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Forum Home > Shakespeare > 'Nothing will come of nothing' - King Lear revision masterclass

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 838

Dr Emma Smith's seminar will begin here at 7 pm this evening. 

June 2, 2014 at 9:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Rebecca Toal
Member
Posts: 17

Hello - just a question before the seminar begins tonight: To what extent does everyone think that Goneril and Regan are the cause of Lear's downfall in comparison to his own tragic flaws and hubris?


Thank you!


June 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Jack Whitehead
Member
Posts: 5

Perhaps the characters are irrelavent and the true root of the tragedy lies in the society from which no one can escape . . . Or something less depressing. 

June 2, 2014 at 1:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

G.Whitehead
Member
Posts: 29

Spot on Hemingway

June 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dreamsundermyfeet
Member
Posts: 22

i have some questions for emma or anyone else? what purpose does the Fool serve? is he integral to the play? in what ways is he significant? 

June 2, 2014 at 1:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma Smith
Member
Posts: 221

Jack Whitehead at June 2, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Perhaps the characters are irrelavent and the true root of the tragedy lies in the society from which no one can escape . . . Or something less depressing. 

Nice idea I think - helps us to get away from the idea that the characters are driving the events of the play, towards something a bit more existential. It's the way the mid 20th century, influenced by Samuel Beckett etc, tended to view things - there's a great essay by Jan Kott called 'King Lear or Endgame' on this idea. 

June 2, 2014 at 2:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ryan Hay
Member
Posts: 10

Essentially as a sort of catalyst to Bradley's 'Redemptoion of King Lear' ; he "beat[s] at this gate that let [Lear's] folly in". There are some interesting points on him in one of the speciment essays that OCR releases.

June 2, 2014 at 2:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma Smith
Member
Posts: 221

Rebecca Toal at June 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Hello - just a question before the seminar begins tonight: To what extent does everyone think that Goneril and Regan are the cause of Lear's downfall in comparison to his own tragic flaws and hubris?


Thank you!


Interesting - you've got two different - and perhaps incompatible - models of causation (what makes things happen) there. The idea of 'hubris' suggests it's Lear himself, the idea of the daughters suggests he's acted on by other people or that his tragedy is implicated with his family. What evidence would you bring from the play about the role of G & R? 

June 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma Smith
Member
Posts: 221

Ryan Hay at June 2, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Essentially as a sort of catalyst to Bradley's 'Redemptoion of King Lear' ; he "beat[s] at this gate that let [Lear's] folly in". There are some interesting points on him in one of the speciment essays that OCR releases.

Is this about the fool, Ryan - nice quotation. I guess one way of answering the question about whether he is instrinsic to the play might be to think about his unexplained disappearance: do we miss him? 


June 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

G.Whitehead
Member
Posts: 29

"What evidence would you bring from the play about the role of G & R?"

Lear isn’t so rash: Goneril and Regan lie and create the situation in which Lear dismisses Cordelia

June 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

G.Whitehead
Member
Posts: 29

It is only after the sisters 'oily' rhetoric that Cordelia's love seems understated

June 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma Smith
Member
Posts: 221

G.Whitehead at June 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Lear isn’t so rash: Goneril and Regan lie and create the situation in which Lear dismisses Cordelia

Do they create the love-test? 

June 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Rebecca Toal
Member
Posts: 17

Emma Smith at June 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Rebecca Toal at June 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Hello - just a question before the seminar begins tonight: To what extent does everyone think that Goneril and Regan are the cause of Lear's downfall in comparison to his own tragic flaws and hubris?


Thank you!


Interesting - you've got two different - and perhaps incompatible - models of causation (what makes things happen) there. The idea of 'hubris' suggests it's Lear himself, the idea of the daughters suggests he's acted on by other people or that his tragedy is implicated with his family. What evidence would you bring from the play about the role of G & R? 

Cordelia spots their potential for anarchy when she addresses their "plighted cunning", and Lear does seemingly feel threatened by G + R, as we can see through his use of predatory animal imagery describing them, especially compared to Lear who is described as a "hedge-sparrow" at this point. 

June 2, 2014 at 2:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

G.Whitehead
Member
Posts: 29

Lear is guilty on that count, but perhaps they create the environment in which it is bound to fail

June 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma Smith
Member
Posts: 221

G.Whitehead at June 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM

It is only after the sisters 'oily' rhetoric that Cordelia's love seems understated

There's some truth in that, I think - but it's also true that in describing her love 'according to her bond' Cordelia does suggest a sort of duty rather than an emotion which obviously enrages Lear: some critics argue she plays the scene as if it were a public one about the duty owed to a monarch when Lear wants it to be a father being indulged by his daughters.

June 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ryan Hay
Member
Posts: 10

Emma Smith at June 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Rebecca Toal at June 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Hello - just a question before the seminar begins tonight: To what extent does everyone think that Goneril and Regan are the cause of Lear's downfall in comparison to his own tragic flaws and hubris?


Thank you!


Interesting - you've got two different - and perhaps incompatible - models of causation (what makes things happen) there. The idea of 'hubris' suggests it's Lear himself, the idea of the daughters suggests he's acted on by other people or that his tragedy is implicated with his family. What evidence would you bring from the play about the role of G & R? 

I think it is most revealing on this issue that when Cordelia reappears she blames her sisters for Lear's downfall. She calls him "child-changed father" (in a rare moment of secular language, breaking from "stand in benediction" and "it is thy work I go about") and tries to cure "those violent harms my sisters have in thy reverence made".

June 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Carys Jones
Member
Posts: 7

Considering that we don't really see the 'kinder' side of Lear until well into the play - we still sympethise with Lear. Why is this? Is it purely because we naturally go against the evil of Goneril and Regan or because we are aware and sympathetic towards the vunerability of Lear's age. Do you find it surprising that there isn't more sympathy towards Goneril at the beginning of the play - considering what we have seen Lear do?

June 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dreamsundermyfeet
Member
Posts: 22

Emma Smith at June 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Ryan Hay at June 2, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Essentially as a sort of catalyst to Bradley's 'Redemptoion of King Lear' ; he "beat[s] at this gate that let [Lear's] folly in". There are some interesting points on him in one of the speciment essays that OCR releases.

Is this about the fool, Ryan - nice quotation. I guess one way of answering the question about whether he is instrinsic to the play might be to think about his unexplained disappearance: do we miss him? 


though it's been argued by some that Cordelia effectively "replaces" the Fool, I for one see them as very distinct characters. 

June 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Emma Smith
Member
Posts: 221

Rebecca Toal at June 2, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Emma Smith at June 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Rebecca Toal at June 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Hello - just a question before the seminar begins tonight: To what extent does everyone think that Goneril and Regan are the cause of Lear's downfall in comparison to his own tragic flaws and hubris?


Thank you!


Interesting - you've got two different - and perhaps incompatible - models of causation (what makes things happen) there. The idea of 'hubris' suggests it's Lear himself, the idea of the daughters suggests he's acted on by other people or that his tragedy is implicated with his family. What evidence would you bring from the play about the role of G & R? 

Cordelia spots their potential for anarchy when she addresses their "plighted cunning", and Lear does seemingly feel threatened by G + R, as we can see through his use of predatory animal imagery describing them, especially compared to Lear who is described as a "hedge-sparrow" at this point. 

Good - they're certainly not very nice people - but I wonder whether that means they have such an active role in bringing about the tragedy as you questioned at the top of this thread? 

June 2, 2014 at 2:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

G.Whitehead
Member
Posts: 29

Emma Smith at June 2, 2014 at 2:06 PM

G.Whitehead at June 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM

It is only after the sisters 'oily' rhetoric that Cordelia's love seems understated

There's some truth in that, I think - but it's also true that in describing her love 'according to her bond' Cordelia does suggest a sort of duty rather than an emotion which obviously enrages Lear: some critics argue she plays the scene as if it were a public one about the duty owed to a monarch when Lear wants it to be a father being indulged by his daughters.

That's interesting but wouldn't the patriarchal society of the time viewed women's love, both public and private, as a bond or duty? 

June 2, 2014 at 2:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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