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Forum Home > Shakespeare > Imagery in 'King Lear'

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 838

Dr Lynn Robson's seminar will take place here on Tues. evening.

May 3, 2015 at 9:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 838

I'm looking forward to tonigh's seminar and our exploration of the 'strange and admirable' imagery of King Lear.

I'd like to begin by concentrating on a single speech and examine how its imagery connects to the themes of the whole play.

The speech I've chosen is 'O, reason not the need' (2.2, 453-475 [Arden 3]; 2.4, 261-283 [possibly in other editions!].

 

For those of you who are going to join the seminar this evening: please can you identify what you think is the most striking image in this speech and say why it is?

Thanks.

 


May 5, 2015 at 7:46 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Ros Goodchild
Member
Posts: 6

Once a king who commanded all, now reduced to an old man who prays for a better temper as he refuses to weep at his daughters abandonment.  Most striking as he could not see he brought it upon himself.

May 5, 2015 at 10:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

mrpeel
Member
Posts: 25

possibly the "women's weapons, water drops stain my hot cheeks"  Links his "hot tears' shed in 1.4 with the eventual tears which Cordelia will shed in 4.7.  Evident that Lear is still utterly unaware of his need for compassion...  stain is worthy of discussion alone.  Also hints at the real wapons which will be used later, especially by Regan and Cornwall.

May 5, 2015 at 1:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

Thanks to you both. Ros: you're concentrating on how the actor playing Lear might look when delivering this speech but you're interested in the same image as mrpeel: weeping represented as 'women's weapons, water drops/Stain my man's cheeks.'

I'm sure others will be interested in that imagery as well and particularly how it relates to the play as a whole.

May 5, 2015 at 1:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

Just to let you all know that I'm going to get a cup of tea in preparation for what I'm sure will be a great seminar.

See you all in 5 minutes..

May 5, 2015 at 1:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ros Goodchild
Member
Posts: 6

I also liked the (storm & tempest) stage direction quickly followed by Lear's 'O fool, I shall go mad! when he voices his fears despite just raging at his daughters with as much authority as he can manage

May 5, 2015 at 1:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 838

Good idea - I'll just grab a cuppa too. :)

May 5, 2015 at 1:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

mrpeel
Member
Posts: 25

Interested to see how many of my students arrive!

May 5, 2015 at 1:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

adamwright
Member
Posts: 10

one down 

May 5, 2015 at 2:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

Hello, everyone. I'm ready to start discussing the imagery in King Lear. For those of you who haven't picked up my earlier posts we're going to focus our attention on Lear's speech in Act 2.2 (or possibly 2.4) 'O, reason not the need'.

Anyone out there with me?

May 5, 2015 at 2:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

mrpeel
Member
Posts: 25

does the page update automatically?  We are new to the forums?

May 5, 2015 at 2:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Zan Haq
Member
Posts: 4

It seems you have to refresh if you are not on PC 

May 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

Welcome! I hope you're feeling refreshed and ready.

Yes, Ros - thanks. If we think about that a bit more. The speech begins with 'reason' and ends on the word 'mad'. What's going on there, do you think? Does the language Shakespeare uses help us?

May 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 838

mrpeel at May 5, 2015 at 2:02 PM

does the page update automatically?  We are new to the forums?

Should do, but if nothing's happening click on the 'recent forum post'. Good luck. 

May 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

mrpeel
Member
Posts: 25

time to move away from the mac then.  Back in a bit.

May 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

Yes, keep pressing the refresh button...


May 5, 2015 at 2:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

I'll just keep chatting then. Ros's point about the stage direction is a good one with the reminder that we need to work with a wide idea of 'imagery' - not just what's in the language but also the image conjured on stage. In my edition, the thunder comes - 'Storm and tempest' - after Lear's 'no, I'll not weep'. Any ideas?

May 5, 2015 at 2:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

mrpeel
Member
Posts: 25

certainly there is a gap in the meter there which allolws for something to happen.  The thunder suggests an ominous comment on Lear's certainty.

May 5, 2015 at 2:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

[email protected]
Member
Posts: 155

I liked mrpeel's choice of the imagery of weeping in l.466, reinforced by the alliteration. As he says, this anticipates Cordelia's restorative weeping in 4.7 as Lear wakes from his madness. Earlier than that, in the middle of the storm (the heaves 'weeping'?) Lear declares he 'will weep no more' (3.4) but by 4.7 his tears 'scald like molten lead.' So in 2.3 his misogyny is in full flow - to weep is to be less than manly, and will 'stain' him / corrupt him with feminine weakness. Is it also evidence of 'the mother' rising in him - his feeling that as he slips into madness emotion (traditionally associated with women in this period) is taking over.

May 5, 2015 at 2:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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