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

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,109 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

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 foremost, we're introduced to the dynamics of Lear's family, which will take on even greater significance as the action progresses. This is a family that's as divided as the kingdom that Lear foolishly bestows upon his daughters. These divisions will determine the fate of each member of Lear's family, including himself, and almost every other character in the play.

Allied to this is point is the matter of Lear's character, which is the catalyst for everything that happens in the play. In the fateful opening scene, it is quickly established that this is a vain man, so insecure that he needs to hear his daughters openly profess their love for him. Lear's angry rejection of Cordelia after she refuses to play along with this little facade shows us that he still demands to be treated like a king even at...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 686 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,112 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial