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!
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..!