RQ: Hist. of KL, Scene 1

Featured Image: CARN EUNY ANCIENT VILLAGE, Cornwall


Keep the following questions in mind as you read  The History of King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1. 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.

  • 1. Are the kingdoms already divided? If yes, so what? If no, so what?
  • 2. What is Edmond’s legal status?
  • 3. Why does Lear divide his kingdom? How does he decide which sister gets which portion of land?
  • 4. How much does Gonoril love her father? Does Regan improve Gonoril’s speech? Is it possible to love someone as much as they say they love their father? How much does Cordelia love her father?
  • 5. Does Cordellia take the contest for the biggest portion of the kingdom too seriously? Does she transform the plot from comedy to tragedy? What is she saying no to?
  • 6. What sort of test proves love? Is the entirety of the play a love test? If yes, does the ‘game’ undermine the play’s seriousness?
  • 7. What are some consequences of Lear’s curse (1.100-12)?
  • 8. What does Kent mean when he says, “Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak/When power to flattery bows?” (1.136-7). Is Kent out of line? Does he misread and misspeak in court? Or, are his criticism warranted?
  • 9. Does Lear do Cordelia a favor by disowning her?
  • 10. Why does Lear give everyone in his kingdom so much latitude to choose their futures?
  • 11. By what right does Lear divide and dispense land? Is it even possible for him to do so, or is it a symptom of his growing madness?

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