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A Level King Lear

Richard Gent | Wednesday February 10, 2021

Categories: KS5 Resources, KS5 Literature, Drama, King Lear, Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Plays, Shakespeare - Other Activities and Resources, Starters & Teaching Ideas

Often regarded as the most complex, intense and overwhelming of Shakespeare’s mature tragedies, the plot and structure of the play are surprisingly straightforward.
Lear persists in dividing Britain between his three daughters. Two of the three accede enthusiastically to his demand for flattery as a condition of this. The third, Cordelia, refuses, marries the King of France and leaves him, prompting sharp criticism of Lear from Kent, a loyal courtier. The two remaining sisters, Goneril and Regan and their respective husbands, Albany and Cornwall, turn against him and then against each other in their pursuit of power. This is accelerated by each woman's overpowering lust for Edmund, bastard son of the Duke of Gloucester.
In the parallel sub-plot Edmund outwits his half -brother Edgar, Gloucester's legitimate heir, contrives to set the Duke of Cornwall against him and betrays his father as a traitor. He relentlessly exploits Goneril and Regan to pursue his own self -interest. He makes his memorable phrase 'Gods stand up for bastards!' as Lear's opening decision has almost allowed him to do, a feasible possibility, leading the British Army against an invading French force and coming within a distance of being the British King.

Edusites 'King Lear' Resources

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