King Lear Act I, Scene 3: Questions and Answers

William Shakespeare

Act I, Scene 3: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where is the scene set?

2. What arrangement have Goneril and Regan made for the care of their father, the king?

3. Where has King Lear gone at the beginning of the scene?

4. What kind of servant is Oswald?

5. What does Goneril instruct Oswald to do in order to anger the king?

6. Why does Goneril pretend to be sick?

7. Where does Goneril plan to tell her father to go if he does not like it at her palace?

8. Why does Goneril decide to write to her sister?

9. What is the significance of the father/daughter relationship in this scene?

10. What would an Elizabethan audience of Shakespeare’s day have thought of Goneril’s attitude toward her father?

Answers
1. It is set in the palace of the Duke of Albany.

2. Goneril will keep her father first. Then she and Regan will alternate each month.

3. The King has gone hunting.

4. Oswald is a steward in charge of other servants.

5. Goneril instructs Oswald and his fellows to treat Lear’s knights with cold looks and to put on “weary negligence.”

6. Goneril is too angry to speak to her father when he comes home from his hunting trip.

7. Goneril will tell Lear to go live with her sister Regan.

8. Goneril hastily writes to her sister to tell her that Lear is acting badly and might decide to come live with her.

9. This is our first glimpse of the deterioration of the father/daughter relationship.

10. They would have seen Goneril’s attitude as a violation of the natural hierarchy.