Explain how relationships have been represented in this scene, evaluating the significance of this scene in the play as a whole. In your response include a discussion of the composer’s use of film and stage techniques.
The essence of tragedy in Shakespeare’s King Lear is generated through the relationships and characterisations of the characters in the text, which contributes to our understanding of the individual relationships in King Lear and the text as a whole.
Through central themes of nature, betrayal, family feuds and social hierarchy, relationships, in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Peter Brooks 1962 production and Richard Eyre’s 1998 television adaptation, have been represented in their respective manner and has allowed for a deeper understanding of the text. Act Four Scene Six is a pivotal point in the text and exposes the fragility and flaws of man where the central character Lear is his own undoing, through his arrogance, vanity, and inability to condemn his sycophantic daughters and essentially brings about his own downfall. The text also displays the paternal relationships between fathers and their offspring’s which is mirrored in both the main plot and subplot.
The chosen scene of Gloucester’s near death experience at Dover fits in with Shakespeare’s text of King Lear as it demonstrates how the character of Edgar evolves. In the beginning of the text, Edmund mentions Gloucester is a “credulous father”, is easily manipulated by Edmund and falls for Edmunds “practices”, disregarding Edgar without much thought, revealing Gloucester and Edgar’s poor familial relationship. “A credulous father and brother noble/whose nature is so far from doing harms/That he suspects none; on who’s foolish honesty…” (Act 1, Scene 2)This soliloquy shows the lack of trust that Gloucester instils in Edgar and how easily he falls for Edmunds’s tricks. However, in the chosen scene, there is an evident shift and role-reversal in the relationship between Edgar and Gloucester. Edger disguised as Tom O’Bedlam assumes a more paternal role and protects his father and essentially becomes Gloucester’s eyes when he loses them and becomes blind. This is represented in Peter Brook’s production where the camera movements aid audiences to emphasis certain ideas. The extreme close-up of “Edgar” and Gloucester’s face encompasses the whole frame allowing the composers to focus the audience’s attention on the emotions and facial expression of the characters and show their sincerity and understanding. This scene is significant for the characters as both Lear and Gloucester reach an epiphany, realising their wrong and rash mistreatment of their children. This links in with the motif of blindness where even though Lear can physically see, he is blinded in the sense that he lacks understanding, insight and direction and in contrast to this Gloucester becomes physically blind; Lear fails to understand that this is the principal cause of his demise and that both fathers inability to realise the true nature of their offspring’s actions leads to tragic consequences in the text such as Lear’s madness and Gloucester’s physical blindness.
Unseen text-King Lear (The passage is taken from Act 5,scene 3 and only Lear speaks throughout) The thing I find most interesting about the language used in this passage, is the dream like image it creates. I think the amount of contradictive language, used in the passage is also of some note as it creates ambiguity. The first language point that grabbed my attention about this passage is that it ...
In Richard Eyre’s production, this bond between “Edgar” and his father, Gloucester is heightened. Medium shot utilized by Eyre of Edgar and his father show Edgar holding him up so that the wont fall over. This demonstrates the paternal role of Edgar in the scene and how it has changed from Gloucester to Edgar.
Both Lear and Gloucester undergo a similar journey whereby both have been betrayed by their offspring’s and have been clouded by their arrogance. Betrayal, in King Lear, plays a critical role in expressing the inner wickedness of the familial realms where brothers betray brothers, sisters betray sisters and children betray fathers. This betrayal is shown where Goneril and Regan have clearly deceived Lear in Act one with their hollow expressions of love; “Sir I love you more than word can wield the matter….As much as child e’er loved” (Act 1 Scene1) This hyperbolic expression of love shows that Lear clearly fails to recognise the hypocrisy of his two eldest daughters and reinforces the fact that Lear cannot accept the truth if it does not suit or flatter him in any way. Lear’s growing madness as he tries to unsuccessfully come to terms with the evil actions of his daughters, Goneril and Regan, steadily takes over and when asking for Cordelia’s forgiveness it shows that Lear has undergone a learning process and admits that he was wrong in his rash actions and is not “blinded” by Goneril and Regan’s flattery. “Ha, Goneril with a white beard, flattered by like a dog.” (Act 4, Scene 6) This satirical comment shows the realisation of his wrong actions. Also, Lear’s original plan had been to divide his kingdom between his three daughters and spend his remaining years living with Cordelia; however, his own folly causes this plan to fail. Both daughters vie to outdo each other in expressing their love for their father, but Cordelia, refuses to do the same and loses her share of kingdom and fathers affection which. Her very cogent argument only further increases Lear’s anger and for her honesty she is left penniless and is exiled from the kingdom.
... the renewal of his relationship with his daughter. The play is based on the fall of King Lear, however the Gloucester sub plot is ... child. It succeeds in echoing the main story, and heightening understanding of events. It ties in to other events in the ... the audience to compare and understand the different situations the characters find themselves in. We see the beginning of this resentment ...
In the chosen scene, both Lear and Gloucester share a sense of understanding and commonality as they communicate with each other with a sense of understanding. “The trick of that voice I do well remember: is’t not the king? The question conveys the characters “closeness” or bond. Also the close-up utilised by Brooks of the characters face up show the closeness between Lear and Gloucester and their mutual understanding of each other and their sincere facial expressions.
In Eyre’s Production, King Lear is very jovial and content and there is not a sense of closeness between Gloucester and Lear that is established. This particular adaptation distances the two characters. The use of medium shot generates sympathy for Gloucester through his body language, his hunched back and physical state which helps audiences empathise with him.
King Lear and Gloucester are similar to an extent of being tragic heroes, because they both experience the traditional features of a classic tragedy. Both characters go through the features of hubris, hamartia and culminates with anagnorisis. Shakespeare employs the double plot in ‘King Lear’, the only Shakespearean tragedy to employ two similar plots which function in a parallel manner. In doing ...
Through film and stage techniques and central themes a deeper understanding of the text and the relationships between the characters is established. Both Peter Brook’s and Richard Eyre’s 1998 production explore relationships in their own respective manner and successfully allow the understanding of individual characters and relationships.
The essence of tragedy in Shakespeare’s King Lear is generated through the relationships and characterisations of the characters in the text, which contributes to our understanding of the individual relationships of Shakespeare’s King Lear.