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King Lear - A04

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Gabbs Thomas

on 29 May 2015

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Transcript of King Lear - A04

Noble stature
Hamartia (pride - hubris)
Peripeteia (reversal of fortune brought by tragic flaw)
Character's fate greater than deserved
Anagnorisis (increase in self awareness, and recognition of own folly)
: the state of being the firstborn child and the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child especially the feudal rule by which the whole real estate goes to the eldest son.

cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics

Elizabethan Life for Women
Women were dominated by men, as they were seen as inferior and weaker in both physical and emotional strength.
Silence was considered the highest virtue.
Had to be subservient and were expected to obey men.
Disobedience was seen as a crime against their religion.
Childbearing was seen as a great honour to women, as children were seen as blessings from God.
King Lear - A04
Historical Context
Elizabethan England an extremely patriarchal society, and respect was demanded not only to the wealthy and powerful, but parents and elders. The Jacobean age was a time of social and religious change, wherefore assumptions about gender and class were being questioned.

The story of
King Lear
may familiar for a Shakespearean audience as once the eldest of three daughters tried to have their father declared insane in order to gain his property, to which the youngest daughter successfully defended.

A strong country needed an effective leader to protect it from invasion - as Elizabeth's leadership saved England from a Spanish invasion. No ruler would have divided the kingdom as it would have weakened it, with the absence of an effective central government. An Elizabethan audience would have been horrified at Lear's choice to divide his kingdom.

The Great Chain of Being
Derived from Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Proclus.
Details strict religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life; believed to have been be decreed by God.
From this stems the Divine Right of Kings, which asserts that a monarch has been appointed by God. Any attempt to depose the King or restrict his powers run contrary to the will of God and is blasphemous.
...written in 1605
"A man does not become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall"
Tragic Hero:
Mathos Pathei
: learning self awareness and knowledge through suffering
...The Divine Right of Kings
In the family, the father is head of the household; below him, his wife; below her, their children.
In Shakespearean times, there was a small number of old men who held or the land, wealth and power (gerontocracy), and a large amount of young men without power. A lot of young, bitter men were looking to get ahead and were ruthless in their doing so.
: A form of physical punishment, involving public humiliation. They partially immobilized its victims and they were often in a public place exposed to scorn, ridicule and mockery. Passers by were encouraged to throw things at them.
In Shakespeare's time mentally ill people were sent to the hospital of Bethlehem (Bedlam) in London. When they were discharged, they lived by begging. Such beggards were given the name 'Tom o'Bedlam'.
Often a child would kneel before their parents to receive their blessing.

Interesting to note that in the Ian Mckellan version of the play (and many others) she does not kneel in front of her father.
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