Relationships in Act1 'King Lear'

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How does Shakespeare position the audience’s perception of the intense human relationships in Act 1 Scene 1 of ‘King Lear’? The first act of ‘The Tragedy of King Lear’ creates a basic structure of relationships between the characters which is quickly built upon using language, well developed personalities and (self inflicted) situations which pressurise them in order to intensify the relationships and position the audience’s perspective. Shakespeare expertly crafts language and universal themes such as that of family disputes to address the audience and position their views. The character of King Lear first creates an intense situation when he demands his three daughters quantify how much they love him in order to win themselves a grand portion of his kingdom. While the eldest daughters, Regan and Goneril, falsely declare endless love which allows them no other joy but their father – and in return receive one third of his lavish kingdom – Cordelia honestly relays that she has ‘nothing’ to say, and upon further persuasion maintains ‘I love you according to my bond; no more, no less’. This angers Lear, who leaves her none of the kingdom and refuses to accept the value of the honesty of Cordelia’s reply over the lies which constitute his other daughters’ replies, despite advice from loyal servants. Lear insists he ‘have no such daughter’ after this response; a very intense reaction to her simple insistence not to spin lies to afford personal gain. This portrayal of family relationships positions the audience to empathise with Cordelia’s quiet but genuine love because we are exposed to thoughts in sidenotes which the rest of the characters can’t hear, such as ‘my love’s more ponderous than my tongue’ which explains her idea of love to the audience – an idea which opposes her father’s. Unlike Lear, Shakespeare positions the audience to realise the calculated nature

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