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Commentary On Act 1 Notes

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King Lear Act 1 Scene 1- The love test

03/11/2014

 Scene 1
 Mood of uncertainty established in the first 6 lines of the play, typical of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama as the characters introduce key themes
 Inheritance and property are at stake as Kent and Gloucester discuss the division of the Kingdom and ideas about favouritism are also introduced
 Edmund's silence is significant as it is symbolic of his position as the bastard son who has no 'voice', rights or position in society
 Difference between appearance and reality introduced as Edmund's polite exterior conceals his evil nature
 Gloucester jokes easily about Edmunds bastardy suggesting he has lax morals, foreshadowing his brutal punishment of blinding (typical punishment for adultery at the time)
 Lear's entrance is impressive suggesting power, yet his love-test is foolish and egotistical, leading the audience to question how he has conducted his power during his reign
 His actions are not those of a responsible ruler as he intends to break up the state
 Irony in Cordelia being the first to rebel against Lear, Kent is also subversive, insulting Lear calling him 'old man', yet they hold Lear and England's interests at heart
 Lear behaves like a Tyrant, his misuse of power proceeding his downfall, family and national harmony are destroyed yet we feel sympathy, he clearly loved his daughter and hoped he could rely on her 'kind nursery'
 Scene 2

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