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Extract 5 Act 1 Scene 4 Lines 243 281

Prior to this extract, we were revealed to Edmunds scheming plot betraying his father and brother in order to inherit the land. The play then shifts back to the main plot where Goneril and Lear are arguing about his hundred knights. This extract depicts Lears sudden outburst of anger and rage in response to his daughters insult. This extract shows the beginning of Goneril and Regans plot being set in motion. This extract is significant because it shows us Lears realization of his mistakes and is also his turning point as he faces the consequences of his folly. After this extract, Lear leaves for Regans castle and the audience is informed that Gonerils letter has been sent to Regan. In this extract, Shakespeare has established a sense of pity and pathos in the eyes of the audience for Lear as the audiences know that both daughters will not take him in. In my commentary, I will be speaking about Lears realization, the inversion of natural order and Lears response to Gonerils betrayal.

At the beginning of the extract, Lear uses harsh words as seen in Darkness and Devils! and this shows that he is enraged after Goneril tells him to reduce his train of knights. To reduce Lears tra in of knights is akin to asking Lear to reduce his power therefore Lears response is understandable. Next, Lear also calls upon his train to pack up and prepare to leave Gonerils estate as seen in Saddle my horses, call my train together, prepare my horses, gogo my people and away away!. Lear mentions the decision of leaving Gonerils estate for four times to assert his power. However it is ironic as he does not leave and continues arguing with Goneril. From Lears speech, we are able to tell that he has realized a part of his folly which is to give Goneril a part of his kingdom. Furthermore it is also shown that he has yet to fully realize his follies as he mentions that he will go to Regans estate next since Goneril does not welcome him here as seen in Yet I have left a daughter. In this context, the daughter that Lear is referring to is Regan and not Cordelia. He believes that Regan will take him in because she loves him as seen in the love test where she professes her love for Lear. It is ironic because we all know that both Goneril and Regan are evil and will not take Lear in. The only true daughter who loves Lear is Cordelia, however this is not shown in Lears actions therefore we can say that he has yet to fully realize his follies. A sense of pity is also created here as the audiences know that Regan will not take in Lear as well. Later on in the extract, Lear finally realizes his folly of banishing Cordelia out from his kingdom as seen from How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show, wich like an engine wrenched my frame of nature. In this sentence, Lear is trying to tell the audiences that the disownment of Cordelia is extremely painful and it feels just like pulling his heart out from his body. Therefore from this speech, Lear is shown to have realized his rashness. This is further reinforced in his act of hitting his head as seen in striking his head. The head is a symbol of judgement and by hitting his own head, Lear is shown to be blaming his sense of judgement because it has caused him a daughter, power and authority.

The inversion of natural order is seen in this extract as Goneril does not want to take care of Lear. Instead, she draws a clear separation between Lear and herself indicating that she is breaking her

bonds with Lear. In this extract, Goneril does not display the qualities that a child ought to have. She is infilial and ungrateful to Lear. This is seen in You strike my people, and your disordered rabble where Goneril insults Lears knights and himself indirectly. The group of knights belong to Lear and by criticizing Lears knights, it is akin to criticizing their master who is Lear. Also the use of my and your are very significant as well. This shows that Goneril is trying to break away from her bond with Lear because he has nothing now and this separation is seen through the words my and your. As a result from this, we can see that Lear is in a state of shock because he cannot believe that his daughter is doing this to him as her act now is totally different from what she had said in A1S1 during the love test. This is shown by Lears speech to Albany and his knights at the same time as seen in O sir are you come? and Prepare my horses showing his confused state of mind.

As a result of Gonerils betrayal, Lear becomes enraged and he starts to dehumanize Goneril through the use of metaphors. In the first case, he calls Goneril a marble hearted fiend who is ungrateful to him. Marble hearted describes how hard and cold Gonerils heart is as seen from her attitude towards Lear. Next Lear describes Goneril as more hideous than a sea monster as seen from More hideousthan the sea monster. This shows that Goneril cannot even be compared to a monster showing how far she has fallen. Lear also calls Goneril a Kite which is a bird of prey often associated with cruelty and death showing the extent of his hate for her. Lear also calls upon Nature to curse Goneril and this act of his is very unnatural. Back in A1S2, Edmund also calls upon Nature to aid him in his plot to betray his father and brother. In this extract, Lears intention is rather much the same as Edmunds as both their acts are unnatural. Firstly he curses Goneril to be infertile as seen in Dry up in her the organs of increase. And from her derogate body never spring a babe to honour her. This is an extremely dehumanizing insult to Goneril as it simply means that she cannot be a woman again hence showing Lears anger towards Goneril. During the Elizabethan era, if a woman is unable to give birth to a child, she is considered lesser than a human and will be disgraced. Next, he also says that even if Goneril manages to produce a child, he would be disfigured and would torment her forever as seen in Create her child of spleen that it may live and be a thwart disnatured torment to her. Child of spleen refers to a child who is violent and ill tempered so that Goneril will never ever be happy. Lear also curses Goneril of old age as seen in Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth and With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks. This is an exaggeration as Lear is trying to say that Gonerils tear will flow until there are grooves on her face. The use of siblances as seen in serpent, spleen, sharper, spring and sterility makes Lears curse sound harsh as he spits out words of anger and bitterness. Lastly the idea of ungratefulness is brought out as Lear tells Goneril that she will have a thankless child so that she will be able to experience the pain that he has suffered.

The royal family is a microcosm for society so the inversion of order and disharmony probably foreshadows the further chaos in society such as the war between England and France. Albany in this extract acts as a mediator trying to pacify and defuse the tension. He does not speak much in this

extract and he represents the remaining source of justice in a chaotic world. The audience pities Albany in this extract because he is kept in the dark of the events that happen in the royal family.