnatural/strange:
3.1.42 Kent “Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow”
3.2.76 Lear “The art of our necessities is strange,”
3.3.2 Gloucester “unnatural dealing. When I desired their leave that I”
3.3.7 Edmund “Most savage and unnatural”
3.3.19 Gloucester “must be relieved. There is strange things toward,”

In Act III of King Lear, I picked up that every character uses reference to the elements. As we talked about in class, some other elements, like blood and bile are part of the opposing four elements. I tracked wind, water, earth, and fire. I found that in all of act 3 many of the scenes contained at least one of the four. The most important on that I tracked was 3.2.16-17. This is when King Lear is talking about how his daughters betrayed him. Lear says that his daughters are worse than the faults of nature. When he says things like “Spout rain,” he refers to let it rain, because it isn’t as bad as the betrayal his daughters have done. He says that it is not the elements fault, it is all on his daughters. Also, in the very first line of 3.2, King Lear says “Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!”; in this whole passage, Lear yells about his enrage about his two daughters Goneril and Regan because after he says he gives them everything when the fight with Cordelia is over, he betray him.
The next motif, which I have been tracking all along, is unnatural and strange. Of course, there are things that happen which I did not post because they do not use these exact words, but much of act 3 can be defined as strange on many levels. Here, 3.1.42 Kent “Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow,” Kent is warning the Gentleman in the passage about the feud between Cornwall and Albany. It seems that tracking the unnatural motif leads to violence in act 3. For example, it is strange that Cornwall gouges out Gloucester’s eyes. From this, it is unnatural that Cornwall’s own servant stabs him, in defense of Gloucester because he is supposed to be protecting Cornwall.

These two motifs connect because they both involve anger. The characters who speak of these motifs are extremely upset about certain problems. In King Lear’s case, it is the backstabbing of his daughters, and for Cornwall and Gloucester, it is the destruction of lies and land. Act 3 is strange.

Megan Keegan said...

The motif “nothingness” appears often within the third act of King Lear. In the first scene, the Gentleman is talking to Kent about the manner in which Lear is responding to all that is happening around him. The Gentleman states that he “Tears his white hair, which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage, Catch in their fury and make nothing of.” He is saying that he can tear out his hair and make a fuss all he wants but in the end the wind is going to just carry it all away into nothingness and his tantrum won’t further him any. In scene four of act three, King Lear is outside in the storm with some of his companions and “Poor Tom”. Edgar is describing all the terrible things that “Poor Tom” has gone through but Lear can only think about his own situation, asking Tom, “What, has his daughters brought him to this pass?—Couldst thou save nothing? Wouldst thou give 'em all?” Lear is actually talking about how own situation and how he gave his daughters everything without saving anything for himself. A pun is made after this comment that luckily the only thing he did save for himself was a blanket to cover himself or everyone would be in trouble. The last time that nothingness is mentioned, it is when Cornwall plucks out Gloucester’s eyes. This scene also involves the theme of sight and perception. The reference to nothingness is subtle but important. Right after Gloucester’s eyes are taken from him, Cornwall asks “Where is thy luster now?” and Gloucester responds by saying, “All dark and comfortless.” By this, Gloucester means that he has no luster and how world is full of nothing but darkness and discomfort. This punishment was chosen in particular because without his sight, a man is fairly helpless. Cornwall knew that this was a harsh form of punishment and that it would leave Gloucester blind for the rest of his life. By taking his vision from him, Cornwall leaves Gloucester with nothing.

ter said...

Terri Moody
The elements/storms and Madness/insanity/realization

3.4.8-.3.4.40

LEAR
Thou think’st ’tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin. So ’tis to thee.
But where the greater malady is fixed
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’dst shun a bear,
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea
Thou’dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind’s free,
The body’s delicate. The tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there—filial ingratitude.
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to ’t? But I will punish home.
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on, I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril,
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that.
No more of that.
KENT
   Good my lord, enter here.
LEAR
Prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I’ll go in.
(to FOOL) In, boy. Go first. You houseless poverty—
Nay, get thee in. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp.
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.


Throughout act three of King Lear there is much mention of the elements and madness. Starting on the first page of the act for instance there mention is made to weather and the Gentleman compares his emotions to the “foul” weather. As the act goes on I picked the above passage as the most important of the passages containing mention of the elements in the form of foul weather in correlation with madness and also realization. The passage makes mention to an angry sea, a bear, a storm (tempest/contentious storm) and unrest of the mind. Kent is begging him to come in from the storm but Lear argues that the storm is not affecting him because he is so upset.
I have felt this way before. There have been things that I have been so upset that I did not eat. My body shut down on the need for food. I just was not hungry because there was so much on my mind. My body functioned fine but my appetite was gone. This is similar to what King Lear is going through, he does not notice the physical events happening around him because he is distraught. In addition to physicality not affecting K. Lear, the storm is symbolic of the raging emotions in King Lear’s heart about the events and his growing old. The storm is also the beginning of King Lear talking notice of the poor people around him. In the midst of this terrible storm King Lear has an epiphany about the way other people who are not so wealth live daily.

ter said...

Terri Moody
The elements/storms and Madness/insanity/realization

3.4.8-.3.4.40

LEAR
Thou think’st ’tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin. So ’tis to thee.
But where the greater malady is fixed
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’dst shun a bear,
But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea
Thou’dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind’s free,
The body’s delicate. The tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there—filial ingratitude.
Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to ’t? But I will punish home.
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on, I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril,
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that.
No more of that.
KENT
   Good my lord, enter here.
LEAR
Prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I’ll go in.
(to FOOL) In, boy. Go first. You houseless poverty—
Nay, get thee in. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep.
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp.
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.


Throughout act three of King Lear there is much mention of the elements and madness. Starting on the first page of the act for instance there mention is made to weather and the Gentleman compares his emotions to the “foul” weather. As the act goes on I picked the above passage as the most important of the passages containing mention of the elements in the form of foul weather in correlation with madness and also realization. The passage makes mention to an angry sea, a bear, a storm (tempest/contentious storm) and unrest of the mind. Kent is begging him to come in from the storm but Lear argues that the storm is not affecting him because he is so upset.
I have felt this way before. There have been things that I have been so upset that I did not eat. My body shut down on the need for food. I just was not hungry because there was so much on my mind. My body functioned fine but my appetite was gone. This is similar to what King Lear is going through, he does not notice the physical events happening around him because he is distraught. In addition to physicality not affecting K. Lear, the storm is symbolic of the raging emotions in King Lear’s heart about the events and his growing old. The storm is also the beginning of King Lear talking notice of the poor people around him. In the midst of this terrible storm King Lear has an epiphany about the way other people who are not so wealth live daily.

Nick B said...

Nick B.
Act 3

Motifs: betrayal and the line between animals and humans

Betrayal – 3.4.21-25
Betrayal – 3.7.57-59
Animal/Human – 3.4.55-67
Animal/Human – 3.7.101

The fine line that Shakespeare’s characters dance, and sometimes cross, between animal and human is common and diverse in Act 3. Animalism comes up often, and in almost every character. Edgar (Tom) is closer to Golem (from LOTR), or a filthy animal, than he is to a human. But he also has an innocence in his insanity that makes him deeply human. Edmund on the other hand, is a prettily made up noble son, and now the Duke of Gloucester. But the things he does strip him of his humanity, it seems against our ethical code to mercilessly betray both your brother and your father, but he does it without a single qualm. Cornwall, in a second, turns on both a faithful vassal and devoted knight and brutally blinds one and murders the other. The only justification; they didn’t betrayed from his betrayal. They were loyal to either the king because of his rank or to their moral code, or both, but either way it didn’t fall in with Cornwall or Edmund’s plans, so they suffered. Betrayals like these seem animalistic, they’re so base and so crude that as developed a race as ours shouldn’t be able to perpetrate these crimes. But that raises a great question, is that betrayal and cruelty really human nature; the human condition? Are Tom and Lear the animals because they are low, honest, and innocent, uncorrupted by humanity? And Edmund and Cornwall are the humans, cruel, vicious, backstabbing humans, who should really be ranked even below the animals. The relationship between the motifs of betrayal and humanity raise the convoluted question; is it more animalistic to live frugally in the dirt and lead a straight life, or to be high up and have attained that stature through unethical and unthinkable means like betrayal?

Molly A said...

Molly A.

In Act 3 of King Lear, there is a commonly found struggle with power and blame. On 3.2.60, Lear says “Close pent-up guilts, rive your concealing continents and cry these dreadful summoners grace. I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” It becomes clear that when power shifts, so does consciousness of blame. Until the point when he was stripped of his wealth and social standing, King Lear does not take into consideration the reason to mistreat another, it is simply his right. However, it becomes a tallied count when everything is taken. He pities himself, and strives to coax others into doing so.
With Gloucester, Edgar, and Edmund there is a struggle as well. Suddenly, Edmund has what he wants, the respect and devotion he has always wanted from his father. Edgar is out on his own, living in a tent in the middle of a storm. The reader would assume that Edmund would be satisfied. However, a shift in power changes both those who lose it and those who gain it. So, subsequently, Edmund turns on his father, Gloucester. Gloucester is then told by his attackers that his son has betrayed him.
Power struggle and blame depend on one another in novels such as King Lear. A shift in their pattern, changes the personalities of characters in that story, changing the plot completely. In King Lear, they are currently relating mostly to child/parent relationships, and oddly enough, the children have gained control. It is interesting to see where these two motifs will take us, with the more immature and inexperienced roles in the upper hand.

Francesco P said...

Frankie P
Insanity, Blindness, and Parenthood

3.4.163 –
Lear: [To Edgar] what is the cause of thunder?
3.4.170 –
Kent: His wits begin t’unsettle
Gloucester: Canst thou blame him?
His daughters seek his death.
3.4.180
Gloucester: The grief hath crazed my wits. (referring to Edgar’s supposed deceit)
3.7.09 –
making father blind not fit for Edmund’s sight. Although it is Edmund who used his father’s blindness to deceive him, and will not see him see.
3.7.70 Children make parent’s blind. Pluck out their eyes.
3.7. 85 Cornwall plucks out Gloucester eye.

The convoluted intricacies that manifest themselves in relation to the insanity yielded from corrupted filial relations are especially revealing on parenthood. Lear attempts to understand the origins of his anguish and daughter’s treachery, manifest as nature’s lightning tempest (3.4.163). It’s intriguing to note that the ‘nature’ of his children’s lust for power, is what itself induces the nature of his tempest experience, where the natural elements, at their worst, can destroy a man. The very insanity that overwhelms the lower generations, inducing the blinding bliss of power, causes the children of the aged to feed their parents their own madness. Lear becomes crazed at the ingratitude of his daughters, enacting a trial to ease his raving anguish (3.4.170), understandable to Gloucester when considering the breadth of commitment a parent devotes to their offspring, and being met by their own guile. Intricacies arise, when we consider that the madness Gloucester feels, comes not from the truer deceit from Edmund, but rather from his elder, innocent son, Edgar. Here his madness is blind, yet upon being physically blinded by the Duke and his Countess, he becomes exposed to the darkness of the truth in reality. Although, he meets the revelation that Edmund was his betrayer with sympathy, thinking his poor son mistaken, and praying for him to prosper and flourish in his evident demise.

Sarah Al-Edwan said...

Act 3 Sight and Betrayal

3.2.64 “I am a man More sinned against than sinning.”
3.7.69 “Because I would not see thy cruel nails Pluck out his poor old eyes; nor thy fierce sister In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.”
3.7.107 “Out, treacherous villain! Thou call'st on him that hates thee: it was he That made the overture of thy treasons to us; Who is too good to pity thee.”

Both sight and betrayal are related in act three because the older generation is being betrayed by the man, and at some points they are unable to see why or if that is even happening, and at other points they are only able to see the betrayal once there sight is gone. When King Lear states “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” He is unable to see his mistakes still, even after all that his happened. He does not fully see what he has put other people through, and how he has out casted the only loyal people in his life that are loyal. (Cordelia and Kent). In scene seven, Gloucester says that he will not let Lear’s children do such cruel things to their father which prompts them to physically pluck out his eyes while they are mad with power. After Gloucester is blind he asks for his son Edmund. Regan says “Out, treacherous villain! Thou call’st on him that hates thee: it was he that made the overture of thy treasons to us; who is too good to pity thee.” Gloucester is only able to see that his son has betrayed him and that he betrayed his only loyal son once he was blind. In King Lear quite often characters are unable to see the betrayal they are enduring, and at other times it is only when they loose their sight that they become aware of things.

Andrew Ryan said...

Andrew Ryan
Motifs: Truth and Hope

4.6.31-69

Edgar: Give me your hand. You are now within a foot of th’ extreme verge. For all beneath the moon would I not leap upright.
Gloucester: Let go my hand. Here, friend, ‘s another purse; in it a jewel well worth a poor man’s taking. Fairies and gods prosper it with thee. Go thou further off. Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.
Edgar: Now fare you well, good sir.
Gloucester: With all my heart.
Edgar: Why I do trifle thus with his despair is done to cure it.
Gloucester: O you mighty gods! This world I do renounce, and in your sights shake patiently my great affliction off. If I could bear it longer, and not fall to quarrel with your great opposeless wills, my snuff and loathed part of nature should burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!-Now, fellow, fare thee well.
Edgar: Gone, sir. Farewell. – And yet I know not how conceit may rob the treasury of life, when life itself yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought, by this had thought been past. Alive or dead? – Ho you, sir! Friend, hear you. Sir, speak. – thus might he pass indeed. Yet he revives. – What are you , sir?
Gloucester: Away, and let me die.
Edgar: Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air, so man fathom down precipitating, thou’dest shivered like an egg; but thou dost breathe, hast heavy substance, bleed’st not, speak’st, art sound. Ten masts at each make not the altitude which thou hast perpendicularly fell. Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again.

4.7.65-99

Cordelia: O, look upon me, sir, and hold your hand in benediction o’er me. No, sir, you must not kneel.
Lear: Pray do not mock: I am a very foolish fond old man, fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less, and to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind. Methinks I should know you an d know this man, yet I am doubtful, for I am mainly ignorant what place this is, and all the skill I have remembers not these garments; nor I know not where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me, for, as I am a man, I think this lady to be my child Cordelia.
Cordelia: And so I am; I am.
Lear: Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray, weep not. If you have poison for me, I will drink it. I know you do not love me, for your sisters have, as I do remember, done me wrong. You have some cause; they have not.
Cordelia: No cause, no cause.
Lear: Am I in France?
Kent: In your own kingdom, sir.
Lear: Do not abuse me.
Doctor: Be comforted, good madam. The great rage, you see, is killed in him, and yet it is danger to make him o’er the time he has lost. Desire him to go in. Trouble him no more till further settling.
Cordelia: Will ‘t please your Highness walk?
Lear: You must bear with me. Pray you now, forget, and forgive. I am old and foolish.

The motifs: truth and hope interweave throughout Act IV in that whether or not people are telling truth, they provide a little hope to the play. In the first passage Edgar lies to Gloucester about approaching a cliff, which Gloucester plans on jumping off. This lie is beneficial because it spares Gloucester’s life and inspires Gloucester to believe in miracles. This passage is also important because it shows that not every character in King Lear is evil; it shows some hope in the play. In the second passage, King Lear gets the courage to tell his daughter Cordelia that he was foolish and old. He blames himself, and later tells Cordelia that he loves her. This gives hope to the play that Lear and Cordelia will become closer than ever. Unfortunately since this play is a tragedy, it is known that King Lear will die, so it’s good that there’s some happiness and hope in this play.

B Shay said...

I haven't had any electricity so I'm posting everything now. I'll post the rest (as well as Heart of Darkness stuff) in a bit.

King Lear act 1


Nothing


KING LEAR

Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

KING LEAR

Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.


Natural/nature



KING OF FRANCE

This is most strange,
That she, that even but now was your best object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence
Must be of such unNATURAL degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall'n into taint: which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.


Summary: In the first part of King Lear , the word’s nothing and natural are playfully bouncing around from person to person as well as their definitions. Lear’s statement that nothing will come of nothing is used to describe the land transfers, but can be seen in many ways. If nothing happens then nothing will happen, but since something does happen then something must have happened (see my logic?). Nothing must represent something because who talks about nothing? There is no substance in nothing, just talking about nothing makes it something. Just because Cordelia does not get land doesn’t mean she wont get land?
The other word natural is used to describe the unnatural birth of Gloucester’s son Edmund. It is later used to describe King Lear’s treatment of his daughters “Nothing” and that it is unnatural (not right). The flip of the words definition is probably used to try to highlight its meaning in the play. Edmund is mad about his bastardness and France about unnatural attitudes. Follow the motifs and you will probably come out with an answer. So overall I used these two words as my motifs because they are a play on words in the play.

B Shay said...

Comparing Nothing to Nature act 2.


Nature/natural

Act 2 part 3

Edm. Persuade me to the murder of your lord ship;
But that I told him, the revenging gods
'Gaints parricides did all the thunder bend;

Spoke with how manifold and strong a bond
The child was bound to the father; sir, in fine,
Seeing how loathly opposite I stood
To his unNATURAL purpose, in fell motion,
With his prepared sword he charges home
My unprovided body, lanced mine arm:
But when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
Bold in the quarrel's right, roused to the encounter,
Or whether gasted by the noise I made,
Full suddenly he fled.


Nothing

Act 2 scene 1

Enter Edgar.

My father watches: O air! fly this place;
Intelligence is given where you are hid;

You have now the good advantage of the night.
Have you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornwall?
He's coming hither, now, i' the night, i' the haste,
And Regan with him; have you NOTHING said
Upon his party 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
Advise yourself.

Summary: These quotes are about how Edmund was very crafty and got Edgar to run away from home, leaving him the spot of duke. Edmund pretends Edgar has said something bad “thing nothing said about the Duke of Albany”. This “Nothing” sparks Edgar to flee the castle in fear of people coming after him, which is just a made up lie of course by Edmund. He is doing this because he is the unnatural son of Gloucester and he knows that he will not get the throne as that. This cunning plan is made to get Edgar out of the picture so that he is free to take the throne. “Nothing” is used to relive his “Unnatural” past.

B Shay said...

King Lear act 3

Nothing and unnatural

Act 3 scene 2

Enter Gloucester and Edmund.

Glou. Alack, alack! Edmund, I like not this unnatural dealing. When I desired their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house; charged me, on pain of perpetual displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.

Edm. Most savage and unnatural!

Glou. Go to; say you nothing. there is division between the dukes, and a worse matter than that. I have received a letter this night; 't is dangerous to be spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet. These injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there's part of a power already footed; we must incline to the king. I will seek him and privily relieve him, go you and maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived. If he ask for me, I am ill and gone to bed. If I die for it, as no less is threatened me, the king, my old master, must be relieved. There is some strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful. [Exit.]

Summary: These quotes are about how Gloucester was told not to sustain his illegitimate son for any reason, possibly for political reasons. Gloucester wants Edmund to say “nothing” of the matter because he has decided to make him duke of Gloucester. This is in Gloucester’s leave to find King Lear is the storm. What si so witty in this part is that Edmund is calling the mistreatment of an unnatural son, unnatural itself. This is a change to chant was said at the beginning of the story (that he was an embarrassment to have). Edmund of course thought this the entire play as well as Gloucester, but he wants Edmund to stay quiet about it “to say nothing” of the matter.

Brianna A said...

Brianna A.
Act IV: Hope & Rank/Status

4.1.1 “Yet better thus, and known to be contemn'd,
Than still contemn'd and flatter'd. To be worst,
The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter. Welcome, then,
Thou unsubstantial air that I embrace!
The wretch that thou hast blown unto the worst
Owes nothing to thy blasts. “

4.2.71 “Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries
‘Alack, why does he so?’”

As Mr. Cook discussed in class, King Lear is a hopeful tragedy. Even in the midst of poverty, betrayal, wrath of elements, pain and madness there is hope for theses characters. As Act Four begins, Edgar is actually optimistic even though he is completely banished and betrayed by his own brother and is living under another identity in poverty. Such as in the first passage above Edgar looks on the bright side and is thankful for not being like Lear who is flattered but despised behind his back. Also, when Albany sends Oswald with word to Goneril about his dissatisfaction with Goneril and Regan’s actions Shakespeare reveals hope in even the highest ranks. Albany is able to defy his wife even with the power struggle they face with each other. This is similar to when the servent stands up to Cornwall and Regan about gouging Gloucester’s eyes out. There is hope in the bravery and principles no matter what their status. However, this is a tragedy and the underdogs are not the only who have hope as we can see from Edmund’s large successes and Goneril and Regan’s sexual hope in Edmund when they have lost their husbands. As the second passage points out, Goneril is holding Albany as a “moral” or “vain” fool for helping Gloucester and defying her, Regan and Edmund. This reflects the King’s foolishness. Does power equal wisdom? Does foolishness equal weakness? There is hope for the romantic brave ones who stand up for what they believe in, but realistically, will they come to power? Shakespeare is playing with hope and optimism because the darkness of the play reveals that the lack of order and decency in the world can often overcome the valiant and hopefulness. As the tragedy continues Shakespeare can play with the success and power of rank and living and the supposed failure of foolishness and hope.

Nick B said...

Nick B.
Act 4

Motifs: loyalty/betrayal and rank/status

Loyalty (servant) – 4.1.15-18
Loyalty (noble) – 4.2.115-118
Betrayal – (noble) 4.2.14-29
Betrayal (noble) – 4.5.32-42

I realized while reading the Shakespearean drama of lies, betrayal, and deceit, that there is often a strong correlation between loyalty and peasantry, and betrayal and nobility. The majority of betrayals in King Lear, as well as in stories universally, are perpetrated by entitled people. The nobility feels more invincible, and more licensed to be evil and corrupt and betray people. There are frequently examples of this, ranging from Edmund betraying his brother and father for his personal advancement, Goneril trying to cheat on Albany with Edmund, and Regan trying to steal Edmund from her own sister Goneril. All of these crimes were committed with little remorse, and barely a second thought before the act.

Loyalty on the other hand, is very prone to the working class, in both King Lear, and in stories in general. The old man who helps the blinded Gloucester find Tom for a guide is, at risk of death or worse, determined to aid his long-time duke, though he is poor, untitled, and cast-out now. We see from this that true loyalty isn’t to a crown or an office, it’s to a person who you feel deserves your undying faith, and it’s having the strength to do whatever you think is best for that leader. Kent had to follow his loyalty the hard way in Act 1 when he knew the King was wrong, and he chose to stand up and get banished rather than let the King commit grave mistakes unimpeded. One key exception to this trend was Albany in Act Four Scene Three when he vows to help Gloucester because of the loyalty he showed to the King, rather than rolling over and letting the sisters do whatever they wanted. When the reader sees Albany’s true colors they are immediately inclined to sympathize with his plight (having an evil wife he can’t get rid of) and have hope for justice for Lear and Cordelia in the end. Whether or not this will happen is definitely in question, as it’s a Shakespearean tragedy it’s somewhat unlikely, but familiarizing Albany in this way demands new respect and admiration for a previously undeveloped character. Loyalty and class are interesting in the fact that the lower class are usually more truly loyal, while the upper class are usually superficially kind and truly backstabbers, but also in the deviations from the norm and what that can say about that specific noble.

Molly A said...

Molly A.

Act 4

Rivalry 193-195

Regan-“I know your lady does not love her husband; I am sure of that; and at her late being here, she gave strange eliads and most speaking looks to noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.”
Oswald- “I, madam?”

Regan- “I speak in understanding. Y’are; I know ‘t. Therefore I do advise you to take this note: My lord is dead; Edmund and I gave talked, and more convenient is he for my hand than for your lady’s. You may gather more. If you do find him, pray you, give him this, and when your mistress hears thus much from you, I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her. So, fare you well. If you chance to hear of that blind traitor, preferment falls on him that cuts him off.”



Reconnection 219-221

Lear- “Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight? I am mightily abused; I should e’en die with pity to see another thus. I know not what to say. I will not swear these are my hands. Let’s see. I feel this pin prick. Would I were assures of my condition! :

Cordelia- “O, look upon me, sir, and hold your hand in benediction o’er me. (No, sir,) you must not kneel.”

Lear- “Pray do not mock: I am very foolish fond old man, fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less, and to deal plainly, I fear I am doubtful, for I am mainly ignorant what place this is, and all the skill I have remembers not these garments; nor I know not where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me, for, as I am a man, I think this lady to be my child Cordelia.”

Cordeilia- “And so I am; I am.”



Two commonly occurring motifs of Act 4 are reconnection (as a result of change in power) and rivalry. They both severely affect the way characters act in relation to one another, as well as how they view normal scenarios of life. Lear, for example, becomes much more forgiving and remorseful towards Cordelia, and they therefore reconnect, when he explains to her that he was foolish to ignore and abandon her in the way that he did. However, it took his personal and major drop in social standing, as well as Regan and Goneril’s skyrocket in power, for him to be able to identify his wrongdoings. Cordelia, being undoubtedly the most easy going and honest character, accepts and everything is fine again. It is common in King Lear, for the less powerful to be most forgiving, where the most powerful are the most malicious.

Regan and Goneril’s relationship may be tested a bit at a further point in King Lear, as well. Considering they have both fallen in love with Edmund, it is possible that the power they have developed through collectively manipulating, will encounter some problems due to the difficulty of their common interests. This, could essentially lead to the demise of the control they’ve gained.

nFrye said...

Nancy F.

Loyalty and the relationship between parents and children.

In Act Four of King Lear, children are able to interact with their parents in an entirely different way than they could at the beginning of the play. When Cordelia and Edgar were banished, they did not lose their love and loyalty that they gave their parents, despite their parents being incredibly selfish and harsh.

When the Earl of Gloucester loses all hope along with his eyesight, he accidentally comes across his son Edgar who is in disguise (due to the fact that his father has a warrant out for his death.) Gloucester actually talks about how he wishes that he had not listened to Edmund and instead had seen the loyalty that Edgar had to his father. Edgar, who had already forgiven his father, decided that he would most certainly help Gloucester reach Dover. Since Gloucester desired to commit suicide there, Edgar tricked him into thinking he fell off of a cliff, but the gods had saved him. This gave Gloucester a new reason to live, and he rewarded "Poor Tom". In this passage of the play, Edgar was able to treat his father like someone that he could protect. Edgar acted older and wiser by not holding onto a grudge and leading his compromised father to relative safety. It plays into Shakespeare's idea of reversal of roles between youth and the old.

In a similar way, Cordelia is able to behave in a mature manner that indicates wisdom and a good heart. When Lear arrives in Dover where the French army is camped, Cordelia offers him food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. She is not angry or resentful of her father, even though he disowned her in a moment of disappointment. Instead, she proves her love and loyalty (as opposed to Goneril and Regan, whose words proclaimed this things. Their actions, on the other hand, betrayed the king in every way.) Once again, the child is the bigger person, so to speak, and is able to earn respect (and the love that she deserves) from her father.

Sarah Al-Edwan said...

Motifs: Betrayal, loyalty and sight

4.6.74 “Alack, I have no eyes. Is wretchedness deprived that benefit, To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort, When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage, And frustrate his proud will.”

4.6.15 Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. How fearful
And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:
The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge,
That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more;
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.”



4.7.317 “O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,
And every measure fail me.”





One thing I noticed is that so far in this tragedy, sight can be the cause of a lot of problems. Lear is unable to see that his daughters are working against him, and it is only until he looses everything he sees the truth. Gloucester is unable to see how his son who he perceives to be loyal is actually his enemy. When Gloucester looses his eyes, and is unable to physically see, he wants to die. Losing his sight to him is losing everything. In act 4 scene 6 Gloucester says “Alack, I have no eyes. Is wretchedness deprived that benefit, To end itself by death? 'Twas yet some comfort, When misery could beguile the tyrant's rage, And frustrate his proud will.” Although for the most part lack of sight is a set back, and is related to betrayal when Gloucester is about to commit suicide his son Edgar saves him. Edgar, although is not being honest instead of betraying Gloucester , he actually saves his life. By pretending that Gloucester is at the end of a cliff that he can’t see Edgar prevents his father from dying. It seems that although there was a change in direction, when the children of Gloucester and Lear betray their parents, Edgar was able to undo some of the harm. Although he can not give his father his sight back, he is still standing faithfully by his side, as is Kent with Lear. Also, later on we learn that Cordelia is able to forgive her father, and put his mistakes in the past.

ter said...

Terri M.

King Lear, Act 4, Nature in contrast with humanity, health, life and fortune.

4.4.13 Doctor: “There is means, madam. Our foster nurse of nature is repose the which he lack. That to provoke in him are many simples operative, whose power will close the eye of anguish.”
4.6.149-150 Gloucester: “ O ruined piece of nature! This great world shall so wear out to naught. Dost thought know me?
4.6.44-51 Gloucester: O you might gods! This world I do renounce, and in your sights shake patiently my great affliction off. If I could bear it longer, and not fall to quarrel with your great opposeless wills. My snuff and loathed part of nature should burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him! - Now, fellow, fare thee well.
4.6.209-210Lear “No rescue? What, a prisoner? I am even the natural fool of fortune. Use me well/ you shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons: I am cut to’ th’ brains.”



In the first passage I mentioned about nature the Doctor is telling Cordelia that “nature” will heal King Lear. If King Lear gets back on natures clock and get the rest he needs he will be back to his normal self. It is interesting that Shakespeare brought nature into play at this point because nature is such a reoccurring theme but it is usually used in reference to the nature of humans. Perhaps this passage is implying something about the nature of King Lear’s heart, or perhaps a change in his nature, that will be shown when he is back in good health.

In the next little section Gloucester uses nature to refer to his own being. He is using nature in reference to his body. As we have been talking about in class lately, our beings are due to nature. That is the nature of humans to reproduce.

In this next section Gloucester is about to try to commit suicide. Suicide is not a natural way of dying and Gloucester states he knows this but has decided that he can live now knowing what Edmund has been up to. This passage displays Gloucester is trying to mess around with nature and how his son Edgar will not let him. Edgar ends up lying to his father, but only so that Gloucester will not die.

In the last passage, Lear is talking about himself as being not well in the mind. He refers to himself as the “natural fool of fortune” in the book this is described as “one born to be the plaything of fortune”. King Lear believes a lot in the cosmos and luck. He believes in nature and natural events being in charge of what happens.

Sabrina said...

Eyes:
4.1.19-25
OLD MAN: You cannot see your way.
GLOUCESTER: I have no way and therefore want no eyes./ I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen/ Our means secure us and our mere defects/ prove our commodities. O dear son Edgar/ the food of thy abused father's wrath,/ Might I but live to see thee in my touch,/ I'd say I had eyes again
In this passage Gloucester has already been blinded. Gloucester says that he does not need his eyes, but he wants to see his son Edgar, who he doesn't know has, is with him. Edgar is the one who brings his father to "jump off the cliff" but does not actually bring him to the right place. Edgar is with his father, but it seems that the love between father and son is not strong enough to be heard by voice, or felt by touch. In other words, Gloucester is saying that he does not need eyes, but he will live only to see his son again. But this contradicts him wanting to die because he does not have eyes to see his son and find him.


Power vs. Lust:
4.2.21-29
GONERIL: Into my husband’s hands. This trusty servant/ Shall pass between us. Ere long you are like to hear---/ If you dare venture in your own behalf--/ A mistress’s command. Wear this; spare speech./ [She gives him a favor]./ Decline your head. [She kisses him.] This kiss, if it durst speak,/ Would stretch thy spirits up into the air/ Conceive , and fare thee well.
4.2.48
ALBANY: Tigers, not daughters, what have you preformed?/ A father, and a gracious aged man,/ Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would lick ……………….. –to- See thyself, devil!/ Proper deformity shows not in the fiend/ So horrid as in woman.
These two passages show the power versus lust. In the first passage, Goneril is talking to Edmund, who she desires. Goneril though, is married to Albany. Albany, only wanting the land that is in store for him from Goneril’s father, King Lear, thinks it is okay to tell Goneril off. But, Goneril actually just wants Edmund, not her husband. She even calls her husband out on not being a manly man, when she says he is a “milk-livered man”. Albany is no better, telling her that she is “not woth the dust which the rude wind blows in your face”. So, while Albany wants Goneril’s power, and Goneril wants Edmunds lust, Edmund is not sure if he wants Goneril or her sister, Regan. In turn, Goneril fights with her husband because they do not like each other, so she then fights to win Edmund over but kissing him.

Hayden said...

Justice/Injustice
Lear:(1.1.135-155) "Peace, Kent... this coronet between you."
Gloucester:(1.2.79-83) "O villain, villain!... Where is he?"
Goneril:(1.4.206-219) "Not only, sir,... call discreet proceding."

Trust/Betrayel
Regan:(1.1.76-84) "I am made... dear Higness' love."
Edmund:(1.2.1-23) "Thou, Nature, art my... stand up for Bastards!"
Fool(1.4.143-151)"That lord that counceled... other found out there."

The motifs of justice and injustice tie right with trust and betrayel. In Shakespearean tragedies a pattern occurs as betrayel ensuing and justice overtaking it as when trust is made injustice stricken upon the trustworthy.
For instance Lear's injustice of Cordelia when her sisters lies betrayed Lear without even knowing.
Also Edmund's plan to make it seem like his brother was planning to assasinate their father and having Gloucester detest his favorited legitimate son.
But a justice that is slightly neutral ground is Goneril's telling of Leer that he cannot stay at her holdings because his men are too rambunctious men and the Fools tune telling Leer he is a fool because he is not accepted into one of his own daughters homes.

Katina T said...

King Lear
Act 4

4.6.86-97

EDGAR
As I stood here below, methought his eyes
Were two full moons. He had a thousand noses,
Horns whelked and waved like the enragèd sea.
It was some fiend. Therefore, thou happy father,
Think that the clearest gods, who make them honors
Of men’s impossibilities, have preserved thee.

GLOUCESTER
I do remember now. Henceforth I’ll bear
Affliction till it do cry out itself,
“Enough, enough,” and die. That thing you speak of,
I took it for a man. Often ’twould say,
“The fiend, the fiend!” He led me to that place.


4.6.172-192

LEAR
And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst
behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand.
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back.
Thou hotly lust’st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tattered clothes great vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.
None does offend—none, I say, none. I’ll able 'em.
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal th' accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes,
And like a scurvy politician seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now,
Pull off my boots. Harder, harder. So.


EDGAR
O matter and impertinency mixed! Reason in
madness!


Madness/Manipulation

In Act 4, Gloucester plans to commit suicide and Edgar offers to help him, yet manipulates him into believing he actually jumped off a cliff, when in reality, he did not. Edgar helps Gloucester by manipulating him. He makes Gloucester think that his life was saved and it’s a miracle that he is still alive. This made Gloucester value his life and plan to keep living. The fact that something as mad as committing suicide crossed his mind, shows how unstable Gloucester is. He’s so easily taken advantage of, but it only helps him. This strange and insane manipulation of making him think he is going to die, actually benefits him. In the next passage that I chose, Lear is rambling nonsense to Edgar and Gloucester, yet he is saying things that actually make sense. As Edgar blatantly points out, “O matter and impertinency mixed! Reason in madness!” Edgar sees that Lear is going crazy, but his mind is actually starting to produce sensible thoughts. Lear talks about the hypocrisy of the world, and how people scold others for something that they do themselves. Relating the first passage I chose, Lear tells Gloucester to “Get glass eyes, and like a scurvy politician seem to see the things that though does not.” Its ironic how Gloucester feels that the world has been cruel to him, yet Lear is telling him that he sees just as much as the politicians of the world now. These two passages relate to each other by that they are each examples of how madness can lead to sane thoughts. Edgar manipulating Gloucester into believing he actually committed suicide made him cherish his life in the end, and Lear rambling of nonsense also made interestingly perceptive points as he is obviously going insane.

Hayden said...

ACT 2
Justice/Injustice
Leer:(2.4.145-154) "Regan, I think you are... quality - O Regan!"

Trust/Betrayal
Regan:(2.4.159-163) "I cannot think my... her from all blame."

This is a pivotal scene between Leer and his daughter Regan as he goes to seek comfort with his other daughter due to not being admitted by his eldest daughter. But finds that Regan has also taken the choice of not accepting their father. The sisters become one of the biggest motifs of betrayal and injustice in the entire play. As this stunt they pull is the start of their true overthrow of their father. they along with Edmund take advantage of their father's love and emotions. Due to their actions the create injustice throughout the second act turning their father, Leer, to the wilderness starting his true path to insanity.

andrew said...

Motifs: Appetite/Lies

Appetite 5.1.63-77

Edmund: To both these sisters have I sworn my love, each jealous of the other as the stung are of the adder. Which of them shall I take? Both? One? Or neither? Neither can be enjoyed if both remain alive. To take the widow exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril, and hardly shall I carry out my side, her husband being alive. Now, then, we’ll use his countenance for the battle, which, being done, let her who would be rid of him devise his speedy taking off. As for the mercy which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia, the battle done and they within our power, shall never see his pardon, for my state stands on me to defend, not to debate.

Lies 5.3.153-179

Edgar: Draw thy sword, that if my speech offend a noble heart, thy arm may do thee justice. Here is mine. Behold, it is my privilege, the privilege of mine honors, my oath, and my profession. I protest, maugre thy strength, place, youth, and eminence, despite thy victor-sword and fire-new fortune, thy valor, and thy heart, thou art a traitor, false to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father, conspirant ‘gainst this high illustrious prince, and from th’ extremest upward of thy head to the descent and dust below thy foot, a most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou “no,” this sword, this arm, and my best spirits are bent to prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak, thou liest.
Edmund: In wisdom I should ask thy name, but since thy outside looks so fair and warlike, and that thy tongue some say of breeding breathes, what safe and nicely I might well delay by rule of knighthood, I disdain and spurn. Back do I toss these treasons to thy head, with the hell-hated lie o’erwhelm thy heart, which, for they yet glance by and scarcely bruise, this sword of mine shall give them instant way, where they shall rest forever. Trumpets, speak!

The motifs: appetite and lies coincide throughout Act V and are held responsible by Edmund. Edmund throughout the play King Lear is hungry for power and maintaining power by any means possible. In the first passage Edmund is debating whether he should date both or only one of the sisters that he has sworn his love for. Edmund is in such a pickle due to his desire for power. Edmund felt that by marrying one of the sisters he would be promised great power, now he is in bind since he has promised to love both sisters. It’s obvious that Edmund does not truly love these women since he says, “to both these sisters have I sworn my love”, instead of saying, to both these sisters who I love. To get around this situation, Edmund plans to decide after the battle with France who he will choose. Up to this point Edmund has lied to these women so he can keep control over them. By swearing love to them, he has some control in the decisions they make. In passage two, Edmund denies being called a traitor by Edgar, even though it is true that he is a traitor that chose to throw Edgar under the bus. Edmund does this early on in the play so he can be seen as the good son, which would eventually lead him to become the Earl of Gloucester.

B Shay said...

Brendan Shay

Lear quotes act 4

Both quotes are from act 4 scene 6

Nothing

Edg. You're much deceived; in NOTHING am I changed
But in my garments.

later...

Edg. Sit you down, father; rest you.
Let's see these pockets: the letters that he speaks of
May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry
He had no other death's-man. Let us see:
Leave, gentle wax; and manners, blame us not:
To know our enemies' minds, we'd rip their hearts;

Their papers is more lawful.

[Reads.] Let our reciprocal vows be remembered. You have many opportunities to cut him off; if your will want not, time and place will be fruitfully offered. There is NOTHING done if he return the conqueror; then am I the prisoner, and his bed my gaol; from the loathed warmth whereof deliver me, and supply the place for your labour. [Your-wife, so I would say- [Affectionate servant, [Goneril.]

Nature/natural

Lear. No rescue? What! a prisoner? I am even The NATURAL fool of fortune. Use me well; You shall have ransom. Let me have surgeons; I am cut to the brains.

Summary: Here is Edgar saying that “in nothing” is he changed. The only thing that is different from him and poor tom is the cloths he is wearing. Also in Goneril’s letter to Edmund she talks about how “nothing is done” meaning everything they have been shooting for is for nothing if “he returns”. There is a lot of talk of nothing and it is all because of the nature of Edgar and Edmund. One is natural and the other not, but are there actions natural to humans? Edmund might think that he is doing the right thing claiming the throne despite his illegitimacy. Though that is as much unnatural as the way he was treated before Edgar was banished. Edgar was legitimate, but is that the way he is viewed now? He says nothing has changed except his cloths, but all people see him now as is a poor dirty beggar. The extent of Edgars new persona seems as much unnatural as it is for Edmund to cast out his own father, brother, and king. It seems that every action in this book starts as nothing, and ends at nothing, and nature can’t seem to reach equilibrium. Once one brother reaches out towards the normal path the other takes a step back. Who is natural and who is not is almost lost at this point in the story.

nFrye said...

Nancy F.
Blood and things of worth

In the final act of King Lear, two prominent motifs are blood and things of value. As in all of Shakespeare's tragedies, the play ends with the death of most of the characters, including the "title character", in this case, Lear. So of course, blood plays an important role. But also, the ties between family members become very important. Goneril spills her sister Regan's blood, so to speak, by poisoning her. However, after Regan's death, Goneril takes her own life. Later in the act, Cordelia is killed and Lear dies. Since all of these people are related -- that is, they share blood -- all of the people of that bloodline are dead and all of that blood is spilled. Of course, all of the blood spilled in that instance is the most valuable blood in England. It belongs to the royal family.

Other bloody valuable things are also discussed such as Gloucester's "bloody rings" from which the "stones" have been removed.

Also, the bloodline of the Earl of Gloucester is finally revealed to Edmund when Edgar comes to right the wrongs committed by Edmund. Edgar, who is the legitimate son of Gloucester, beats Edmund in a sword fight, thus good conquers evil, even in a tragedy. Edgar is the "good guy" almost by his definition and by his birth. He is the legitimate son of Gloucester, and Shakespeare gives him the noble qualities. Automatically, Edmund is characterized as a jealous and ambitious young man. He wants what Edgar deserves by being a noble, loyal son.

Megan Keegan said...

Throughout Act 5 of King Lear, I noticed that the motifs love and death came up a lot. In the first scene, Edmund is faced with a problem of two sisters both wanting to be with him. Regan and Goneril have both explicitly expressed their interest in him and he is caught in the middle of them. Edmund has a monologue in which he weights both of his options. He says on page 233 line 72 that “let her who would be rid of him devise his speedy taking off.” He is saying that he is going to use Albany for power during the war but after the war is over, one of the sisters can get rid of him. Edmund is overtaken by two different strong emotions. On one hand he wants the love of one of the sisters, but his love cannot be very strong if he doesn’t care which sister he ends up with. On the other hand, he is more consumed with winning the war and killing off the sister of his choice’s husband so that he can be happy. Selfishness plays an important role in Edmund’s behavior.
In the third scene of this act, the relationship between love and death becomes even more pronounced. Edmund tells Kent that one of the sisters poisoned the other and then killed herself. The two sisters constantly had a struggle for power within the play but the fact that they both died fighting for love seems like a waste in comparison to their determination. It also becomes clear that Albany is a man with a cold heart because when he discovers that his wife has killed herself, he simply says “even so.-cover their faces” (p. 253, line 290). The majority of the time that death is mentioned, it seems that it is always in the presence of love. When Edmund confesses to giving orders for Cordelia and Lear to be executed, it is after they have made their mends and love each other again. By the end of the act, it’s revealed that Cordelia has died and Lear has carried her body with him. The play ends when Lear dies on his throne. The connection between Cordelia and Lear is evident however in the fact that right after Cordelia dies, there is nothing left for Lear to love because his other two daughters are already dead, so it is his time to go as well. This association between when death occurs and how love impacts it is evident all the way through the play.

Katina T said...

Act 5!
Joy/Grief

5.3.217-235

EDGAR
I knew because I helped nurse him through his suffering.
Listen to my little story, and when it’s done,
oh, my heart will break! To escape the decree condemning me
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!—taught me to shift
Into a madman’s rags, t' assume a semblance
That very dogs disdained. And in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost, became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair.
Never—O fault!—revealed myself unto him
Until some half-hour past, when I was armed.
Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage. But his flawed heart—
Alack, too weak the conflict to support—
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly.


5.3.369-382
LEAR
And my poor fool is hanged.—No, no, no life?
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,
And thou no breath at all? Oh, thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never.—
Pray you, undo this button. Thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her. Look, her lips.
Look there, look there. O, O, O, O.
(dies)

EDGAR
He faints!—My lord, my lord!
KENT
Break, heart. I prithee, break!
EDGAR
(to LEAR) Look up, my lord.
KENT
Vex not his ghost. O, let him pass. He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.


The whole story of King Lear is based around grief and joy. During the last act of the novel, the extremities of the two shine through. For example, when both Gloucester and King Lear are in the last moments of their lives, they feel both the extreme emotions of joy and of grief. King Lear is happy to finally have his daughter Cordelia back, yet loses her after she is murdered, while Gloucester seems to die in a state of joy after he learns about his son, Edgar’s journey of helping him. Both examples show Shakespeare’s interesting, yet incredibly cruel way of showing how joy and grief both lead to insanity and eventually death. In fact, revolving characters in the book are fascinated by the fact that someone such as Lear could withstand such torture in his life. They were surprised that he lasted that long on earth anyways. Kent then goes on to say that he feels that they should let the king passed, and that he has suffered enough. Perhaps this is another way of Shakespeare creating a sense of hope by creating an afterlife that these characters can go to after they have endured so much in their past life. It seems as though that death for Lear was a blessing, after going through his pain and suffering. For Gloucester, it also seemed as if it was his time to leave that world also. The events that took place in their lives led them to their final destination, which was sadly death. Through the course of their journey, they went through a rollercoaster of emotions, including joy, grief, betrayal, loyalty, etc. which all caused them to lose their grips on reality, yet gain a sense of who they were, ironically, just in time for them to die.

Sarah Al-Edwan said...

Act 5
Motifs: nothingness and betrayal

5.3.11 "No, no, no! Come, let’s away to prison.
We two alone will sing like birds i' th' cage.
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness. So we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news, and we’ll talk with them too—
Who loses and who wins, who’s in, who’s out—
And take upon ’s the mystery of things
As if we were God’s spies. And we’ll wear out
In a walled prison packs and sects of great ones
That ebb and flow by the moon."


5.3.133 "Draw thy sword,
That if my speech offend a noble heart
Thy arm may do thee justice. (draws his sword) Here is mine.
Behold: it is the privilege of mine honors,
My oath, and my profession. I protest—
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,
Thy valor and thy heart—thou art a traitor,
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father,
Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince,
And from th' extremest upward of thy head
To the descent and dust below thy foot
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou “No,”
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest."


5.3.194 "By nursing them, my lord. List a brief tale,
And when ’tis told, oh, that my heart would burst!
The bloody proclamation to escape,
That followed me so near—O our lives' sweetness,
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once!—taught me to shift
Into a madman’s rags, t' assume a semblance
That very dogs disdained. And in this habit
Met I my father with his bleeding rings,
Their precious stones new lost, became his guide,
Led him, begged for him, saved him from despair.
Never—O fault!—revealed myself unto him
Until some half-hour past, when I was armed.
Not sure, though hoping of this good success,
I asked his blessing, and from first to last
Told him my pilgrimage. But his flawed heart—
Alack, too weak the conflict to support—
'Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,
Burst smilingly."

In act 5 the motifs of nothingness and betrayal come up frequently. It seems that everyone who once had something, lost everything. King Lear, Gloucester and others are stripped down to nothing. In act 5 scene 3 King Lear is talking to his daughter Cordelia about how being with her is the only thing that matters. A king, a symbol of riches has lost everything that belonged to him, his kingdom, his nobility, his family and yet he has everything he needs. He wishes to stay in jail with Cordelia and let time slip away because she was true to him, although he betrayed her in the beginning and that is all that he needs. When Edgar goes to fight Edmund he calls him out on all his wrongs. Edmund has pretty much betrayed everyone in the play, gaining him his title Earl of Gloucester, and the affection of Lear’s two daughters. Although he has this, Edgar points out that he is nothing because of all the harm that he has caused. Also, in act 5 scene 3 Edgar speaks about how he had to demote himself to nothing in order to help his father Gloucester, who also has lost everything. It is only when Edgar can disguise himself as a mad beggar, and when Gloucester has lost his sight, and everything dear to him that they can be reunited, just like Lear and Cordelia. In act 5 it seems as if you betray someone, no matter how much you gain from it you really have nothing at all, and at other times if it seems that you have nothing that is when you can really appreciate the little that you do have.

Meredith S said...

Meredith S.

Act V Motifs: Betrayal and death

Betrayal

Edgar: Draw thy sword,
That, if my speech offend a noble heart,
Thy arm may do thee justice: here is mine.
Behold, it is the privilege of mine honours,
My oath, and my profession: I protest,
Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence,
Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune,
Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a traitor;
False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father;
Conspirant 'gainst this high-illustrious prince;
And, from the extremest upward of thy head
To the descent and dust below thy foot,
A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou 'No,'
This sword, this arm, and my best spirits, are bent
To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak,
Thou liest (5.3.153-169).

Lear: A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all!
I might have saved her. Now she’s gone for ever.—
Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha?
What is ’t thou say’st?—Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman.—
I killed the slave that was a-hanging thee (5.3.325-330).

Death

Lear: And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there! (369-375)


The motifs of betrayal and death in Act V are immediately connected. The villains who betrayed their father, Goneril and Regan, both end up dying. Edmund, another traitor, has a deserving death. This gives a temporary sense of justice. If these were the only deaths, there would be a hopeful ending of evil being unsuccessful and ultimately causing its own downfall. The fact that Lear and Cordelia, the loyal daughter, die as well is the tragic event that makes the situation more complicated. Regan and Goneril somehow deserved their deaths because of their disloyalty, but the loyal Cordelia did not. It seems that, at least in the case of the three sisters, betrayal only leads to death, but love leads to death as well.

Sabrina said...

Act 5
Some of the motifs that I tracked for act 5 consisted of jealousy, love, sexuality, and guilt. All of them seem to interact with the next. As the scenes progress and more and more characters die, it seems it is because of these motifs.
5.3.101-106 Albany “I bar it in the interest of my wife. / ‘Tis she is subcontracted to this lord,/ And I, her husband, contradict your banns./ If you will marry, make your loves to me./ My lade is bespoke.”
In this quote, Albany is talking to Regan, saying that she has to marry him because it is clear that his wife, Goneril, wants to marry Edmund. Later in the scene, Goneril kills herself because of her guilt, when Albany finds out about the letter that is send to Edmund. So, the motif of jealousy in this quote, leads to the guilt of Goneril. Regan on the other hand, wants Edmund too, so she wants nothing to do with her sister’s husband. In fact, both sisters have a sexual desire for Edmund, which is shown in the next quote.

5.1.7-9 Regan “Now, sweet lord,/ You know the goodness I intend upon you;/ Tell me but truly, but then speak the truth,”
Here, Regan is trying to get Edmund to talk. She asks him if he is interested in her sister, in the following lines, she gestures a sexual comment, “But have you never young my brother’s way to the forefended place?,” asking if he had gone against the fact the Goneril is married to Albany. Regan wants Edmund for herself, since her husband has been murdered. In the end, these motifs come into play all together at the end when the characters are dying. The guilt in Goneril leads to suicide, the love in King Lear leads to death when his daughter, Cordelia, is hanged, and last, the jealousy of all of the sisters lead to hate, a misery. Act 5 does not end in the favor of Cordelia or King Lear, but the two sisters do let their guilt catch up to them.

Brianna A said...

Brianna A.
Act 5: Stars/Fates & Power

5.3.17-20 “And take upon’s the mystery of things, as if we were God’s spies. And we’ll wear out, in a walled prison, packs and sects of great ones that ebb and flow by the moon.”
5.3.276 “This judgement of the heavens, that makes us tremble…”

5.2.75 “The battle done and they within our power…”


As the passages about the heavens and stars reveal, it has only gotten these characters so far. Lear fantasizes about himself and Cordelia living free and letting prison be there escape only to change to hear the drama of others’ lives. This passage reveals hope in the sad and foolish Lear. He is trying to hold onto any power he has left to make him happy. The sad defeat of Cordelia later restores hope to the others waiting for power, but when Lear has lost all hope he dies also. Although it is very sad that Shakespeare killed off the only genuinely “good” characters (at least in the end) it is more than that. Shakespeare is demonstrating that love endures much more than power or the heavens because only when Cordelia dies and Lear is watching her last breaths does he die also. Lear does not want to even see the betraying Goneril and Regan. The hope for them was in love also beyond greed. They restored their hope for the heavens and power with the ability to control Edmund sexually and beat the other for his heart. Shakespeare is shining light on power being not only in life or death or wealthy or poor but in love. Before Albany can lose his power in love with Goneril he takes himself out of the battle and suggests Goneril be with Edmund. Albany is trying to restore his power because throughout the play Goneril has demonstrated taking it in various forms. Towards the end, the power struggle ends with Kent (slowly dying), Albany and Edgar. These survivors gaining all the power prove that life is chaotic and messy. You can be the good guy, the doormat, the imposter and win. You can also be the most powerful, the victorious and the oldest and supposedly wisest and lose. Life is beyond the stars and the fates, the power rests in chaos, in madness, in blindness, tragedy and hope.

Nick B said...

Nick B.
Act 5

Motifs: love and madness

Love – 5.1.63-77
Love – 5.3.9-20
Madness – 5.3.116
Madness – 5.3.390-391

The motifs of love and madness interact interestingly in Act 5. Love is a popular theme in plays, especially Shakespeare’s tragedies. Madness is also frequented in these places, but how it plays off of love interests me. Regan and Goneril both fall in love with Edmund. First, he’s a scummy backstabbing liar, so why fall in love with him? Second, Goneril has a husband, and Regan’s husband just died, seems a bit tactless. Third, each of them knows that their sister is in love with him too, I feel like you should avoid that if possible. Altogether this makes the sisters’ love for Edmund absolute madness.
Along the same lines, Edmunds want/need for their love is crazy too. He knows that he can’t continue leading them both on forever, and that Albany, his superior, will soon find out. Despite that he carries on a full-out dual courtship for both their love, while also fighting his never-ending quest for more power. I think that, like his hunger for power, his need to be loved also stems from his bastard status. Feeling unloved and second rate not only made him want power, but need approval and understanding as well. This desperate need for attention not only is mad itself, but leads Edmund to lead an absolutely mad end of his life.
Lear is a character who has been battling madness throughout the entire play. He yet again comes into contact with it when Cordelia and he are captured by Edmund. Rather than trying to negotiate for their freedom, Lear accepts his fate and even tries to convince Cordelia that it will be a nice life in prison, due to the extreme love they share. Though it’s a nice sentiment and evokes pity in onlookers, it’s a pretty unrealistic, or even mad, view. I doubt that living cold, hungry, alone, and forgotten in a cell for the rest of your life is going to be better than the court life of luxuriance and splendor that they’re used to. Perhaps he’s just trying to cheer Cordelia up, but from the way it’s played in the movie we watched it would appear that, yet again, Lear is driven to madness, this time by love.

B Shay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B Shay said...

Brendan Shay

act 5

Nothing

Alb. Thou art arm'd, Gloucester; let the trumpet sound :

If none appear to prove upon thy person
Thy heinous, manifest, and many treasons,
There is my pledge; [Throws down a glove.
I'll prove it on thy heart,
Ere I taste bread, thou art in NOTHING less
Than I have here proclaim'd thee.

Nature/Natural

Edm. I pant for life: some good I mean to do
Despite of mine own NATURE. Quickly send,
Be brief in it, to the castle; for my writ
Is on the life of Lear and on Cordelia.
Nay, send in time.

Summary: The first quote is Albany talking about how treasonous Edmund is and the second is the subject of his treason. They are quotes from both ends of the act, but contain fragments of the ongoing motifs so I had to use them both. First you have Albany explaining how much Edmund means to him. Continuing with the “nothing” motif, Edmund of course means nothing at all to Albany. I think this reflects on the first act where Lear shows the crown and then talks about the hole in it. Edmund how the power, but now he does not because of his treason.
This treason is he over stating of his power and lying about the whereabouts of Lear and Cordelia. This quote is Edmund giving up and telling everyone that he has sent someone to go kill them both. He exclaims how his actions are of “his own nature” again finalizing the motif of nature throughout the book. Perhaps he is saying this because nature or being natural born is what sparked this whole event with Edmund, but again maybe it’s him saying that it is natural for people like him to do thing such as that. Edmund might think that with being natural comes nothing, but I think its that he has had nothing all along and is just now noticing that.

Marisa D. said...

Marisa D
Act One
In the first Act, Gonerail and Reagan lie to their father in order to get what they want, his land and his power. Cordellia refuses to lie to her father or rather suck up to him. She doesn’t believe that it is natural. When Lear asks her to speak she answers, “Nothing my lord….. Unhappy that I am I cannot have my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty according to my bond, no more, no less.” Lear hearing this becomes enraged because his daughter would not profess how much she loves him, her father. It is un-natural to want to suck up to their father just to get something. The motif about flattery and lies is interrelated with the motif about being natural or unnatural.

Edmund (1.2.1-23)
Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word,--legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

The themes of lies and flatter and of natural and unnatural relate to the tragedy of Gloucester and his two sons, Edgar his natural son and Edmund his bastard sun. Edmund is determined to get his father’s praise and wealth. In order to achieve this goal he must lie to Gloucester and turn him against Edgar.

Francesco P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francesco P said...

Frankie p
Act IV

The natural, sight, and the Insane

Shakespeare further convolutes the nature of insanity by intertwining it together with a ‘fall’ from the natural. Lear’s malevolent daughters, along with Edmund, provide a distinctly insightful perspective on this. “That nature which condemns its origin cannot be bordered certain in itself”(4.2.41). It delineates humanities prey upon itself by abandoning the fundamental nature from which it originates and adapting a solipsistic, self-furthering volition, which must inevitably lead to its own demise from the unbalanced, ‘degenerate’ grounds upon which their actions. The daughters and Edmunds actions against their fathers, debases their psychological origins, and ultimately shrouds their awareness from themselves and their surroundings. Having come to wield inexorable power, they become inebriated from the notion of the unimpeded effects of their volition, long repressed and fabricated for pretense, to reassure the egos of their fathers. Is their unawareness what deems them insane? As Gloucester states, “Better I were distract. So should my thoughts be severed from my grief’s. And woes, by wrong imagination, lost the knowledge of themselves. ” (4.6.308), he prefers the solace of insanities ignorance to the awareness of his troubled thoughts. By being unaware, are not the children blind? Yet the blind, eye-less man craves the insanity and liberating bliss of unawareness. (as a side note, this is intriguing to compare to the concept of insanity in As I Lay dying, where the excessiveness of perception yields the mental distortion. The inversion of the vision motif, physically blinds Gloucester, and envelops Lear’s surface ‘sanity’, and yet maintains their keen perception of realities truths, knowing they can be felt, perhaps internally, without the use of sight, “art though mad, one can see the truth of the world without eyes” (4.6.5.). Shakespeare augments the truer significance of the notion of vision, clarity of truth, and the concept of insanity in relation to it’s contradiction, by exposing the fragile balance upon which our vision and our sanity maintain each other. The inverted eyes upon themselves, in which the attention is to the self, spawn a fragment of the blind insanity that we perceive throughout King Lear.

Molly A said...

Molly A.

Betrayal and death are two commonly occurring motifs in Act 5 of King Lear. Betrayal has been existent throughout the entire novel, in every act and every character. However, in Act 5, those characters who had betrayed those around them, were led to death. The irony in the two motifs, however, is that without any betrayal, most all the characters who died, would still be alive. They led themselves to their own death. This is crucial to the main point of King Lear: most of the harm that takes place is brought on by those who do harm to others. When one has it all, they abuse it and when they have nothing they are more grateful. At some point in King Lear, ALMOST all of the characters are betrayed and betrayers. Betrayal, in King Lear, leads to death.

Marisa D. said...

Act 2 Blog Post

(2.4.165-176)

Regan :

O, sir, you are old.
Nature in you stands on the ... very verge
Of her confine: you should be ruled and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself. Therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return;
Say you have wrong'd her, sir.

Lear:

Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark but how this become the house:
“ Dear daughter, I confess that I am old.
Age is unnecessary. On my knees I be
That you’ll vouchsafe me raiment, bed and food.”



When Regan points out that Lear is "old" and that his life ("nature") is on the verge of "her confine" (Lear doesn't have much longer to live), she implies that Lear's old age makes him unfit to rule a kingdom. Lear would be better off, says Goneril, if he let someone else take care of him. This quote shows the evilness of Goenril and Regan, they tell him to go back to the sister he wronged, because in their eyes, he is of no use to them now. He has served his purpose and is no longer an asset to them. Lear realizes that Cordelia was the only honest daughter that he had.

These quotes are significant to the motif relating to nature. Regan says “Nature in you stands on the very verge of her confine”. The way that she uses is nature is very different from what is natural and unnatural. In this instance Regan is saying that his father’s nature is why he should be ruled and led because his nature is causing him to not be well. Regan I believe is also showing her natural side to her father, a cruel and usurping side of her that he had never seen before. Lear being a wise man knows that he cannot simply walk to Cordelia and say that he is sorry for what he did. She would never forgive him. Regan and Goneril know this which is why they throw him out of Gloucester’s castle.


Act Three Post

GLOUCESTER (to Edmund)
Go to; say you nothing. There's a division betwixt
the dukes; ... and a worse matter than that: I have
received a letter this night; 'tis dangerous to be
spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet:
these injuries the king now bears will be revenged
home; there's part of a power already footed: we
must incline to the king. I will seek him, and
privily relieve him: go you and maintain talk with
the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived:
if he ask for me. I am ill, and gone to bed.
Though I die for it, as no less is threatened me,
the king my old master must be relieved. (3.3.2)

Consequence

CORNWALL
See't shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes ... of thine I'll set my foot.

GLOUCESTER
He that will think to live till he be old,
Give me some help! O cruel! O you gods!

REGAN
One side will mock another; the other too. (3.7.12)

Gloucester knows that he will get in trouble for helping Lear and yet he does it anyway because he is loyal to Lear. Edmund seeing this as an opportunity tells Cornwall exactly where the letter is leading to the punishment of Gloucester.

These two passages relate to the loyalty and betrayal motif that appears constantly throughout the play. Edmund who should be loyal to his father betrays his father to get ahead in the world. His father remains loyal to Lear because he can see the treacherous nature of Goneril and Regan, even though he cannot see the treachery that lurks within his two sons.



Regan and Cornwall continue to be disloyal to Lear and only add to the treachery of Edmund by giving him the title of Gloucester. The only loyalty that remains between any of the characters in the book is that of Edgar and Gloucester, Kent and Lear, and Gloucester and Lear. Kent remains loyal to Lear even though he was banished because he still upholds Lear as the rightful king of England. Edgar remains loyal to Gloucester because Gloucester being blind has allowed him to see who in fact was the traitor of the family.

Marisa D. said...

Act Four Post

Forgiveness and Truth

(4.7.5)

KING LEAR
Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep ... not:
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me; for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
You have some cause, they have not.

CORDELIA
No cause, no cause.

This is, perhaps, the most tender of moments in the play. When Lear awakens and finds his daughter at his bedside, he acknowledges the way he's hurt Cordelia and admits that she has "some cause" to wish him harm. Yet, despite everything, Cordelia finds it within herself to utter "no cause, no cause." She finds forgiveness even though he has wronged her which also relates to Cordelia’s loyalty to her father. Even though he said that he didn’t want anything to do with her anymore, she, like Kent, continues to respect her father even though he has scorned her again and again.



4.6.31-69

Edgar:

Give me your hand. You are now within a foot of th’ extreme verge.

For all beneath the moon would I not leap upright.

Gloucester:

Let go my hand. Here, friend, ‘s another purse; in it a jewel well worth a poor man’s taking. Fairies and gods prosper it with thee. Go thou further off.

Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going.

Edgar:

Now fare you well, good sir.

Gloucester:

With all my heart.

Edgar:

Why I do trifle thus with his despair is done to cure it.

Gloucester:

O you mighty gods! This world I do renounce, and in your sights

shake patiently my great affliction off. If I could bear it longer,

and not fall to quarrel with your great opposeless wills,

my snuff and loathed part of nature should burn itself out. If Edgar live, O, bless him!-Now, fellow, fare thee well.

Edgar:

Gone, sir. Farewell. – And yet I know not how conceit may rob the treasury of life,

when life itself yields to the theft. Had he been where he thought, by this had thought been past. Alive or dead? – Ho you, sir! Friend, hear you. Sir, speak. – thus might he pass indeed.

Yet he revives. – What are you , sir?

Gloucester:

Away, and let me die.

Edgar:

Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air, so man fathom down precipitating,

thou’dest shivered like an egg; but thou dost breathe, hast heavy substance, bleed’st not, speak’st, art sound. Ten masts at each make not the altitude which thou hast perpendicularly fell. Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again.



The compassion and loyalty of Edgar to Gloucester is almost as moving as Cordelia’s forgiveness of Lear’s harsh treatment. Gloucester banished Edgar, an act he soon regrets shortly after Edmund the so called “good son” betrays him. Edgar leads his father never revealing that he is in fact Edgar but Gloucester not even able to trust himself at this point trusts that this person will lead him to Dover so that he may end his life. Edgar continues to trick his father into believing something that isn’t true. He makes his father believe that he is at the cliffs because he wants his father to believe in the fates again. Through Edgars lies we can see that he is honestly trying to help his father.

Marisa D. said...

Act Five Post

Edgar

Kent, sir, the banish'd Kent; who in disguise
Follow'd his enemy king, and did him service
Improper for a slave. (5.3.8)

Even after Kent is banished by his king (for no good reason, we night add), he still finds away to serve his "enemy king." Kent disguises himself as "Caius" so he can get a job being Lear's servant. Lear realizes that all the people he had betrayed had never actually left his side. Cordelia stayed loyal to her father through everything right up until her unfortunate death even though he had betrayed and banished her. Kent stayed loyal even though he was also banished for sticking up for Cordelia. Kent is a good example of forgiving and forgetting.

Edgar

Let's exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmund;
If more, the more thou hast wrong'd me. (5.3.11)

After Edgar stabs his evil brother, he decides it's time to "exchange" forgiveness. At first, Edgar seems to make an offer of peace, by saying that, even though he (Edgar) is a legitimate son and Edmund is a "bastard," he's no better than Edmund. Edgar continues by saying that even though Edmund may be no better than Edgar, Edgar never would have done what Edmund had done to his father and to his brother. This quote goes with the theme of forgiveness. Edgar even though he feels in his heart that he should forgive Edmund, he is still angry at the treachery his brother committed and sees that in the end he isn’t worth the apology.

amycarpenter57 said...

Act 1 Scene 1

(Lear)Line 58 “ where nature…”
(Lear)Line 122 “Hecate and…”
(Lear)Line 243 “wretch whom Nature”
(France)Line 272”a tardiness in nature”

(Goneril)Line 337 “what poor judgment”
(Goneril)Line 342 “but rash”

Act 1 Scene 2

(Edmund)Line 1 “Thou, Nature”
(Gloucester)Line 79 “Unnatural, detested…”

Act 1 Scene 3

(Goneril)Line 20 “Old fools”

Act 1 Scene 4

(Goneril)Line 247 “…should be wise”
(Lear)Line 284 “let they folly”

Act 1 Scene 5

(Fool)Line 44 “been wise.”

Act 2 Scene 1

(Edmund)Line 59 “to his unnatural”
(Gloucester)Line 98 “loyal and natural”
(Cornwall)Line 134 “Natures of such”

Act 2 Scene 2

(Kent)Line 55 “nature disclaims”
(Kent)Line 80 “in the natures”
(Cornwall)Line 103 “from his nature”

(Cornwall)Line 89 “art thou mad”
(Kent)Line 134 “Ajax is their fool”

Act 2 Scene 4

(Lear)Line 122 “When Nature”
(Regan)Line 166 “Nature in you”
(Lear)Line 202 “offices of nature”
(Lear)Line 307 “Allow not nature more than nature needs,”
(Lear)Line 320 “you unnatural hags”

(Regan)Line 192 “When the rash”
(Lear)Line 317 “fool me not”
(Regan)Line 352 “wisdom bids fear”

Act 3 Scene 1

(Kent)Line 42 “Of how unnatural…”

Act 3 Scene 2

(Fool)Line 15 “neither wise men nor fools.”
(Fool)Line 43 “that’s a wise man and a fool”

(Kent)Line 50 “Man’s nature…”

Act 3 Scene 3

(Gloucester)Line 2 “this unnatural dealing”
(Edmund)Line 7 “savage and unnatural”

Act 3 Scene 5

(Edmund)Line 3 “that nature thus”

Act 3 Scene 6

(Lear)Line 81 “cause in nature”

Act 3 Scene 7

(Gloucester)Line 105 “sparks of nature”

Act 4 Scene 4

(Doctor)Line 13 “nurse of nature”

Act 4 Scene 6

(Regan)Line 39 “call her wisdom”
(Lear)Line 210 “The natural fool of fortune”

(Gloucester)Line 49 “part of nature”
(Gloucester)Line 149 “ruined piece of nature!”
(Lear)Line 210 “The natural fool of fortune”
(Gentleman)Line 226 “Who redeems nature”

Act 5 Scene 3

(Edmund)Line 292 “mine own nature”

Meredith S said...

Meredith S.
Act IV

Motifs: Animals and parent/children relationship

Animals
Albany( 4.2.47-54): “Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile.
Filths savor but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you performed?
A father, an aged and gracious man,
Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would
lick,
Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you
maddened.”

Parent/children
Lear (4.7.81-85): “Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray, weep not.
If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
I know you do not love me, for your sisters
Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
You have some cause, they have not.”

The first quotation encompasses both the motifs of animals and parent-children relationships in Act IV. Albany compares Goneril and Regan to a tiger, an animal that is vicious. He is aware of their mistreatment of Lear and he disapproves. Tigers are stealthy animals, so it is clear that is not only accusing them of being disloyal to their father but also of being manipulative and cold-hearted. He says that Lear has “reverence even the head-lugged bear would lick,” which I think means that previously, Lear had a certain respect for Goneril and Regan. Now that they have betrayed him, they have lost it. The second quotation deals with the reunion of Cordelia and Lear. Lear is willing to admit his mistake and says that Cordelia does not need to feel obligated to be kind to him. The strength of their relationship is shown when Cordelia is kind to him out of her willingness to forgive him

amycarpenter57 said...

Overall, these motifs seem to be tied to individual characters. Gloucester and Lear are closely tied to “Natural/Unnatural” and the Fool is closely tied to “Wise/Foolish”. Regan and Goneril also show up a lot with “Wise/Foolish” as they often refer to their father as a fool etc.

These connections to characters are very aft for Shakespeare to make. Gloucester and Lear are rather old and therefore old-fashioned (even for the time) so any changes, anything against their wills are “unnatural”, and inversely anything they approve of is “natural”. How familiar this position is to anyone who has talked politics with an elder person! They hold these position even when these “unnatural” actions are of their own making.

It’s a nice little play on preconceptions for the Fool to be connect to “Wise/Foolish”, even as he’s often the only person pointing out the truth. This works better than some people know. Historically, fools or court jesters were not merely glorified clowns, in many courts they were the only people allowed to insult the king. Along with making people laugh, court jesters were supposed to remind the king of his shortcomings (how “foolish” he sometimes was). Indeed, in the play, the Fool is sometime the only voice of reason, even if he masks it in riddles.

Hayden said...

Act 3
Justice/Injustice
Edgar as Tom 3.4.55-67 "Who gives anything to poor Tom...and there again- and there."
Trust/Betrayal
Gloucester 3.4.171-181 "Canst thou blame him?...-I do beseech your Grace-"

In this act you find Edgar who has taken on the role of poor Tom to fool everyone. While the daughters have started to execute there plan to get rid of their fathers power indefinitely. The quotes I chose are from a very important scene and are between Gloucester and Edgar. The injustice suffered by Edgar is put into light when he comes out as a homely looking peasant. As he explains his situation in a metaphor Gloucester enters and makes Edgar's life a bit harder. But as Gloucester tells of his son Edmund being so great it breaks Edgar's heart to know this.

Hayden said...

Act 4
Justice/Injustice
Gloucester 4.1.19-25 "I have no way and therefore...I'd say I had eyes again."
Trust/Betrayal
Goneril 4.2.25-29 "a mistress's command. Wear this;... fare the well"

As Gloucester lost his eyes Albany is losing his wife. The fact that Edgar must endure his father's pain and knowing his brother betrayed the both of them is a very pivotal point in the play because this is the subconcious place where he wants to avenge his honor and family. And as family pertains Goneril is moving away from albany because she doesn't think he has a spine which is why she moves to the lying Edmund who without her knowing is also kissing her sister.

Hayden said...

Act 5
Justice/Injustice
Edmund 5.3.31-39 "Come hither, captain...Or thrive by other means."
Trust/Betrayal
Gentlemen 5.3.268-269 "Your lady, sir...She confesses it."

As the play comes to a close Edmund reveals his true plan to become King and gain all the power. He gets struck down by Edgar and loses both his means of becoming king by the death of all the sisters. One of which he ordered the killing of. In a tragic sense he learns that karma will affect you.