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King Lear Introduction

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Devon Hancock

on 4 April 2016

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Transcript of King Lear Introduction

Introduction to King Lear
Analyse Persuasive Features
Finally, we're going to analyse how Shakespeare writes persuasively to advise using literary devices so that we can apply his strategies in our own writing.
Context and Character
Next, we have to make sure we understand the background of what is going on and examine character relationships.
Shakespearean Language
First, we have to prepare for the Shakespearean Language we encounter.
Our goal is to understand what's going on in Act I Scene I of King Lear. It sounds simple...but there is more to it.
So, looking closer we need to do all of the following:
learn common words in Shakespeare's language and find out what they mean.
find reading strategies that will help us to understand complicated phrases and sort out what they mean.
look into the context and characters of the play.
identify literary features and understand how they work.
find these features in Shakespeare's writing.
use persuasive features in our own writing.
The Basics
Here are some words that Shakespeare uses all the time, with their translations:
Dost - Do
Thee/Thou - You
Thine - Your
Art - Are
Tis - It is
Mine - My
Aye/Ay - Yes
Wilt - Will
Hath/Hast - Has/Have
Quoth - Said
Wroteth/Spaketh/Shooteth - Wrote/Spoke/Shoot (sometimes they just like to add on "eth" for fun)
Knowest/Did’st/Sayest - Know/Did/Say (sometimes they do the same thing with "est" or "'st")

Think of it like a math formula...
Could you tell me what number x+y was equal to?
What if I told you that x=5 and y = 2? What would x+y be then?
Thou art sunshine to mine heart.
It might not make sense to you at first, but substitute in the stuff you know...
Thou art sunshine to mine heart
Thou = you art = are mine = my
You are
sunshine to
You try some...
Thine beauty canst not be described with mine poor words.

Art thou truly the one that hath not done thy homework?

Wouldst thou agree to helpeth thine friend?
Try to replace the stuff you don't get with bits you do understand. Eventually, you'll get enough pieces that you can figure out the answer.
Sometimes though, there are phrases that have other confusing words in them. Here are a few strategies for dealing with those:
Use the line notes
Break into small chunks
Re-read the bits you don't understand
Link to what you've already read
Use the information about characters and what is going on to make some guesses
But I have a son, sir, by order of law,
some year elder than this,
who yet is no dearer in my account
This bit makes sense; he's saying he has a son.
His son is "by order of law." So he is by the law. Law means rules, so he is a son born according to the rules.
What rules about
having sons might he be talking about
His son is "some year elder" than "this" person they've been talking about. These are all familiar words. You might need a dictionary to find out that elder means older, so the son is "some year older" or just "older" than this other person.
The "who" is his son because that's who they've been talking about. "Yet" means "though," or "but." "Is no dearer" means that he isn't dearer to the person talking than somebody else. An account is a place where you keep records or scores. What could "in my account" mean then?
Go through the bits you don't know over again more slowly, just the way you would in a book.

Use a dictionary for words you don't know.
Ask yourself questions about what you already know is happening in the scene. What are they talking about? What do I know about these people and what mood they're in? etc.

"Hear me, recreant!"
I bet you can guess what recreant means if I tell you that this is a King talking who is very angry and disappointed that someone has done the opposite of what he wanted.
Remember that if you've got a villain talking, their words might mean something different than if a really nice person is talking.

Regan: We shall further think of it.

Goneril: We must do something, and i'th'heat.
Goneril: Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think our father will hence to-night.

Regan: That’s most certain, and with you; next month with us.

Goneril: You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little: he always lov’d our sister most; and with what poor judgement he hath now cast her off appears too grossly.

283 will hence: will go hence, go away


289 grossly: obviously

Now try out a couple of translations on your own. Start with the sheets that only have one line of text for you to translate. Try a few on your own, then check your answers before moving up to the next level.
Context is background information that helps you understand a situation, culture, or text. There are several pieces of context that help us to understand King Lear, but one of the most important is the
Great Chain of Being
Where do daughters belong on the Great Chain of Being?
What about illegitimate children?
How are lords supposed to treat their kings?
What role are fathers supposed to play? What about fathers who happen to be kings?
What would happen if you messed with the Chain of Being?
One of the things Shakespeare is famous for is his characterisation. What do you think that is?
What do we learn about this character?

How do we learn this?

Could we predict things about his actions from what we've seen him do?
Scenario 1: You are an evil, very clever daughter. Your father is old and you find him quite annoying. You would like to have all of his power without looking after him. You are very good at lying and at convincing people of things you want.
Scenario 2: You are an old man with three daughters. You want them to look after you in your old age and you don't want much responsibility yourself. You love them all dearly and you think they love you too. You want to reward them for this with your money and land but you still want to be well looked after.
Scenario 3: You are a good, dutiful daughter. Your father is old and weak but you love him dearly. However, you know that your evil sisters are plotting to steal all his power and money even though he loves them very much. You aren't very good at talking or explaining your feelings.
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