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KING LEAR: GONERIL AND REGAN

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Adele Hayer

on 14 March 2013

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Transcript of KING LEAR: GONERIL AND REGAN

KING LEAR:


GONERIL AND REGAN ACT THREE, SCENE SEVEN: PAGE 295 - 303 REGAN 'Hang him instantly!'
GONERIL 'Pluck out his eyes!'

REGAN Interruption of Cornwall 'Hard, hard. O, filthy traitor'

REGAN Interruption of Cornwall [Plucks Gloucester's beard]

REGAN 'Give me thy sword. A peasant stands up thus?' [She takes a sword and runs at him behind]

REGAN 'Out, treacherous villan,
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' ACT ONE, SCENE ONE: PAGE 162 - 178 KEY QUOTES:

GONERIL 'Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty,
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour....
A love that makes breath poor and speech unable'
regular metre - rehearsed
tricolons - platitude, obsequious, cliche, vague, hyperbolic
irony - 'speech unable'

REGAN 'Which the most precious square of sense possesses'
sibilance - forced sweetness, contrived, hyperbolic

Can be contrasted with...

REGAN 'Tis the infirmity of his age'
GONERIL 'Poor judgement'
GONERIL 'Rash' STAGE ADAPTATIONS CHARACTER ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON KEY SCENCES ACT ONE, SCENE FOUR: PAGE 205 - 208 ACT TWO, SCENE TWO: PAGE 249 - 258 ACT FIVE: IT ALL GOES DOWN SCENE 1
GONERIL ' I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.'

SCENE 3
REGAN 'That's as we list to grace him.
Methinks our pleasure might have been demanded
Ere you had spoke so far. He led our powers,
Bore the commission of my place and person,
The which immediacy may well stand up
And call itself your brother.'
GONERIL 'Not so hot!
In his own grace he dolt exalt himself
More than in your addition.'

ALBANY to GONERIL 'Gilded serpent' GONERIL 'This admiration, sir, is much o' th' savour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright.
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise.
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder'd, so debosh'd, and bold
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shows like a riotous inn. Epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern or a brothel
Than a grac'd palace. The shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy' demeaning, role reversal, childish - 'new pranks'

pleading, emphatic - the double ee in beseech

tricolon, plosive aliteration, repetition of 'so' - emphasises her frustration

sinful qualities - behaviour is condemned

contrast between 'brothel' and 'palace' KEY QUOTES:

REGAN 'You are old:
Nature in you stands on the very verge of her confine. You should be ruled and led
By some discretion'

REGAN 'unsightly tricks'

REGAN (Interruption) 'And in good time you gave it'

GONERIL 'What need you five and twenty? Ten? Or five?
REGAN ... 'What need one?' very verge - alliteration stressing the
alluding to Gloucester's attempted suicide?

enjambement of led

confine ruled led

'unsightly tricks' links to 'new pranks'
demeaning, childish, role reversal

Interruption of KL's 'I gave you all' - insolence, challenge of power, lack of respect

Combined front from Goneril and Regan A succession of interruptions by the sisters increase in violence

1) An interjection over Cornwall rational demands of the servants to 'seek out' Gloucester: irrational, violent, savage
Mirroring sentence structure, the sisters mirror each other

2)Over Cornwall's order to 'bind him', abusive, emasculation of Cornwall


3) Exerting physical dominance over Gloucester, savage and disrespectful action of tearing hairs from his beard. Lack of control


4) Total loss of control, abuse of power, cowardly in stabbing him from behind. sibling rivalry



'pleasure', 'powers' 'place and person'









treacherous, cunning CRITICS GONERIL Dishonest: “Dearer than eyesight”, Repetition of “beyond”
- her flattery and obsequious nature whilst claiming her love for Lear
- extremity of claims
- Lengthy lines contrasts to simplicity of Cordelia’s response

Cruel/Bloodthirsty: Regan: Hang him instantly! / Goneril: Pluck out his eyes!”
- more torturous/painful

Ambitious: “Idle old man,
That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away! Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again; and must be used
With cheques as flatteries, - when they are seen abused.”
- power hungry
- link to Lady Macbeth

Stoic: We see how stoical Goneril really is when Lear starts calling on the goddess of nature to “into her womb convey sterility!” Her reaction to such perverse and violent language is very controlled and dismissive as she instructs Albany to “Never afflict yourself to know the cause.”

Peter Brook stayed true to the script, having the actor completely passive towards Lear’s remarks. I liked this version because it was how I imagined her character. However, Richard Eyre had Goneril display great distress. REGAN Initially Kinder, however gradually becomes more deceptive: "“glad to see your highness…”, “I cannot think my sister in the least /would fail her obligation.”
- The tone she would use is so innocent and non-accusatory – but at the same time formal and unyielding – that the audience can see the manipulative techniques Regan is using to enrage Lear.
- she actually leaves before the torture begins, and it is Regan who readily takes an active part in it, showing that she starts to become as violent as Goneril.

Lacks Respect: "‘regan plucks his beard’
“I’ll receive him gladly, /but not one follower,”

Susceptible to sibling rivalry: “rather lose the battle than that (her) sister /should loosen him…”
- distrust and selfishness

Acts as a combined force with Goneril: “Pray you let’s hit /together;” COMPARISON Iago: ‘I follow him to serve my turn upon him’
- The balancing of ideas that frame the line ‘follow…turn’ emphasises the duality of Iago’s character. This is similar to Goneril and Regan’s false flattery.

Lady Macbeth: ‘Unsex me here’
- loss of female qualities to gain power

IN CONTRAST TO
Ophelia: As Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia is extremely obedient. When he tells her not to speak to Hamlet anymore, she obliges, saying “I shall obey my lord”. Her inexperience and inability to defend herself is evident when Laertes tells her that Hamlet is “subject to his birth” and for that reason alone, she could never be with Hamlet. Ophelia resigns and accepts these harsh ‘truths’ because she is simply too weak to stand up to any man, or challenge their authority.

Ophelia kills herself because of the men in her life – her father is dead and her love for Hamlet is unrequited. She cannot function without a man and therefore, is driven to insanity. Suicide contrasts to Goneril's suicide – extension of her sin/her ability to accept failures. Royal Shakespeare Company Goneril and Regan in black whilst Cordelia is in white

Links to the Trevor Nunn film production (2007) with similar connotations of the contrast between evil and purity Micheal Elliott TV Movie 1983 Laurence Olivier as Lear

Similar costume styling, shows Goneril and Regan as a combined front. This can be seen in Ong Keng Sen's 1997 adaptation of King Lear. In which there was a conflation of Goneril and Regan to form the character 'Older Daughter' played by the Jingju performer. Synetic Theatre, Virginia 2011 Witchlike make-up and costume, black mesh with red highlight, creates images of darkness and anger Grigori Kozintsev Film 1971: ruthless characters – Goneril, Regan, Edmund – increasingly appear isolated in shots, in contrast to the director's focus, throughout the film, on masses of human beings JANET ALDERMAN STEPHEN BOOTH STEVIE SIMKIN: 'Revenge Tragedy Contempary Critical Essays' 6:50 - END Hazel Sample Guyol : A Temparence of Language, Goneril's Grammar and Rhetoric "Of the major characters in the play, only Goneril and Edmund stand out in their avoidance of repetitive ejaculations...Goneril uses the repetitive exclamation only once in the whole play and that is mocking: 'Halloa, Halloa!" What we may interpret as a fiesty heroin, a jacobean
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