S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

King Lear is the story of an elderly monarch who makes a grave error of judgment, through which he loses his kingdom, his daughters and his sanity. Through losing what he cares most about, Lear eventually comes to realise the true nature of love and virtue, which he initially took for granted. He suffers much mental anguish during his journey of self-discovery and awareness. There are in fact two plots within the play, although they interweave and have many themes in common; they both explore sibling rivalry, the foolishness of old men (!), and the complexities of the parent/child relationship.

King Lear is one of the most frequently staged Shakespearean plays, and its grim attraction took a particular hold in the popular consciousness during the Second World War. It is most famous for its extremes of cruelty and violence, but there is also evidence of goodness and loyalty. Fundamentally, this is a tale of the struggle between good and evil, but many people find the ending highly pessimistic about the hopelessness of human plight - in your opinion, does 'evil' triumph throughout this play?

Lear:
Copyright S-cool Learns from his own mistakes.
Copyright S-cool Rash and foolish.

Goneril and Regan:
Copyright S-cool Vicious, evil and ruthless.

Cordelia:
Copyright S-cool Selfless, forgiving and modest.
Copyright S-cool Defiant and stubborn.

Gloucester:
Copyright S-cool Loyal to the king and brave.
Copyright S-cool Foolish and irrational.

Edgar:
Copyright S-cool Courageous, honest and loyal.
Copyright S-cool Passive and weak.

Edmund:
Copyright S-cool Tries to "do good" eventually (on his deathbed).
Copyright S-cool Selfish, manipulative and ruthless.

Animals

Sight

Madness

The role of the Fool

Clothing

Family relationships

Justice

Cruelty and Suffering

The Gods

Nature

Have you read the play four times - as advised by the Chief Examiner?

Highlight the key words in the question.

Plan your answer.

Next make sure that you have links.

Introduction - Respond directly to the question - and keep this in mind throughout.

Conclusion - Look again at the introduction, and close the argument you opened at the start of the essay