Lear Activity

Please e-mail Prof. Mulready (mulreadc@newpaltz.edu) with your responses to the following questions by midnight tonight (4/6). You may do your work in a group, if you’d like. Please limit the size of your group to no more than four and include all of your names in the e-mail response. It is fine to summarize your group’s discussions in responding to the questions.

1. Watch the first twelve minutes (or so) of the play (up to about line 150 in 1.1) in this adaptation, starring Ian McKellan as Lear:


What did you see in this adaptation that you found particularly interesting? What insight did you gain to the scene that you didn’t have before seeing it?

2. At 1.1.34, Lear promises that he will “express our darker purpose” for dividing up the land and his daughter’s inheritance as he proposes. Draw specific examples from the text and explain what you think this “darker” (as in hidden) motivation is. What do you think he hopes to gain in exchange?

3. Take a close look at Edmund’s speech at the opening of 1.2. On what grounds does Edmund believe he is superior to his brother? Why is he, in the eye of the law (“curiosity of nations”), inferior to Edgar? What does he plan to do about this?

4. Are there any questions from our daily reading and discussion questions that you found particularly difficult or wanted to have clarified?


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