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King Lear Effectiveness Of The Act I, Sc I

1047 words - 4 pages

KING LEAR CRITICAL STUDY "The Opening of any drama must mesmerise the audience"¦" How is this achieved in King Lear? In your answer you must refer to the core text Act I, Scene I.King Lear mesmerises the audience in its opening scene through a clear establishment of the story and the characters and in doing so, instigates an audience response to the issues and characters that effectively keeps them interested in the play. Established in the opening scene are the characters and their relationship with one another; the parallels between the plot and sub-plot; and most importantly, the protagonist, Lear, and the consequences of her most unusual decision. Because the audience is given so much information straight away, the formation of issues in the play and evaluations of characters are made, thus interesting the audience immediately. To identify how the audience is mesmerised at the beginning of the play we must ask two questions: what does the opening scene establish?, and how is the audience response encouraged?.Characters are established very early in Act I through the setting of the courtroom, a place where many people are involved. Lear's authoritative personality is shown through this setting, but also highlights his foolishness and pettiness. His decision "˜To shake all cares and businesses from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths while we; Unburdered crawl toward death' highlights not only his irresponsibility as King, but is also recognised as one of the key actions in the play that influences many others further on.Through this decision, we see the gushing falseness of his daughters Gonerill and Regan (who at the end of Scene I) reveal their true colours as they discuss their plans to obliterate their newfound responsibility to look after him. Cordelia is also introduced in great detail, where we see her honesty (through her decision to not passionately proclaim her love to her father), strength (when she withstands the following onslaught from Lear) and pride (when she leaves, at the instigation of her newly intended husband King of France, proud of her decision and still offering her love to her sisters). Immediately our support goes out to Cordelia, when she is left without a dowry and put forward to her prospective husbands of France and Burgundy, and humiliated, and away from her sisters and Lear. Kent is another whose character is strongly defined, as we see his loyalty to Lear, and his commonsense and realistic attitude toward the situation "“ as he develops into Lear's "˜conscience', our sympathy goes out to him also when he is banished. All of the main characters in the main plot are developed so that the viewer is interested in them, and makes their own evaluation of their character.The relationship between Gonerill and Regan with their father is identified, when afterward, they recognise that "˜He always loved our sister most' and with that comment the audience recognises the...

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