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Animal Imagery in King Lear

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Sandra Taylor

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Animal Imagery in King Lear

by Sandra Webb Animal Imagery In King Lear Regan and Goneril 1)“Detested kite, thou liest.” (I.iv.274.) More Birds The Fool says to Lear, “The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, that it’s had its head bit off by it young.” (I.iv.221-222) Still More Birds Lear is talking to Goneril
In this context, "kite" means vulture 2)“Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here.” (II.iv.152.) Lear is talking about Regan http://www.fredhoogervorst.com/photo/33916/ Lear calls both of his daughters vultures Vultures are carrion-eating birds, meaning they eat the decaying flesh of dead animals
Lear is referring to himself as a dead or dying corpse that his daughters are tearing apart http://stillperception.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/kevin-carter-vulture-stalking-baby/ Vultures are usually thought of as repulsive This quote shows his hate for his daughters The Fool is talking about Regan and Goneril in reference to a nature tale. The cuckoo bird lays its eggs in a
sparrow’s nest. While the cuckoo grows http://www.pestproducts.com/sparrow-pictures.htm To the left, mother red warbler tries to
feed the much larger juvenile cuckoo
because she believes its her own. ttp://www.wwt.org.uk/news/all-news/2011/07/wwt-slimbridge-news/mothers-blind-love-for-baby-cuckoo/ In Lear's time, they believed that young pelicans fed on their parents' blood. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/american-white-pelican-pelecanus-erythrorhynchos/white-pelican-resting-logS References to Dogs “Knowing naught, like dogs, but following.” (II.ii.84) http://www.ericksonstock.com/collection/animals/images/8865?keyword=pets Kent is using this quote to comment on characters that follow “There thou might’st behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obeyed in office.” (IV.vi. 171-174) Dogs Cont. Here, Lear says that even a dog is obeyed when he has power. Lear means that even though he is http://avenuek9.com/2012/09/top-ten-office-
etiquette-tips-for-dogs/ King, and therefore has power, he is no longer obeyed, so he has no real power. Dogs Cont. http://swoop-6packofdogs.blogspot.com/2011/07/best-treat-for-healthy-happy-pet.html “They flattered me like a dog” (IV.vi.115-116) Lear is talking about Regan and Goneril again.
They fawned over Lear like a dog fawning over their owner. Even with all their outward affection, they had ulterior motives The Fool is creating the image that Lear's daughters have
grown too big for him to feed (they've gotten too much up, the sparrow feeds and cares for it. The cuckoo eventually grows so big that it kills the sparrow. power and no longer need him) and are now starting to turn on Lear. Lear refers to Regan and Goneril as “Those pelican daughters.”(III.iv.81) Lear's expense. This quote gives the reader the image of Regan and Goneril thriving at Lear's a Dragon “Come not between a dragon and his wrath.” (I.i.136) http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-angry-dragon-image11845247 Lear is warning Kent not to intervene while he is angry and irrational Lear's hot temper
makes him like a dragon- angry,
ferocious, protective, etc. others blindly or go along with the crowd without knowing the consequences. http://www.dogsblog.com/author/the-blue-cross/ Snakes Jealous means suspicious in this context
Edmund is talking about Regan and Goneril http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827884.200-snake-fangs-evolved-from-groovy-teeth.html "Each jealous of the other as the stung are of the adder.” (V.i.64-65)
(Once you’ve been bitten by a snake, you’re not going to trust snakes)
Snakes are are associated with evil, the devil, etc. They know each other’s motives, characteristics, and nature, so they are suspicious of each other and don’t trust each other http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2228153/Snakebite-Brit-in-SA-hospital.html “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” (I.iv.302-303)

Here, Lear is talking about Goneril
He is saying that the way she is treating him (disrespectfully, etc.) hurts more than physical pain, like a snake bite Snakes cont. Please note that while the picture in the next slide was controversial when it was first published, the girl had stopped to rest on her way to a food station. After he took the picture, the photographer chased the bird away. The child made it safely to the food station. http://movielistmania.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-train-your-dragon-movie-review.html
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