Akira Kurosawa's RAN, opening scene
(Victor thanks for retrieving the DVD)
Why is King Lear dividing his kingdom?
How will what he has done affect those close to him?
Write paragraph answers to these questions, using citations from the play
1. Why do Glouster, Kent, and Edmund start the play, and what information is exchanged between Glouster and Kent before King Lear's entrance? 2. How does King Lear address (talk to) each of those gathered before, during, and after he divides his kingdom? (Please notice his use of the imperial pronouns "we," "our," and "us.") Use citations from the play. 3. Why are Cordelia's asides before she addresses her father so important? Why does Shakespeare these asides so early in his play? 4. Why do you think Cordelia, who knows and loves her father, refuses to deliver the speech he expects from her? 5. How and why does Kent address King Lear? What do you think of what he says? What do you think of how King Lear responds to what he says to him? 6. Why do neither Regan nor Goneril speak up for their sister Cordelia? How do they feel about what their father has done to both their sister and to Kent? 7. Why do you think the Duke of Burgandy and the King of France are not present at the beginning of this scene? When Gloucester brings them into the room he introduces them by saying, "Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord." Why do you think King Lear address them in reverse order? He speaks to Burgundy first. 8. How do the Duke of Burgandy and the King Of France respond to King Lear both disowning Cordelia and withdrawing Cordelia's dowry? 9. What similarities exist in Kent's and the King of France's words regarding Cordelia? 10. What contrasting views of Cordelia are expressed by the two monarchs on stage (King Lear and the King of France), and how is this so sadly ironic? 11. Why do or don't you think Cordelia won the man she wanted? How can you detect this? Explain do or don't you think King Lear is aware of Cordelia's victory or failure. 12. Although this is drama is set in pre-Christian times (for Britain), what words of importance to Christian dogma are spoken with reference to Cordelia? 13. By disinheriting and disowning his youngest daughter and by forcing Kent into permanent exile, in effect, what has King Lear done to himself? 14. Why do you think the word "nothing" in repeatedly used in the first scene? Of what importance or ironic significance does this word have?f 15. How does Shakespeare characterize King Lear in this scene, as a king, as a father, and as a man? NOW READ THE NEXT SCENE AND THEN COMMENT ABOUT IT ON OUR BLOG.
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