RQ: King Lear, Scenes 16-24
Keep the following questions in mind as you read King Lear Scenes 9-15. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.
How does Oswald’s reply to Gonoril mark a turn in the plot and/or in Lear’s fortunes (16.4-11)?
Why does Edmund have to “Decline” his head to Gonoril (16.21)?
What accounts for Albany’s change in perspective? Was he already more on Lear’s side than his wife’s?
How does Albany express his disdain for Gonoril’s life choices? What sorts of metaphors does he use?
According to Albany, what sorts of things make humanity monstrous?
How does Gonoril respond to Albany’s critique of her sovereignty? Which character makes the more persuasive argument and why?
What happens to Cornwall?
How does Cordelia respond to Kent’s letters?
Why does the King of France return home?
Who/what controls human fate according to Kent? How does his POV accord with his own life trajectory?
Why won’t Lear agree to see Cordelia?
How does Cordelia describe her father?
What sorts of treatments does the Doctor prescribe for Lear?
What request does Regan make of Oswald, why? And how does Oswald respond?
How does Edgar trick Gloucester? Why does he “trifle” with his father’s “despair” (20.31)? Is he successful?
What does Edgar’s description of the vista at the Dover cliffs (20.11-23) reveal about his perspective? What does the speech reveal about perspective in general?
How is Scene 20 a miniature version of the whole play?
How does Edgar describe his father’s fall? What imagery does he use to figure the fall?
Why does Edgar change character again?
When Lear reenters at 20.80, we haven’t seen him since the end of Scene 13. How has changed? What sorts of linguistic markers suggest his transformation?
In what does Lear suggest that Gloucester might, “behold the great image of authority” (20.152)?
Where does Lear think the [First] Gentleman is taking him and how does he react?
Why does Edgar lie to his dad for a second time about who he is and where he comes from? In other words, why doesn’t Edgar reveal his real identity to Gloucester?
How does Oswald react to Gloucester when he meets he and Edgar on the road? How does Edgar react?
What requests does Oswald make of Edgar just before he dies?
What does Gonoril request Edmund do in the letter that Edgar intercepts?
How does Edgar respond? How does does Gloucester?
Why doesn’t Ken change out of his disguise in Scene 21 even though Cordelia knows who he is?
How do you respond to Cordelia’s questions 21.38-34?
How do the doctor and Cordelia attempt to cure Lear? Are they successful, why/why not?
How does Lear respond to his reunion with Cordelia? Does it break your heart?
How does Edmund deal with his two girlfriends problem?
Compare the processions with which Scene 23 opens to the procession in Scene 1, and compare the two sets of Father/Child in the opening to Scene 23.
What’s Lear’s plan for life in prison with Cordelia (24.7-19)?