Questions and Answers for King Lear

King Lear

What is the short summary of King Lear?

King Lear is a play that explores the relationship between appearance and reality, and the tragic consequences of trusting in appearance more than reality. Lear divides his kingdom between his two...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2018 1:52 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

Please describe some similarities and differences between King Lear and Gloucester in King Lear by Shakespeare.    

Lear and Gloucester are both very similar in that they are betrayed and stripped of power by their children. Both wander as outcasts after having been powerful and high status people. A chief...

Latest answer posted May 12, 2019 12:18 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

In King Lear, Lear says, 'When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.' Who are the fools...

Shakespeare, speaking through King Lear, is using poetic license here. It is common knowledge that every baby cries as soon as it emerges from its mother's womb. If it doesn't cry of its own...

Latest answer posted April 25, 2013 11:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

In King Lear, what does the Fool's prophecy in Act 3, scene 2, mean?

The meaning of the Fool's prophecy in Act 3, Scene 2 has been debated. It is cryptic. There are even some scholars who suppose that Shakespeare did not write it or that it has been misprinted....

Latest answer posted January 11, 2013 6:12 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What does 'we will laugh at gilded butterflies' mean?

Good question. It's a passage that puzzles a lot of readers. Here it is: LEARWe two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,And ask of thee...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2010 6:51 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

Have More Than You Show

The quote "Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend less than thou owest" suggests that it is best to be judicious or sensible when it comes to dealing with others in life...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2015 10:30 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What is the dramatic significance of the subplot in King Lear?

The subplot of King Lear focuses on the Earl of Gloucester’s loss of power as he misjudges his children’s intentions with regard to their inheritance. Gloucester’s illegitimate son Edmund convinces...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2019 8:19 pm UTC

4 educator answers

King Lear

What is the overall message conveyed by the play King Lear?

For me the most important overall message (And I say "most important," because this is Shakespeare and there are, potentially, ump-teen "overall" messages.) would have to relate to the fact that...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2010 8:07 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What are the main themes in King Lear by William Shakespeare?  

One of the main themes in King Lear is the relationship between appearance and reality. When Lear calls upon his daughters to profess their love for him publicly, he's much more concerned with the...

Latest answer posted April 9, 2018 8:09 am UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

The line "Nothing will come of nothing" is extremely significant. However, what is the meaning of this line (big...

To what the first educator said above, I would add that the motif of "nothing" recurs throughout this play, with the audience invited to ponder on what "nothing" means. Gloucester says to Edmund...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2018 2:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What does "The worst is not So long as we can say “This is the worst.”", mean?

These lines are spoken by Edgar when, in his disguise as a poor, mad beggar, he comes upon his father, the Duke of Gloucester, who has been cruelly blinded and cast out by his enemies. Gloucester...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2013 6:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What are some of the lessons learned in King Lear, by Lear, Gloucester, and Edgar? From Act I to the end of Act IV,...

Both Lear and Gloucester, who are in many way parallel characters deceived by evil children, learn to understand the difference between appearance and reality and to realize that power can blind...

Latest answer posted September 30, 2017 1:05 pm UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

We Will All Laugh At Gilded Butterflies

I tend to agree with the previous post by mfrison. The line implies that it is foolish to gild a butterfly since it is already naturally beautiful and does not need artificial enhancement. It...

Latest answer posted August 25, 2011 3:16 am UTC

5 educator answers

King Lear

What is significance of the opening scene in Shakespeare's King Lear?

The significance of the opening scene of King Lear lies in the fact that it establishes a number of important dramatic elements that will be developed throughout the rest of the play. First and...

Latest answer posted July 10, 2018 4:46 am UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

How is the play King Lear relevant even today?

King Lear is still relevant today because Shakespeare has a real knack for writing things that contain universal themes. King Lear is no different. One of the core pieces of this play is the...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2019 10:07 pm UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

From King Lear, explain the meanings to "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks. Rage! Blow!"

When Lear says "Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!" he is calling upon the storm to do its worst, both to him and to the world. One can tell that he is doing both because of what he says...

Latest answer posted September 30, 2018 11:04 pm UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

Why use a stage direction in the drama?

Stage directions perform a variety of different functions. On one hand, a playwright's stage directions allow the actors to know who should enter the stage and from where they should enter or exit...

Latest answer posted February 24, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What are the relationships between King Lear and his daughters, and how do their relationships affect the play?...

As far as King Lear is concerned, his relationships with his daughters are based on his power and authority, both as a king and as a father. When his two elder daughters grow up and marry other...

Latest answer posted September 26, 2019 10:41 am UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What is the relationship between main plot and subplot in King Lear?

The main plot and subplot in King Lear make the play exceedingly complicated, especially since both old men are forced to leave their homes and roam the countryside in different places. Added to...

Latest answer posted May 22, 2012 11:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

Some suggested tragic flaws for Lear are self-centeredness, lack of self-knowledge, and rashness of judgement. What...

In William Shakespeare’s play, King Lear has all three flaws that are listed—and many more. One could argue that his central flaw, which turns into a tragic flaw, is self-centeredness. While he is...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2020 3:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What is the meaning of "soliloquy" and an example of a soliloquy in King Lear?

A soliloquy is one variant of a monologue, which is a speech spoken by a single character. The soliloquy is spoken by the character alone on the stage, giving the impression of conveying an...

Latest answer posted October 20, 2018 5:28 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What is the significance of the mock trial in King Lear?

In act III, scene 6, Lear—with his new, exiled "court" consisting of his Fool, Edgar, and Kent—stages a mock trial of his treacherous daughters, Goneril and Regan. On one level, the scene shows, as...

Latest answer posted January 5, 2020 2:05 pm UTC

4 educator answers

King Lear

"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods."  Please give background to this quote in King Lear.

These words are spoken by Gloucester, unknowingly, to his son Edgar. At this point, Gloucester has hit a very low ebb; his eyes have been gouged out by Lear's daughter, Regan, and he is thinking of...

Latest answer posted March 12, 2019 2:17 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

Why does the King of France accept Cordelia when Burgundy rejects her?

France and Burgundy are, as Lear explains, "rivals" in Cordelia's love and have been waiting in "amorous sojourn" in Lear's court for some time. Lear knows that both of these suitors are interested...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2018 9:11 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

In his play King Lear, what does Shakespeare imply about the effects of adversity on the human spirit?

In his play King Lear, William Shakespeare implies that adversity can have a number of different effects on the human spirit. In particular, the play shows that by suffering adversity oneself, one...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2012 2:56 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What does the fool mean by "Nuncle, give me an egg, and I'll give thee two crowns" What does the fool mean by...

Fool That lord that counsell'd thee To give away thy land, Come place him here by me, Do thou for him stand: The sweet and bitter fool Will presently appear; The one in motley here, The other...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2012 10:22 am UTC

6 educator answers

King Lear

Give explanation of, "Mend your speech a little, lest it mar your fortunes," from King Lear.

Lear has asked his three daughters to tell him how much they love him, promising to give the most desirable one-third of his kingdom to the one who expresses her love most convincingly. The old man...

Latest answer posted November 2, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What is the climax in Shakespeare's play King Lear?

The climax of this play definitely comes in Act V scene 3, which is when Lear and Cordelia have been captured by Edmund and they are brought on stage. What makes this scene the climax is that the...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2013 6:54 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

"Have more than thou showest,speak less than thou knowest,lend less than thou owest." What does this line from King...

We can summarize this line as a statement on being careful in the social world. Have tact. Be careful. Be cagey. "Don't put all your cards on the table." At least, try to refrain from exposing...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2015 6:46 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What are some examples of good and evil in King Lear?

Clear instances of evil include Edmund betraying his father, brother, Goneril, and Regan by turning their father out into the storm; Regan blinding Gloucester; Edmund engaging in affairs with both...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2019 5:50 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

Discuss why King Lear can be seen as the best tragedy.

One reason as to why King Lear could be seen as the best tragedy is because its ending is unclear in terms of its tragic implications. On one hand, the ending could be seen as profoundly moral...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2013 11:01 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

In Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear, why does King Lear's plan to divide his kingdom appear sensible on one hand but...

As he is aging and thinking about succession, King Lear decides to divide his kingdom among his daughters. If this were the entirety of his plan, it would appear sensible. However, he does not...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2020 6:53 pm UTC

4 educator answers

King Lear

What are examples of figurative language used in Act III, Scene 2 of King Lear?

In this emotionally intense scene, Shakespeare has Lear uses pathetic fallacy, the literary device of allowing weather or nature to reflect an emotional state. In the opening, Lear perceives a...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2018 4:31 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What is the setting of King Lear?

The setting of King Lear is a mythologized ancient Britain; a pagan land, where Christianity and its moral values are unknown. This is crucial because the world of Lear is one in which each...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2018 10:22 am UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What is the significance of old age and death in King Lear?

Old age and death are both significant themes in William Shakespeare's play, King Lear. There are several ways in which the characters in the play are confronted with their own mortality. An...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2015 6:05 am UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What is the significance of the lines beginning, "Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that...

When Lear regains consciousness in Cordelia's tent he thinks he is still dead and that she is an angel. His imagination of being dead and in hell is so vivid that he can still see the instruments...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2018 6:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

How did King Lear die?

By the time Lear departs from this mortal coil, he's pretty much given up the ghost. Long before his physical death, his spirit was gradually worn down due to the series of tragic events set in...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2018 7:45 am UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

What is the relationship between madness and blindness in King Lear?

The relationship between blindness and madness can also be seen in the abundant figurative language that links the two, often ironically. When professing her love for her father, Goneril says her...

Latest answer posted August 20, 2007 10:08 am UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

What does the following quote from King Lear mean? If yet beseech your majesty- If for I want that glib and oily...

It is hard not to hear these words from Cordelia, said to her beloved father, Lear, and not to scream silently at Lear in the hope of making him realise just how stupid he is being! Cordelia,...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2011 7:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What is the main theme, or the main idea, in Shakespeare's play  King Lear?

My perspective on Shakespeare'sKing Learis that the main theme is the painful fact that each succeeding generation pushes out the generation that came before it and was responsible for its...

Latest answer posted February 20, 2013 11:28 am UTC

6 educator answers

King Lear

How is redemption present in "King Lear?"

The two main places where I see redemption in King Lear are in the stories of King Lear and Gloucester, respectively. Both Lear and Gloucester sin, if you will, early in the play. Lear is cruel to...

Latest answer posted October 24, 2009 3:53 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

What does the fool mean by "Fathers that wear rags, do make their children blind . . ."?

In King Lear, Act II, Scene 4, the Fool says to Lear Fathers that wear rags Do make their children blind; But fathers that bear bags Shall see their children kind. This statement follows Lear's...

Latest answer posted December 16, 2018 5:06 pm UTC

2 educator answers

King Lear

How do loyalty and betrayal work in King Lear?  

Loyalty and betrayal in King Lear are tied to the theme of appearance and reality. In family matters, those who appear the most loyal are the most disloyal, while those who appear disloyal are the...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2018 12:49 am UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

What does the following quote from King Lear mean? 'Tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from...

This quotation is taken from act one, scene one of the play. In this scene, King Lear summons his three daughters to him and informs them that he intends to divide his kingdom between the three of...

Latest answer posted June 6, 2019 11:29 am UTC

4 educator answers

King Lear

How is the relationship between Goneril and Albany presented in Act 4: Sc 2 lines 29-69?

These lines show that the relationship between Goneril and her husband, Albany, has completely disintegrated. They treat each other with contempt and loathing. Albany now despises Goneril for the...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2018 1:42 am UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

Reading or seeing King Lear is a horrifying as well as uplifting experience. Discuss.

In King Lear, Shakespeare rips the veil away from one of our most cherished ideas: that children love their parents. It is a difficult and even horrifying play because it shines a relentless...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2020 2:31 am UTC

5 educator answers

King Lear

How does King Lear mirror the character of Gloucester?

King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester are similar in numerous ways. They both fall from high positions in old age and bewail their fate. They both have children who betray them and other children...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2020 8:46 am UTC

4 educator answers

King Lear

What is the fateful end of King Lear's three daughters?  

All three of King Lear's daughters meet their demise in the final act of the play. Goneril and Regan both die at the hand of Goneril; Regan begins to display symptoms of illness until eventually...

Latest answer posted August 13, 2018 8:11 am UTC

1 educator answer

King Lear

Discuss the character sketch of King Lear.   Discuss the character sketch of King Lear.

Lear is a king with a king's mentality. I agree with mshurn in that his most prominent trait as the play opens is his great pride. Lear has internalized the potency and the privilege of his...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2012 8:39 pm UTC

3 educator answers

King Lear

What are some examples of similes in Shakespeare's King Lear, Act I and Act II?

Similes (comparisons using the words “like” or “as”) appear frequently in the first two acts of William Shakespeare’s King Lear and contribute in various ways to the effectiveness of those acts....

Latest answer posted February 10, 2012 9:40 am UTC

2 educator answers

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