Confrontations Between Young And Old In Shakespeare's King Lear

1901 words - 8 pages

Confrontations Between Young and Old in King Lear

 

    One of the underlying themes in Shakespeare's play, King Lear is

the concept of the generation gap.  This gap is mainly illustrated between

the family.  The older generation is Lear himself, and the younger

generation consists of his daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.  In the

second plot of the play, Gloucester represents the older generation, and

his sons, Edmund and Edgar exemplifies the younger generation.  Both

younger generations can be divided into two distinct groups.  Goneril,

Regan and Edmund are the villains in both the plots and Edgar and Cordelia

are the loyal, faithful children.  This little twist adds to the effect of

the generation gap in the play.  There are many comparisons that can be

made and confrontations that occur between the generations.  These events

contribute to the themes of authority, power and loyalty, judgment and

wisdom.  Overall, it emphasizes the general themes of the generation gap.

 

        Symbolism contributes to the themes authority and power in King

Lear.  These symbols are represented by material things.  For example, in

[Act 1 scene 1] when Lear is dividing up his land, power and authority to

his three daughters, depending on how much they can verbally express their

love for him.  [Lines 52-53]  "Which of you shall say doth love us most?

That we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merit

challenge."  The land that each daughter received is the extent of their

authority and of their power in the Kingdom.  For example, the Duke of

Burgundy did not wish to marry Cordelia after he found out she was getting

nothing from her father.  He was marrying her for power and authority.

 

        Goneril's servants show disrespect toward Lear which shows that

Lear's authority and power over them has diminished.  An example of this is

Oswald's attitude towards Lear after his daughter, Goneril told him to show

discourtesy towards Lear.  [Act 1 scene 4, Lines 75-80]  "O, you, sir, you!

Come you hither, sir.  Who am I, sir?  My Lady's Father.  "My Lady's

Father"?  My lords knave!  You Whoreson dog!  You Slave!  You Cur!"

 

        Another example of lost authority and power in this act is when

Lear's Fool offers Lear his Coxcomb (Jester's Cap)  and tells him how

foolish he was when he gave up his power to Goneril and Regan.

 

        Lear's 100 Knights symbolize Lear's power in his mind.  When Lear

is confronted by his daughter Goneril and is told by her that his men are

too disruptive and are to be trimmed to half because she feels he does not

need them.  Lear is angered at Goneril for this because the Knights

represents the remainder of his limited power.  Regan then tells him in

order to stay with her, he had to dismiss all but 25 knights because he...

Find Another Essay On Confrontations Between Young and Old in Shakespeare's King Lear

The Interaction Between the Old and Young in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

2113 words - 8 pages The Interaction Between the Old and Young in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, he tells a tale of “A pair of star crossed lovers”. Unusually for Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet focuses on two very young people. Throughout the play there is a contrast between the young and older characters in the play. The interaction between the characters is very important as it would

Transformation of Lear in Shakespeare's King Lear

1714 words - 7 pages so much that he is now all seeing, a godly status. Thus making the case of his death, at the end of the play, even more significant. He is now so transformed by his suffering that he has been purified, and as such he can no longer live in the natural world, he must live among the gods. This new Lear is certainly a far cry from the arrogant king we saw at the beginning of the play. Shakespeare has transformed Lear from an ignorant old king

Catahrsis in Shakespeare's King Lear

916 words - 4 pages as the deaths of Lear, Edmund and the two evil sisters. According to Aristotle ?Tragedy should arouse the emotions of pity and fear, but in a healthy and balanced proportion.? King Lear does not fit into the Aristotle model of tragedy. According to Aristotle a tragic play should leave the audience free of stressed emotions and feelings at the end.The sense of catharsis in King Lear can be seen from a different perspective if each character is

Paratextuality in Shakespeare's King Lear

3319 words - 13 pages Pitching Mad Boy: How Paratextuality Mediates the Distance Between Spectators, Adaptations, and Source Texts. A popular anecdote used to introduce students and spectators to King Lear tells how, for 150 years, the stage was dominated by Nahum Tate’s adaptation, in which Lear and Cordelia are happily reconciled, and Cordelia is married off to Edgar. Here is what N.H. Hudson had to say about Tate: This shameless, this execrable piece of

King Lear's Folly in Shakespeare's King Lear

1227 words - 5 pages King Lear's Folly    In Shakespeare's King Lear, the actions of King Lear and of his daughters bring ruin and chaos to England. Social structures crumble, foreign invaders threaten the land, and, in a distinctly non-Hollywood ending, almost everyone dies tragically. The outlook is very bleak, as many of the problems are left unresolved at the end of the play: There is no one in line to assume sovereignty, and justice and virtue have not

Shakespeare's King Lear - Suffering of Cordelia in King Lear

1503 words - 6 pages her youth. And, being young, she answers uncalculatingly with pride to his pride even as later she answers with pity to his misery. To miss this likeness between the two is to miss Shakespeare's first important dramatic effect; the mighty old man and the frail child, confronted, and each unyielding... If age owes some tolerance to youth, it may be thought too that youth owes to age and fatherhood something more--and less--than the truth...6

Villains, Sin, and Sex in Shakespeare's Othello and King Lear

1475 words - 6 pages Villains, Sin, and Sex in Othello and King Lear    Many of Shakespeare plays are littered with crude and graphic sexual references, jests, and insults. But there is one type of character present throughout Shakespeare's plays that twist the sexual imagery and repartee, and that is the villain. There is a deeply rooted combination between sex and evil.  This essay will develop this idea in depth by focusing on Iago of Othello and Edmund of

Kingship and Leadership in William Shakespeare's King Lear

2291 words - 9 pages Kingship and Leadership in William Shakespeare's King Lear Jonathon Dollimore (1984) focuses on Lear’s identity throughout the play. ‘What makes Lear the person he is, is not kingly essence, but among other things, his authority and his family. As the play progresses Lear is forced to question his identity. “Does anyone hear know me?…Who is it that can tell me who I am?”. Dollimore believes King Lear is about

Feminine Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear

1295 words - 5 pages Feminine Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear In Shakespeare's plays King Lear and Macbeth, evil is represented in both women and men. It is significant to the plots of both plays and to their impact through theme and character that evil actions are performed by women. The construction of evil female characters also gives insight into Shakespeare's view of women and their roles in society. The plot of King Lear is set in

Unchecked Power in Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear

1470 words - 6 pages between the tragic heroes in Macbeth and King Lear. However, the differences between the two outline the re-occurring themes in both plays. In Shakespeare's plays the central characters' own weaknesses and lust for power lead to corruption. The unchecked power in Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear ultimately leads to corruption, tragedy, and the hero's fall from grace.In Macbeth, Macbeth's power goes unchecked within himself, his wife, and within

Essay on Blame in Shakespeare's King Lear

580 words - 2 pages King Lear is To Blame   In William Shakespeare's play, "King Lear", the main character, King Lear, claims to be "a man more sinned against than sinning"(3.2.60-61). Though a good king, King Lear's own actions cause his family and kingdom to fall apart. The sins committed against King Lear are a result of his personal faults of rashness, blindness, and foolishness.   King Lear's hot temper and hasty decisions play a

Similar Essays

The Battle Between Materialism And Spirituality In Shakespeare's King Lear

930 words - 4 pages believes that she is one of a long line of people “who with best meaning have incurred the worst”(5.3). She sacrifices everything for King Lear in the end, as is shown when she kisses him to “repair those violent harms that my two sisters have in thy reverence made”(4.7) and eventually dies for him. After viewing the text of King Lear in this perspective, the continual battle between materialistic ideals and spiritualistic ideals throughout the

Shakespeare's King Lear Goneril And Cordelia In King Lear

952 words - 4 pages The Characters of Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear   Nothing makes a story like a good villain, or in this case, good villainess. They are the people we love to hate and yearn to watch burn. Goneril, of Shakespeare’s King Lear, is no exception. Her evils flamed from the very beginning of the play with her lack of sincerity in professing her love for her father: "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than

Action And Observation In Shakespeare's King Lear

2386 words - 10 pages Action and Observation in King Lear        Auden once asserted that Shakespearean tragedy is necessarily parabolic, pertaining to the only myth that Christianity possesses: that of the 'unrepentant thief'. We as the spectators are thus implicated in the action since each of us 'is in danger of re-enacting [this story] in his own way'.1 The sufferings of the hero could be our own sufferings, whereas in Greek tragedy, such a notion is

Comparing Lear And Gloucester In Shakespeare's King Lear

1928 words - 8 pages      In Shakespeare's classic tragedy, King Lear, there are several characters who do not see the reality of their situation. Two such characters are Lear and Gloucester. Both characters exhibit a blindness to the world around them. Lear does not see clearly the truth of his daughters mentions, while Gloucester is also blinded by Edmond's treachery. This failure to see reality leads to Lear's intellectual blindness, which is his insanity, and