Presentation on theme: "King Lear AP English Literature and Composition. Shakespeare and his times Born in Stratford in 1564 Elizabeth I is ruling monarch Poet, playwright, actor,"— Presentation transcript:
Shakespeare and his times Born in Stratford in 1564 Elizabeth I is ruling monarch Poet, playwright, actor, and theatre director Joined Lord Chamberlain’s men (writer / actor) King James I succeeded Q.E. – became the King’s Men Frequently performed at court & theatres around the city Died in 1616
Elizabethan Age time of great prosperity and wealth time of scientific discovery, exploration, and invention ie. Copernicus – planets revolve around the sun ideas emphasized the importance and potential of each individual human being Renaissance Man: accumulates skills in a vast variety of subject matters and areas of study while participating in public life
Ground-breaking Renaissance ideas in King Lear 1.Shift in power from old to new, from old to young (Lear’s abdication of power and his struggle to find a place as an aging man in a changing world). 2.Shift away from the Great Chain of Being (the idea of fate and the influence of the stars – human passivity) – moved toward an emphasis on human self-determination, independence, and responsibility (Gloucester – old view / Edmund – new view)
3.Marriages were arranged and women occupied a lower social status (implies the accumulation of wealth and power were the deciding factors that had joined Regan and Goneril with their husbands. Cordelia’s suitors, too have been selected based on the political and monetary advantages each potential union could offer. women did not have the power to make political decisions and were expected to agree with their husbands in every decision – many women did influence politics and social relations, hidden from public view, through their ability to scheme and privately impact their husband’s attitudes (tries to make the role of women less black and white)
4. Humans had potential for development – many characters develop over the course of the play showing human development is not static and unchangeable
Shakespeare’s use of language Blank verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter Changes to this pattern can signal a significant change simultaneously occurring in the plot or atmosphere of the play – Ie. Gloucester: No? What needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? The quality of nothing has not such need to hide itself. Let’s see: come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles (Act I: Scene ii). – This prose speech signals his initial encounter with the evil scheme of Edmund that will overthrow his life and eventually lead to his blinding and death. The unnatural behaviour of Edmund is echoed by the unnatural structure of the language.
Figurative Language Metaphors, similes, personifications, or imagery employed to put an abstract or complex idea into familiar yet interesting terms Helps the audience to create a visual image of the scene
Similes Most frequently used figurative language A comparison which uses “like”, “as” or “than” – Ie. See Edmund’s speech in Act I: Scene ii – Ie. Lear tells Regan that Goneril “hath tied sharp- toothed unkindness, like a vulture here.” – Ie. Lear states that Goneril has “struck [him] with her tongue, most serpent-like, upon the very heart.”
Metaphors A comparison that does not use a comparison word. – Ie. I prithee, daughter, do not make me mad: I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell: We’ll no more meet, no more see one another: But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter; Or rather a disease that’s in my flesh, Which I must needs call mine: thou art a boil, A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle, In my corrupted blood.
Dramatic Conventions and Techniques Soliloquy: a speech spoken by a character who is alone on stage. Often soliloquies reveal insights into a character’s thoughts, emotions, and motives for action. Aside: words spoken by a character on stage that are meant to be heard by the audience, but not by any other characters who are on stage (Cordelia addresses the audience several times in Act I to reveal her inner turmoil – “What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent?”
Subplot A secondary plot that runs alongside the main action of the play The story of Gloucester and his two sons mirrors the plot of Lear and his three daughters
Allusion A reference to another text, event or person with which the audience is presumably familiar. Roman mythology Ie. Let it be so; thy truth then be thy dower: For by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate, and the night; By all the operation of the orbs From whom we do exist and cease to be; Here I disclaim my paternal care.
Tragic Hero A prevalent feature of the Elizabethan Theatre A figure who occupies a position of high social rank and ultimately falls to desolation and disaster. The tragic hero falls from his high position because of an error in judgement, exaggerated hubris (excessive pride), or the workings of fate.
Madness Real or pretended, madness was a popular technique employed in Elizabethan plays
Conflict In any play, conflict between characters and internal conflicts within particular characters drive the plot. – Lear and his daughters – Old age and youth – Cordelia’s struggle to answer Lear’s request – Edgar leading his father to the cliff’s of Dover (serve or protect his father)
Pun A device that achieves emphasis or humour by using two distinct meanings for the same word or for two similar sounding words – Ie. Kent: I cannot conceive you (understand) Gloucester: Sir, this young fellow’s mother could (to become pregnant)
Classical Tragedy Elizabethan tragedy builds on the elements of Classical tragedy (Greek tradition developed by Aristotle, Sophocles, Euripides) Five act structure Fate of a tragic hero (determined by the hero’s flaw – hamartia) Usually the hero’s flaw is rooted within the protagonist himself and reveals itself through a failure or an inability to act correctly or to make the right decision. (Lear’s inability to distinguish between honest love and pretended love/ poor decision to divide his kingdom and give up his power entirely)
Themes of the play 1.Old age and the ingratitude of the young 2.The concept of Natural Order in terms of family relations and the influence of fate, the starts, and the gods 3.The meaning of “nothing” 4.The conflict between sight and insight, vision and blindness, ignorance and self-knowledge 5.Reality vs. appearance
Historical Context and Sources Written in 1605-6 Many stories of an old king and his daughters Shakespeare used well-known tales and previously published plays or stories as inspiration and then changed them to suit his vision
Earliest existing: Historia Regium britaniae (12 th century) – King Lear was believed to have ruled the British Island around the year 800 – sources are vague (myth) Other plays: Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, The True Chronicle History of King Leir
Differences to the original story Shakespeare added the subplot (borrowed from The Countess of Pembroke Aracdia – Sydney) Shakespeare added the tragic ending – in older version Cordelia and Lear are re-united and rule together Lear’s madness The fool
Performance of the play Lasted only about 20 years Was replaced by an adaptation by Nahum Tate – which ends happily
The Elizabethan Stage Theatre was an integral part of life at court Shakespeare’s plays were performed at Court and monarchs and members of the royal family would have attended Plays appealed to a wide range of audiences – plays performed in theatres around the city
The Globe Theatre In 1599 Shakespeare designed and became the co-founder of the Globe Theatre Located on the South Bank of the Thames River Octagonal (good acoustics) Seated 3000 spectators Tickets ranged from cheap to expensive, allowing rich and poor to see the play Burned down in 1613