King Lear Act III Study Questions Scene I 1. Kent reveals to the Gentlemen that tension between Regan’s husband (Albany) and Goneril’s husband (Cornwall) could quite possible result in a civil war. However, aside from the war, the two may be united in plotting against the murder of King Lear. The King of France is preparing to make a move against these two divided house. He may have already sent spies to their households disguised as servants. 2. The mission that Kent asks the Gentlemen to complete is to go to Dover, the place where Cordelia lives, and inform her of how insultingly he was treated by Goneril and Regan.
Also, in order to make sure that Cordelia knows the message sent is from him, he instructs to the Gentlemen to also deliver his ring to her. Scene II 3. Shakespeare portrays the great emotional upheaval going on within Lear’s mind by showing us an iconic image of Lear as a white-haired man standing in the middle of a thunderstorm and literally yelling at the sky, “Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow! ” When we see this, we are able to see the extent of his troubled mind since it seems like only a deeply impacted individual would commit to such task or wish to appear as he does.
The actual storm that is occurring on the outside is representative of the “storm” going on inside Lear’s mind. We see this when he talks about how upset he is with his daughters and that ungrateful children should cease to be born. 4. The comment about women that Lear makes in his speech is that “thou perjured, and thou similar of virtue, that are incestuous… that under covert and convenient seeming has practiced on man’s life” (3. 2. 57-60). 5. Kent’s opinion of the storm’s ferocity is that “such bursts of horrid thunder, such groans of roaring wind and rain I never remember to have heard,” showing the intensity of the storm. . When King Lear remarks that “I am a man more sinn’d against than sinning,” it reflects his development as a human being within the play because he comes to realize that he has lost everything. He went from being the King of Britain all the way down the ladder to an individual who has menial value in society. Finally, we come to see that he realizes the big mistake he made by disinheriting Cordelia from his inheritance and giving Cordelia and Regan his kingdom. He is losing so much confidence that he wants to play the part f the victim and believe that everyone is taking advantage of him, without withholding responsibility for the fact that he was the one who acted harshly when he disowned Cordelia. 7. The fool evaluates the state of Britain in his closing “prophecy” by foreshadow its dark future and when it “will come to great confusion,” when priests become corrupt, when pickpockets stop preying on large crowds, beer-makers will water down their beverages, and when “bawds and whores” build churches.
However, this if kind of funny because all this is already occurring in Britain and it has already began its decline. Additionally, he predicts that Merlin will make the same prophecy in the future. Scene III 8. Upon hearing Gloucester’s request to pity the king, Regan, Goneril, and Cornwall are not pleased but also have a nonchalant attitude towards it because they’re not going to let anything convince them of bringing back their father. Their cruel and ruthless come out when they ask Gloucester not to mention Lear’s name in pain of “perpetual displeasure. They are concerned with their own well-being and do not care whatsoever for the king. 9. The information that Edmund shares with the audience after his father tells him about the “dangerous” letter is that although it is against his father’s request, he will tell the duke that Gloucester is going to see the king, which is forbidden. Also, being the selfish and deceitful person as he is, Edmund states that Gloucester will get what he wants and he will get everything that is left behind. Scene IV 0. At the beginning of the scene, we see King Lear standing out in the storm with Kent (disguised). When Kent asks him to get cover from the storm Lear states that the pain that the storm is giving him is helping him lock out the pain that his daughters, Goneril and Regan, are bringing him. 11. Edgar’s speech is filled with alliterations when he is telling King Lear about how he is being chased by the devil. He states some interesting things such as “the fould fiend follows me” (3. 4. 50. ) 12.
Upon seeing Edgar emerge from the hovel disguised as poor Tom, Lear immediately assumes that he is a madman and the reason he is in this state is because of his daughters. 13. Edgar responds to Lear’s assumptions by stating that he once used to be a rich courtier who used to drink wine all the time and have women with him. 14. Lear tears off his clothes in response to seeing Edgar (disguised as Tom) with an uncovered body. It’s the first time in his life that he actually sympathizes with someone other than himself.
As Lear is driven further and further into insanity, he starts to think more about humanity and the way the world perceives him. Lear has actually taken into account some of the things that Edgar says because he realized that the world doesn’t just revolve around him and that material possessions are not everything. This kind of ironic because along with being physically naked, he is also figuratively naked because he has lost all support and must face the cruelties of the world by himself. 15.
Gloucester’s appearance at the hovel illustrates the parallel structure between the Lear-daughters plot and the Gloucester-sons subplot because it symbolizes his growing level of compassion for banishing Edgar, his beloved son. He regrets his actions so much that he shows pity on King Lear by giving him shelter. This is a similar development to King Lear as the abandonment of Cordelia opens his eyes to his regretful actions, wishing that he could also go back and redeem himself, just as Gloucester is attempting to do so. 6. The trait that King Lear is developing in response to his daughter’s treatment is sympathy. We see this when he sees the Fool outside of the shelter and tells him to go first, pitying his condition. Additionally, he reflects on poverty, stating that “Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,” showing how his eyes have been opened to the fact that there do exist people that aren’t as rich as he supposed them to be (considering that he even thought about them, which I doubt).
This trait affects his status as a tragic hero because a tragic hero is always enlightened after realizing the mistake he has made. Because of this error of judgment, he develops a sympathetic trait that enhances his image is a tragic hero. Scene V 17. Edmund’s reward upon reporting Gloucester’s alleged sympathies for the King of France to the Duke is the position as the Earl of Gloucester. 18. Edmund represents his family obligations to the Duke when he talks about the treason Gloucester has committed.
He basically tells the Duke that he is regretful that he has permitted his love for his family to be brushed aside because of his desire to be loyal to him. Instead of protecting his family, Edmund is more concerned with being the Earl of Gloucester. His character is such that he will do anything to get what he wants, may it be to offend someone or completely defeat them. 19. Edmund’s attitude toward the concept of loyalty is that he would put all sense of loyalty to his family aside just so he could achieve some personal gain.
What this reveals about his character is that he has remained the same since the start of the play: greedy and a bastard (literally). He has no sense of morality at all as we see him continually accepting Cornwall’s request to keep misleading Gloucester. 20. The Duke promises Edmund that he will punish Gloucester for his treason and he will become the Earl of Gloucester. Scene VI 21. The imaginary event that Lear stages once he has entered the farmhouse chamber is a mock trial of Goneril and Regan. In the trial, Edgar, Kent, and the Fool server as the jurors while Lear pleads the case against his daughters. 2. During his trial, Lear accuses Goneril by stating that “she kicked the poor king her father,” basically stating that she has betrayed him. 23. Edgar fears that his true identity might be exposed because he’s showing traces of his sympathy for King Lear. The audience learns about his concerns in his aside when he states that “My tears begin to take his part so much, they’ll mar my counterfeiting. ” The fact that the character of Tom doesn’t suit him to show so much sympathy for the king worries Edgar. 24.
The news that Gloucester delivers upon his arrival is that someone is plotting to kill King Lear and that he must leave immediately. 25. Lear’s suffering impacts Edgar’s disposition cheers Edgar up. This occurs simply because of the fact that he sees someone so positioned in society as a king in a state as miserable as himself. Additionally, he points out that suffering is more bearable when it is shared with another individual. Also, since Lear is a little more humble now, he is open to conversing and relating with other people not of his status. Scene VII 6. Cornwall orders his servants to pursue Gloucester because he had helped King Lear and the Fool escape to Dover. He apprehends Gloucester at the gate of his own castle. 27. Cornwall vows to torture and inflict as much pain on Gloucester once he has been found because he’s aware that although he needs to hold a formal trial for him, he can still get away with a brutal punishment. 28. Gloucester considers Regan’s and Cornwall’s behavior toward him inappropriate because they have treated Lear immorally and don’t have the right to punish him without a trial.
However, being as cruel as they are, they find it appropriate to rip his eyeball’s out (Ouch! ) just for helping Lear. 29. The information that Regan and Cornwall demand from Gloucester is 30. The image that Gloucester evokes when he speaks to Regan is of Lear’s two daughters torturing and causing a lot of pain (both emotional and physical) towards their father. It is also a description of his coming punishment from Gloucester stating that instead of seeing Lear disrespected by his two cruel daughters, he would rather punishment or even death.
These words show his absolute loyalty towards the king. 31. This image of the two sisters compares to their words of affection they uttered in the opening scene of the play in that they are completely contrasts. In the beginning, all they did was flatter their father into getting the largest possible share of his inheritance (and that foolish old man wasn’t able to recognize it. ” However, in this scene we see the extent of their cruelty towards Lear. They cast him out of their castles and atop of that refuse to show any sympathy for their actions.
He is shown no love and honor whereas in the first scene, it was nothing but that. 32. The servant interferes with the proceedings in Gloucester’s castle because he states that he cannot watch Cornwall commit such an atrocity towards Gloucester. This reveals his supportive character and shows us that he doesn’t let his duty as a soldier get in the way of his morals. Although it’s kind of nice to see that someone is finally standing up against Cornwall, it is sad because instead of it being his son, Edmund, it is a complete strange who realizes that what is happening is incorrect and immoral. 3. The startling news about Edmund that Gloucester learns from Goneril is that Edmund was the one who turned him in. At this point, Gloucester realizes that Edmund is a traitor and has been all along in addition to the fact that Edgar is innocent. 34. The theme that is advanced by the gouging out of Gloucester’s eyes is vision and blindness. In the first act, Gloucester is “blinded” by anger as he listens to everything Edmund tells him and doesn’t take a step back to realize that Edgar is a loyal son. It is through the gouging of his eyes that his blindness and ignorance is represented.
It’s ironic because it’s not until he loses his sight that he realizes the traitorous Edmund had tricked him. 35. What is significant about the servant’s challenging Cornwall about his treatment of Gloucester because we finally see hope of the rise of good to challenge evil. Although it is not between two major characters, it is this spark that is necessary in order to ultimately win the fight for the good and defeat all the evil characters in this play. Shakespeare probably threw this in there in order to provide a sense of hope, therefore keeping us captivated.
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