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King Lear By William Shakespeare Essay

1670 words - 7 pages

Two sisters, both alike in inhuman cruelty, in fair Albion where William Shakespeare lays the scene, from an old kingdom break to new mutiny, where unrighteous deeds make unrighteous hands unclean. From forth the fatal hearts of these two foes, these sisters do take each others lives. Or do they? In modern day screenplay writing, writers are introduced to the idea that one page of script is equal to one minute on screen. This same application is also used in playwriting. When Regan is carried offstage, she can be perceived by readers as both alive and dead at same time. The reader does not know the outcome of her fate until roughly four pages of script have passed between her getting ...view middle of the document...

iii.115). Edmund’s assessment of the situation makes sense— to a degree. To Edmund, it was clear that both of the sisters were infatuated with him. It makes sense that Goneril would be overly jealous of Regan’s affections. Goneril had already planned killing Albany in order to marry Edmund. With Edmund dying, Goneril’s plan falls apart. Having Goneril run off in order to be with him in death paints her as a hopeless romantic who saw death as the only means of escape from, what would seem to her, as a desperate situation. This notion turns Goneril into something that she is not. She is not the romantic type, nor does she appear to be the woman who is willing to commit suicide for a man that she has spent very limited time with. Edmund, in addition, is not an honest character in the play. His credibility is slim, considering he was able to turn first his father against his brother and then backstab his father just by using words and serendipity. He makes sure that “[a]ll with me’s meet that I can fashion fit” (I.ii.16) into any situation, deceiving those around him to take pity on his misfortune. Edmund's report of Goneril's death can be seen, then, as unreliable as the Gentleman's.
Goneril has a lack of empathy when it comes to other characters and their feelings. Lear’s curses: calling Goneril a flurry of titles such as “[d]egenerate bastard” (I.iv.25), a “a boil,/ A plague-sore, and embossed carbuncle” (II.iv.50), even saying she has a “wolfish visage” (I.iv.27) do not harm her. Instead, she uses the insults as weapons to turn Regan against Lear. Even Albany wishes that he could “let these hands obey my blood,/ They are apt enough to dislocate and tear/ Thy flesh and bones” (IV.ii.82), but he cannot because “[a] woman’s shape doth shield thee” (IV.ii.82) from killing her outright. With this fear, Goneril uses it to manipulate others to do her work. Ordering the servants to turn against Lear— Oswald. Plucking out Gloucester’s eyes— Cornwall. Murdering Albany— Edmund. Killing Cordelia and Lear— co-authored the order, then give the duty to Edmund via the Captain. The only thing Goneril does personally is kill Regan. Goneril is not afraid of Regan so when she does kill her, she does not understand the repercussions for her actions until she leaves the stage.
Goneril does not love Edmund; she manipulates him to do what she wants. Goneril plays into her sexuality to give him the notion that even a strong woman has a weak spot for a man she cannot nor should not love. Goneril presents a kiss to Edmund when Albany is not there to witness the transaction, and she promises that Edmund will soon be under “[a] mistress’s command” (IV.ii.80). The kiss she gives is placed on his forehead rather than his lips. This type of kissing can be used to show affection towards someone, but it is also shown as a sign of respect. This makes her actions seem more intimate and Edmund can interpret this as devotion to him. When he leaves, Goneril...

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