RQ: Hist. of KL, Scenes 2-6


Keep the following questions in mind as you read  The History of King Lear, Scenes 2-6. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Scene 2

What sorts of words carry over from Scene 1 to Scene 2? Does Gloucester’s treatment of Edmund in the first part of Scene 1, for instance, account for his personality/choices?

What’s the gist of Edmund’s first speech? Are you persuaded?

There is a great deal of repetition in Edmund’s opening speech. How does the meaning of the repeated words or phases shift over the course of the speech?

How/why does Edmund trick Gloucester?vortigern-dragons

Summarize the contents of Edmund’s letter.

What steps does Gloucester want to take to ascertain if Edgar wrote the letter?

What’s the source of human behavior, or are eclipses bad omens?

Why does Edgar believe Edmund that Gloucester is angry with him?

Scene 3

Why does Gonoril want Lear to go stay with Regan? How does she plan to accomplish that goal?

Why does she phrase her plan as suggestions, instead of just ordering Oswald to treat her father and his retainers with negligence?

Scene 4

Compare the scheme that Edmund runs on his brother and father to the scheme that Kent runs Lear and his court. Do the means shape the ends? Does Kent serve Lear as honestly as before he “razed [his] likeness” (4.4)?

What are Kent’s qualifications for service? How do Kent’s qualifications compare with Oswalds’s?

What does the Fool tell Lear that no one else can and why?

How far has Lear a just right to think himself ungratefully treated?

We said that the division of the kingdoms results in a kind-of topsy turvey reality–how does the inverted

What idea of “nature” does Lear invoke at the end of Scene 4 when he curses Gonoril (264-280)?

Scene 5

What sorts of imagery does the Fool draw from the natural world to tease Lear?

What does Lear mean why he says, “I have forgot my nature/So kind a father!” (5.30)? Is he what he believes himself to be, i.e. a “kind father”?

Can you make the case that Lear looses his reason in this scene?

Scene 6

What evidence does Edmund offer Gloucester to support his claim that Edgar attempted to “Persuade me to the murder of your lordship” (6.44)?

To what cause does Regan attribute Edgar’s supposed attempt on Gloucester’s life?



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