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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Hello Y12

We did a range of things in today's lesson.

We did some close analysis of the Fool's language and considered his dramatic role in the play. The extracts we considered were from Act II Sc IV. Whilst he displays many of the virtues of Cordelia, honesty, virtue and loyalty, his language contrasts with the plainness of Cordelia's. He is also never punished for his honesty, unlike Cordelia and Kent, and he certainly oversteps the the privileges of his role. In the extracts we looked at, the Fool's loyalty is much like a loyal son; interesting in a play where familial relationships are such a disaster.

In the play as a whole the Fool acts as a social commentator, a 'vehicle for pathos'. He can be played as a comic Fool, bitter Fool or even a tragic Fool. Fools were often kept by the monarchy to provide witticism and to remind the monarch of their humanity. The Fool provides these functions within the play and gives the audience something to laugh about too, particularly in bleak scenes. He reminds the audience of the chaos created by a fatal flaw on society; how the disharmony of those in status had adverse affects upon society at large because Lear has made his daughters his mothers.

We also considered the 'disappearance' of the Fool. There has been much speculation over what happens to the Fool and directors choose to keep, kill or ignore him. Some suggest the Fool is dropped when he is no longer needed. His purpose within the play is to try to get Lear to recognise his mistake; he is a positive character that tries to push Lear to the truth. Some critics think that once his purpose is achieved, Lear recognises his mistake, he is not needed within the play. It could also be that it would be inappropriate for a comic character to be in the bleak, tragic scenes towards the end of the play. It could also be that the Fool is played by the same person that plays Cordelia!
We also looked closely at Lear's fluctuating state of mind in this scene. He moves quickly from extreme anger to distress and despair. The natural law has been disturbed. Lear is in a helpless feminine role and the daughters are in power. It's important to consider how performance can emphasise Lear's madness and Goneril and Regan's cruelty. The juxtaposition of an emotionally broken old man and two very powerful women is captivating for an audience.

Finally, we looked at the Assessment Objectives for the coursework and some exemplar essays. A reminder then that this is worth 20% of your overall grade (40% for coursework. 60% exam). It should be 12oo-1500 words. It is imperative that you look at the AOs that you were given so that you know what to do well. You don't have to do a conventional essay; you can write a re-creative piece. You must write a commentary on this and the two are marked together. The AOs for this are here.

You have two homeworks this week (I know - I'm harsh). Think about the parts of the play you like the most. Don't underestimate how much better it is to write about aspects you like! You need to have chosen your title by next lesson so that I can send it off to the exam board for verification, it will need some tinkering and this is why I don't want you to start writing it yet. You also need to do a written piece in order to refine your writing skills. Therefore, you need to write the essay that you have already planned. As I'm not actually that harsh, it needs to be between 700-900 words. (900 is the absolute limit.) Look at the AOs as you will need to do some research of your own, but ensure it is referenced. If you are unsure about referencing I think this site is easy to understand and will serve you well throughout your further and higher education. We haven't looked at criticism yet, this is the plan for next lesson, so you need not worry about this AO too much (AO3ii).

Let me know if you have any questions. If you don't want to leave a comment you can always email me my school email (lcaldwell).

You will have lots to do before Christmas, but you'll have a nice research task over the holiday so you can rest then!

See you next week

Ms :)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Hello Y12

Hope all is well in the world of y12!

Right, straight to it. Your homework is to read to the end of the play. As I said before, when I say read I mean read and understand. You need to have a secure understanding of the play as a whole before we can move on to coursework.

When you've done this have a look at these Titles! (I'm sure you're as excited by this new blogging feature as I am...) Pick one and make a brief plan for an essay. You need to consider how you'd structure the essay to keep your answer clear and focused on the task.

You'll have to manage your own learning here. If it's taken you three hours to read to the end of the play, don't then spend another three trying to plan an essay. If you've already read to the end of the play, and feel you know it well, spend a solid amount of time looking at the titles and planning a response.

Finally, don't panic! You may not be able to structure a response to some of the questions because we've not looked in detail at some of these scenes. Choose one that we have a looked at. This is not your coursework title, but a chance for you to consider structuring a response before you choose your own. It's also a chance to have a look at the questions from last year and begin consider your own choice.

Any problems then do let me know.

Ms :)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Hey Y12
Just to let you know they'll be homework. I have some titles for your perusal. This needs to be really well structured (by me) so I need a bit of time to put it all together. It'll be posted tomorrow night.
Let me know if this is a problem.
Ms :)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hello Y12

I should have mentioned the scale on the chart. I think the measurement 'scale' should fluctuate between desperation/despair and anger/rage. There is a degree of flexibilty on this scale. If you've already done something else, don't worry about changing it.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hi Y12

In today's lesson we looked at the language in the first scenes in Act II. This Act is where the two plots intertwine.

In the first two scenes Edmund demonstrates once again his powers of manipulation. Gloucester's reaction mirrors the rashness of Lear's (signalling the inevitability of his downfall); the patriarch taken in by false words and the innocent child banished. Regan and Cornwall's cruelty is exposed. Lear, Gloucester and Kent are humiliated. The old patriarchs are pushed aside and the new (unnatural) power is in place.

Performance of this was discussed as we watched this scene. The presentation of Regan as particularly condescending and Cornwall as sleazy have impact. We also discussed the use of accents, and this is something that came up in one of the essays of comparison, and the impact this has. Why has Kent been given a Yorkshire accent?

Looking at the play as a performance is essential. YouTube has a wonderful array of performances. Click here to view easily. It will cement your understanding of the action if you spend 30 minutes watching the play.

We also considered how these scenes impact upon the audience. For example, Act II Sc III has impact upon the audience, not only in terms of the language, but also action and positioning.It gives us a sense of the urgency and danger that Edgar is now in. It's his first real speech where he is not being manipulated and the audience symapthises with Edgar in action (I wonder if he looses his glasses, like Clark Kent, in the production we watched...). The removal of his clothes would have been deeply significant to a Jacobean audience because of sumptuary laws click here for more info on this). His madness prepares us for Lear's decsention into madness. Good is pushed aside for evil. It's a lot for 21 lines.

Again, using my cunning in order to make you read all the post, the home study you need to do for next week is to chart Lear's mood from 2.4 - 3.4.; look at the picture to see how to do this, giving the scene numbers across the top. This will need to be done on A3 paper, I meant to give you some - sorry); there is some A3 on the shelf in Rm 9. You need to include many quotes on this that detail his mood. Hint: some quotes will be from the same section of speech so the graph should fluctuate quite wildly. Look at the lines 2.4.217-229 where he experiences a number of mood changes. In this scene alone you could look at lines 217, 218-20, 221-227.

Any problems, or if this is not very clear, please let me know ASAP and, perhaps, I'll provide you with a model at parents' evening.

I have tried to mind a way of incorparating barber-mongers into this post, but I don't want anyone to be upset!

Take care,

Ms Caldwell
P.S. JBC (bet you're freezing!) if you need any help with this, do let me know. Alternatively, copy down the notes from someone else in the class. That goes for EDF too..!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Hello Y12

Apologies for being a bad blogger - my children have been ill; the smallest child really quite ill and he really likes to press the off button when I'm on the computer...

Anyway, in Wednesday's lesson we looked at Act 1, Scene 2. We considered how it mirrors the action in Scene 1. We looked in detail at Edmund's soliloquy and how it showed an obsession with his illegitimacy. Edmund is deeply resentful of his baseness and being at the bottom of the social pile. He reveals to the audience his plans to denigrate the legitimate Edgar and ensure he is disinherited. He exposes himself as the tragic villain.

Edmund demonstrates his powers of manipulation and cunning; he handles Gloucester adroitly.

The letter and the plot touch on a central theme - the transfer of power and wealth from the old to the young. When Edmund says that he often hears Edgar
“Maintain it to be fit that, sons at perfect age, and
fathers declined, the father should be as ward to the
son, and the son manage his revenue.”
(lines 73-75)
This is, of course, Edmund's opinion. We also discussed how it closely reflects the view of Goneril and Regan at the end of 1.1.

Gloucester's quick response mirrors the rashness of Lear's condemnation of Cordelia, showing a distinct misjudgement of their children's character. Gloucester's reference to Edgar as 'unnatural' touches on nature and the natural that continues throughout the play (click here for more on nature and the play). The repetition of 'brutish' is a continuation of the imagery used by Lear of the criminal and the unnatural/sub-human. The references to the astrology also echoes Lear's responses.

Edmund handles Edgar with the same powers of manipulation. The scene ends with the private Edmund, mirroring the private Goneril and Regan at the end scene one.

Although the plot is different and separate from the main plot, it parallels some of the action by having a parent that is fooled because of misplaced trust in the wrong child/children as an innocent child suffers.

We also did some drama in the lesson. I do feel that we moved from tragedy to comedy, but it was great fun! It is imperative that we remember that King Lear is a play to be performed and it isn't just about the language. It's important to consider what the other characters on stage are doing as a person speaks. KS's embarrassed Edmund in the opening could signal the audience to the deep resentment he expresses in scene two. How else could it be played?

I've decided to embed the homework into my writing so that you have to read this post in order to find it - I am so cunning! You need to read on (and it's a lot of reading) to the end of Act III Scene IV. if you're reading this at 6pm on Tuesday, you've got a late night. Ensure you look at your footnotes to assist your understanding.

Next lesson we'll look closely at Lear's descent in to madness.

Parents' Evening Thursday

Mrs Archer and I will see you together. At the end of Thursday everyone apart from ES and GS had appointments.

Any problems then do, as ever, let me know.

Ms Caldwell