King Lear Act 1

Which 3 characters open the first scene? Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund
What do Kent and Gloucester have in common from reading the opening? They are both loyal subjects to the king
Who does the king prefer between the Duke of Albany and the Duke of Cornwall according to the opening? Kent and Gloucester used to think the king preferred the Duke of Albany, but now with the way he has divided the kingdom they can’t see any indication of favoritism
What is revealed about Edmund in the opening? That he is Gloucester’s younger and illegitimate son. Gloucester acknowledges that Edmund is a bastard. He has also been gone for 9 years and is leaving again soon
Was Kent aware that Edmund was Gloucester’s son? No
What announces the arrival of King Lear? Trumpets
Who enters with the king? The Dukes of Cornwall and Albany and also Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril
What order did Lear give Gloucester when he arrived? To go escort the lords of France and Burgundy
What was Lear’s big announcement? He was dividing his kingdom into 3 parts and he wanted to announce which daughters received what after he died
Why did Lear make this announcement? He wants to avoid the hostilities after he’s dead and he wants to enjoy a peace of mind
What did Lear use to decide how much land his daughters received? He had his daughters tell him how much they loved him
What is the order in age of the daughters from oldest to youngest? Goneril, Regan, and Corderlia
Who is Regan’s husband? The Duke of Cornwall
What was the difference in land value and area between Goneril and Regan? There was no difference
Why did Cordelia anger Lear? She didn’t drag on about how much she loved him and just kept it simple by saying she would give half her love to her husband and half her sense of duty
Who is courting Cordelia? The rulers of France and Burgundy
What was different in Regan’s speech compared to Goneril? She said that she has no joy or happiness except her love for her father
What was Lear’s response to Cordelia? He disowned her as a daughter and was very angry
Who is Goneril married to? The Duke of Albany
How does Lear divide the rest of the kingdom up? He divides it evenly between the 2 oldest daughters and their husbands.He keeps the title of king but gives the rest of the power and privileges to the Duke of Cornwall and Albany
What is Lear’s plan for visiting his daughters? He will rotate living with them month by month
What advice does Kent try to offer? He says that the king is making a rash decision and should change his mind quick. He also says that Lear is caving into flatters. He also says just because Cordelia is the most quiet of the 3 daughters it does not mean she loves her any less
What is Lear’s response to Kent? He gets angry, threatens to kill him ,swears by the gods, claims that he has never broken a vow and accuses Kent of being a traitor, so he banishes him from the kingdom and gives him 5 days to get out
What does Kent do when he leaves? He wishes good luck to Lear’s daughters in a positive way
Who enters the Scene after Kent leaves? Gloucester, the King of France, and the Duke of Burgundy
What is a dowry? A payment made to a husband by his father in law at the time of marriage. It could come in the form of land, cattle, money, or pieces of property. The richer her parents were, the bigger the dowry
Why does Burgundy decide not to marry Cordelia? Lear takes away the dowry completely and down talks her (hints that Burgundy loves money more than Cordelia)
Why does the King of France marry Cordelia still? He views her as a great person and no less valuable without the dowry and believes that she will find a better place in France than what she is giving up
How do Cordelia’s sisters respond to her saying goodbye? They tell her not to give her orders and that she deserves what she got
What do Goneril and Regan talk about once Cordelia is gone? That their father is making a bad decision by giving up Cordelia and they question his recent actions and say that he is going senile. They also think they need to wait for the right time to strike
How does Scene 2 open? Edmund enters with a letter and is talking to himself about how is he on the way up and will soon surpass his brother Edgar, and he does not see himself as a bastard.
Who is Edgar? Edmund’s older brother and Gloucester’s more legitimate son
What happens after Gloucester enters? Edmund hides the letter and Gloucester demands that Edmund hand it over to him because it must be important if Edmund put it away so quickly
What does the letter say? It is in Edgar’s handwriting and says that he is against the custom of respecting the elderly, and he wants to talk to Edmund about this issue because he could receive half of Gloucester’s revenue if Gloucester were dead
Had Edgar ever expressed these feelings to Edmund before? No, but he has argued that sons should take over their fathers’ money when they are in decline
How did Gloucester react to the letter? He reacted spontaneously because he was so shocked, and Edmund had to calm him down by telling him that he needed to find out the facts before coming to rash assumptions
How did Edmund obtain the letter? It flew in through the window
What did Edmund suggest could be the reason for Edgar writing the letter? To test Edmund’s love for his father
What did Edmund and Gloucester agree on? That Edmund would talk to Edgar tonight about the letter and let Gloucester eavesdrop so that Gloucester would know the truth for sure
What did Gloucester say about the recent eclipses of the sun and moon? That it is a bad omen because usually disaster strikes after them, and it includes family members betraying each other and civil war breaking out, and Gloucester already notices strange things happening
How does Edmund react to what Gloucester says about the bad omen from eclipses? He thinks it is idiotic that humans blame their bad actions on astronomical signs and claims that he would’ve been rude no matter what stars he was born under
What happens when Edgar enters? Edgar asked Edmund what he was thinking about so seriously and Edmund said he was thinking about what an astrologer said recently about what these eclipses mean.
What does Edmund ask Edgar about? When was the last time him and his father spoke and if their father expressed any satisfaction to him
What does Edgar claim as the reason for the letter? He said a villian has made up lies
What does Edmund suggest that Edgar do? He thinks Edgar should lay low until Gloucester calms down and that he should come home with Edmund. He handed Edgar the key and told him if he goes outside to arm himself, and he told Edgar that he would help him get through this
What does Edmund reveal at the end of the scene after Edgar is gone? That this whole thing is part of his plot to have an estate since he won’t get it by birthright, and that he plans to take advantage of his gullible father and innocent brother
What is a steward? A person responsible for running the household/estate
Who enters to start Scene 3? The steward and Oswald
Who is Goneril’s steward? Oswald
What does Oswald reveal to Goneril to start scene 3? That Lear has hit one of Lear’s attendants
What does Goneril say about her father? He constantly offends her and every hour he comes up with a new offense and reprimands them about every little detail. She said that when he comes back from hunting, she won’t speak to him
What is Goneril’s order to Oswald? To be as lazy and neglectful as possible around him, so that he will go live with Regan. She knows that Regan feels the same way about him and also says that Regan will stand her ground. She also mentions that she will take responsibility for the neglectful actions
How did Goneril want the servants to treat the knights? To make sure that they are less friendly towards them. She wants this to provoke confrontations and plans to write her sister her plans

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