Textual Analysis Essay In Shakespeare's King Lear

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Textual Analysis In Act I scene i of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the protagonist, Lear, demands his daughters to publicly profess their love for him. Two of his daughters, Regan and Goneril do not hesitate to praise King Lear and exaggerate their love for him, whereas his third daughter Cordelia honestly admits that she cannot flatter him like her sisters. When King Lear warns her she will not bequeath any land, the Earl of Kent, Lear’s loyal advisor, points out that this is a mistake and he should not fall for the flattering words, but rather for actions. Shakespeare underscores the theme of deceit versus honesty through Kent’s language and actions which I attempt to communicated to the audience through interpretations of the text focusing on his gestures, tone, and physicality.…show more content…
Kent believes that “to plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly” (I.i.165) or “when power to flattery bows” (I.i.165). The flattery Kent refers to is the disingenuous and exaggerated professions of love from his daughters Goneril and Reagan, which he has to point out for the lies they are as he is honest and loyal. The juxtaposition of majesty falling to flattery foreshadows the effects of Lear’s lack of judgment and the literal fall of his majesty. Shakespeare usage of the litotes when Kent explains Lear that his daughter Cordelia “does not love (him) least” (I.i.171), underscores his usage of plain language, as opposed to decorative speech, which again pertains to his truthful nature. To emphasize this honesty to the audience during my performance, Kent barely uses gestures and in the cases where he does they are minimalistic gestures as a slight shaking of the head for “does not love (him) least” (I.i.171), which is a juxtaposition to the deceptive eldest sisters who’s gestures are purposely exaggerated for the opposite
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