King Lear

Explore the mechanics of madness in King Lear, whether real of feigned. How does Lear’s madness ultimately bring about his own downfall?

Much of what happens in King Lear can be attributed to Lear’s relationship with his daughters. This relationship is based upon the fact that their mother is absent from the situation. How does the absence of a female role model influence each daughter differently? How might this explain the behavior of Cordelia and of Lear himself? Explore the idea of the absent mother.

What is the cultural and historical relevance of the play King Lear? The play is a dramatic entertainment which contains themes of family discord and disloyalty. How might this have effected Elizabethans who saw the play and why? What was going on in England during this time period which could have led to some of their reactions and criticisms of the play?

There are some scholars which suggest that King Lear by Shakespeare is actually a retelling of an ancient myth. There are similar stories of Kings and their daughters from China, Ireland, India and other parts of the world. Research the validity of this argument and choose a position where you either agree or disagree that Shakespeare most likely based his version on older ones.

The article cited below explores the relationship between trespass and forgiveness in the play. Using this article develop your own theories on these themes.

The author of this article describes the representation of the pattern of imagery in William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear on the characters of the play. Sight…or the lack thereof is a major transformative force in the play. Explore this element and how Shakespeare uses imagery to convey issues of sight.

Examine the role of the fool in King Lear. How does he contribute to the outcome? Do we hold him responsible for Lear’s downfall? This article looks at several fools in William Shakespeare’s plays. A fool might be a court jester dressed in the colors of those they served. The Fool in King Lear, accompanies his master into the storm but speaks hard truths along the way, while Trinculo in “The Tempest,” is more clown than fool and is drunk most of the time.











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