King Lear by William Shakespeare | Act 1, Scene 1 | Summary and Q&A

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December 9, 2019
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King Lear by William Shakespeare | Act 1, Scene 1

TL;DR

King Lear plans to divide his kingdom among his three daughters based on their expressions of love, but disowns his beloved daughter Cordelia when she refuses to make extravagant declarations of love.

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Key Insights

  • 😫 This scene sets the stage for the themes of the play, including family relationships, aging, order, and vision.
  • 🖤 King Lear's favoritism towards Cordelia quickly fades when she fails to conform to his expectations, highlighting his lack of understanding of his own family.
  • ❓ Goneril and Regan's immediate dismissal of Cordelia's concern reveals their selfishness and ambitious nature.
  • 📺 The theme of vision is introduced, emphasizing how important it is for characters to see the true intentions of others and the consequences of their actions.

Transcript

in act 1 scene 1 of King Lear the Earl of Kent and the Earl of Gloucester are talking about what's been happening in the kingdom Kent asks about Gloucester son Edmund and Gloucester jokes about Edmunds conception King Lear enters with the dukes of Albany and Cornwall his daughters Goneril Regan and Cordelia and some servants Lear says he's ready to... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why does King Lear divide his kingdom among his daughters?

King Lear decides to divide his kingdom based on the expressions of love from his daughters, believing that the one who loves him the most deserves the largest portion.

Q: Why does Cordelia refuse to make extravagant declarations of love?

Cordelia refuses to make exaggerated claims about her love for her father because she believes that her love is beyond words and cannot be fully expressed.

Q: How do Goneril and Regan react to Cordelia's refusal?

Goneril and Regan dismiss Cordelia's concerns and view their father's actions as an opportunity to gain power and wealth for themselves.

Q: What is the significance of Cordelia marrying the King of France without a dowry?

Cordelia's marriage to the King of France without a dowry showcases her true nature and genuine love, contrasting with the materialistic motivations of her sisters.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Earl of Kent and the Earl of Gloucester discuss the happenings in the kingdom, hinting at the changes in the king.

  • King Lear divides his kingdom, giving the largest portion to the daughters who flatter him while disowning his honest and loving daughter, Cordelia.

  • Cordelia marries the King of France without a dowry, while Goneril and Regan discuss their father's changing behavior and plan their own actions accordingly.

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