King Lear | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "King Lear Study Guide." August 10, 2016. Accessed October 2, 2023.


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King Lear | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about William Shakespeare's King Lear. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

king-lear-william-shakespeareThe StormThe powerful storm is deeply symbolic of the savage disorder in the kingdom and in Lears mind.BlindnessLear can't see the love of his third daughter, Cordelia, and wanders in the dark both literally and metaphorically.CrownLear divides his kingdom and sets aside his crown but is betrayed by the two daughters he does it for.King Lear is old and wants a break from the weight of kingship. Fortunately, he has three daughters who love him—or so he thinks. When he divides his kingdom between two and exiles the third, Lear initiates a tragic chain of events. People die, eyes are gouged out, hearts are broken, and families and kingdoms are torn apart.Split a Kingdom, Break a HeartSYMBOLSLear, Act III, Scene IIam a man/More sinned against than sinning.King Learby the NumbersAdaptation by Nahum Tate of King Lear that changed the ending and popularized the play1Characters killed in King Lear10Eyes gouged out (Gloucester's)2England's national poet, Shakespeare often took inspiration from historical sources. In King Lear, he blends a story from Holinshed's Chronicles with an existing play on "King Leir." He comments on British anxiety over the nature of the monarchy as the Tudor Dynasty ended.WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE15641616AuthorBETRAYLOVESLOYALThe FoolLears companionKing LearKing who steps down from the throne because he is old and tiredGloucesterEarl, an older lord in Lears courtKentEarl, Lears servantCordeliaLear's loving daughter, whom he banishesMain CharactersRegan & GonerilLears treacherous daughtersLOYALLOYALAgingEverything in King Lear happens because the king is old and weary.Family RelationsFamily is central: how children should treat their fathers, siblings one another, and fathers their children.Madness & FoolishnessPeople considered mad or foolish see more clearly than those who are supposedly sane.ThemesWilliam Shakespeare1605–06EnglishPlayAuthorYears WrittenOriginal LanguageKing LearTragedySources:, British Library, Columbia College, Folger Shakespeare Library, Mental Floss, The New York Times, Royal Shakespeare CompanyCopyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.

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