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


  1. What do we just read upto Act 3?

  2. I'd like you to read up to the end of Scene 4 of Act three, please. You'll need to select for yourself the important scenes for close reading and skim over what you deem to be less significant in terms of overall plot...
    See you tomorrow!