Lesson Plans King Lear

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Other traits in helping to define a character are:. Character charting in a play has a few quirks. Every performance can change how a character dresses, the mannerisms used by the character, how the character is to speak, and line editing. An added complication with Shakespeare's works is that while modern plays have stage directions that can closely govern a character's characterization, Shakespeare used them sparingly, if at all.

This is great for imaginative interpretations by a company of experienced actors, but problematic for middle school students diving into Shakespeare for the first time. Teaching students how to block a scene is an important lesson they will need for this unit's final project. Costuming is a minimal factor in Shakespeare's plays. The actors would wear their finest clothes and clothes donated to them from their patrons. Many modern productions take great liberty in costuming.

As the teacher, you will have to decide how much attention you want students to put into any type of costuming. Costumes can up the "fun" factor, but impress upon students that Shakespeare didn't much concern himself with them; his attention was all on the words.

The Great Chain of Being or scala naturae Latin for natural ladder can be traced to the Ideas of the Good from the seventh book of Plato's Republic, and solidified during the Elizabethan period. The chain is the idea of the universe having an organic constitution in which all things on the earth and heavenly are arranged into a hierarchy of lowest to highest based the level of spirit contained in the entity.

Unfortunately, while the human soul strives for a higher level, human flesh is weak and sinks to the lower animal levels. The hierarchal order is governed by the amount of spirit contained within one. The higher the amount of spirit one has, the higher in the order. This places God at the top, followed by angels, stars, the moon, kings, princes, noblemen, men, lions, on down to minerals. The biggest societal and political impact of the chain is that it bestows the Divine Right of Rule on kings, meaning that their placement is sanctioned by God.

If anyone tries to usurp someone on a low level, little is disturbed, but on higher levels, natural disasters and wars ensue. Only when the breach is rectified, will peace be restored. A wonderful illustration of the chain can be viewed by searching on the Internet either under "Great Chain of Being" or "Rhetorica Christiana," which is a picture drawn of the Chain by Didacus Valades in I eagerly choose Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Lear for this unit, because there are so many unresolved issues with which to shape a sequel.

Some of the sequel options I have thought about are:. Is the Fool really gone? Is the Fool really Cordelia, as some analyses have surmised? The Fool is last in the play when he is in the hovel during the storm. His last line is "And I'll go to bed at noon," in response to Lear's line of, "So, so.

We'll go to supper i' th' morning. But it is perfectly possible to take the word as referring also to the character of the Fool. A further complication is Gloucester's letter in which he is informed of Cordelia's and France's arrival in Dover with troops. Certainly, the King of France would have a problem with his Queen wandering the countryside dressed like a fool even if she is with her father.

But can the Fool appear in a sequel as the Fool? My vote is yes. Albany—is a widower now. At the end of the play, he states that he is giving up his right to the throne, and only wants to keep the land given to him and Goneril on their wedding. What if he becomes greedier and wants the throne and all of England? Or marries someone who pushes him to want it all? Or has to take over the throne because no one else wanted it? Or just wants to meddle in political affairs? Edgar—Is he, or isn't he, the next king? Who will be his queen?

How will he find a queen? What is happening in the kingdom? What is he doing if he is not the king? Kent—He says that he has little time left, but what happens if he stays to advise? What about any children he may have? Are they eager to intervene and take over the throne? Does he have a daughter that Albany and Edgar can fight over? A son wanting power? Lear with his dying breath does say, "Do you see this? Look, her lips, Look there, look there.

Lear's attention to her lips is a referral to Act I, Scene i, where she chooses to speak of her love in simple, curt language and be silent versus the flowery untruths of her sisters. Lear finally understands her silent heart. King of France—His wife has just died—been murdered in fact. Do you think he wants revenge? Would try to claim the British throne?

Or at least some land? He certainly would not come without soldiers. Baby of Regan and Cornwall—Lear vehemently shouts to Goneril in Act I, Scene iv, lines that he wants Nature to keep her sterile, but nothing is mentioned about Regan and Cornwall not having any offspring.

King Lear by Shakespeare - Lesson 1 - English Grammar - Unacademy

So, a girl or boy, or both is plausible, and a good choice to include in a sequel. Baby of Cordelia and the King of France—Well, they are married. Could the reason France left be to take their child, the future heir to the throne, back to his kingdom? This situation could arise if Cordelia could not yet travel after the birth of their child, and owing to the need to protect the future heir to the French throne. Themes refers not to the plot, which for Lear would be: The three themes that students should be able to detect in Lear are authority versus chaos, reconciliation, and devotion.

When Lear abandons his kingdom to his two manipulative daughters, he plunges all into chaos. The end result is a war that must be fought, with no side coming out the winner. This theme reappears with Lear wandering in the storm. Nature is rebelling against the havoc wrought because of the position of the king and his mental state. Lear realizes he is powerless and only a man. The chaos theme is evident as well in the subplot of Gloucester and Edgar. Edmund, the illegitimate son, usurps the legitimate son. Finally, the eclipse foretells chaos to come, and the storm is utter chaos on Nature's and Lear's part.

Reconciliation enters the picture the moment Lear disowns Cordelia. While Lear raves and struts, Cordelia remains calm and tries to reason with Lear. Immediately she is thinking of healing versus anger. Even after she is banished, Cordelia tells Lear that even though she has lost his favor, she is better for having had it 1. Cordelia risks all to reunite with and save her father. She comes back to England with a French army to do battle with her sisters, but Lear has to learn humbleness before he can reconcile with her in order to understand how he is at fault and to understand real love.

The subplot of Gloucester and Edgar ties into this as well. Gloucester must lose his eyesight in order to see how he has wronged Edgar, and Edgar, in disguise, must wait to reveal himself to his father until he has grown as a man. While Gloucester and Edgar are not reunited on the stage, their reunion is told. An interesting side note concerning why Gloucester and Edgar are not reunited on stage is that many critics feel that such a reunion would take away from the focus of Lear's and Cordelia's reuniting.

Devotion of a parent and child is another theme. Cordelia and Edgar are identical in their love and devotion to their father no matter what transpired between them. Obeying one's parent was obligatory in this time period, and Goneril's and Regan's actions against their father would be almost inconceivable to audiences of the time. They would be considered truly evil. To access both, go to http: The motifs of the play are central ideas relayed in images—concrete, or ideas—abstract, that recur throughout the work, and contribute toward a piece's theme.

Students may wish to continue using the motifs in King Lear in their one-act plays. The two prominent motifs are madness and betrayal. Lear's descent into madness plunges all around him into chaos, but his descent finally gives him what will ultimately save his soul. Lear resurrects out of his madness, or in his madness, to understand love and the difference between what is real, and what is not. Before he was a child playing at being a king and a man. He was concerned only with his pleasures and having his way.

Lear did not concern himself about the well-being of others including his daughters and subjects.


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Madness, while utter chaos, allows him to look through the mess to find a shard of hope to cling to. His shard is realizing that, like Edmund, he "was beloved. Betrayal begins all the conflicts in the play, and ends them all, too. In the beginning, the two fathers, Lear and Gloucester, are betrayed by, in Lear's case his older daughters, and in Gloucester's case his youngest son. They continue to betray their parent by denying their father his rightful devotion and through webs of deceit.

In the end, Goneril betrays Regan, then can no longer live with the guilt and realization that Regan had won Edmund, 23 and kills herself. Edmund betrays all by ordering Cordelia and Lear killed, but upon hearing that he was loved, repents by revealing his deed in the hope that Cordelia and Lear can be saved. The audience is then betrayed because they are given the hope that Cordelia and Lear can be saved and all can end well.

Instead, Cordelia and Lear die. Again, while teaching students how to discover symbols and the way they can be used in a work is important, but they also need to know the symbols in the play in order to use them in the culminating assignment. If students are not familiar with the use of symbols in literature, explain that a symbol represents an abstract concept and will not be a material object.

A good test in deciding if something is a symbol or not is: An example is a red rose; while it is an object, if you give it to someone you love, you are using the image of a red rose to represent your feelings. Love can not be held in one's hand. The major symbols in the play are quite accessible. The most prominent symbol is blindness. Lear is unable to see the evil of Goneril and Regan. Gloucester cannot see the same in Edmund, yet Gloucester can see the truth about Goneril and Regan. While it takes Gloucester to be physically blinded in order to comprehend the truth about Edmund and Edgar, Lear must fall into madness—total denial of order, at the realization of what he is brought onto himself.

One cannot hold blindness, so it meets my informal test. Formally, it is a fault of both fathers in the play. They are unable to perceive the truth, due to their own faulty beliefs, ideals, and rigidity. Blindness, to both, is at first only a fault in their character; it becomes a fact to Gloucester at the exact moment he is gifted with the truth, and Lear loses his sanity when he is able to comprehend all. The raging storm is a physical manifestation of Lear's inner self, and of the break in the Great Chain of Being or scala naturae.

Lear has just been stripped of all his kingly trappings by Goneril and Regan. All that remains is a broken old man. This disrupts the natural order, and the highest ordering of man. Havoc results and will continue until the fissure is healed. While they are not a symbol or symbols, the play has an inordinate amount of different animals and other creatures sprinkled throughout the dialogue.

Shakespeare gives us dogs, a dragon, bears, kites, a serpent, wolves, crabs, oyster, and a snail in Act I alone. Students may wish to continue such references in their dialogue, too. I feel that the same strategies students will need to comprehend a work by Shakespeare, they also can use to write like Shakespeare. Many editions of his works include such a guide, but they are generally too erudite for my students' age group. General dialogue rules for Shakespeare's plays are: In writing their sequels, students should try to follow these rules.

The common sentence structure today is Subject, Verb, Object. George Kelly S won V the race O. Shakespeare would play with this structure, because the structure was not as set as it is today, and he was creating lines that followed a poetic pattern iambic pentameter. Our spelling today reflects, not our current pronunciation, but medieval pronunciation. This time warp effect had already occurred in Shakespeare's time. Elizabethan spelling reflected not the pronunciation of the time, but of the Middle English time period. An interesting note is that while scholars can only guess at how an Elizabethan English person spoke, they believe that the speech of a "modern stage Irishman" is very close with pronunciations like "time" spoken like "toime" and "old" like "awld.

There are three important differences in pronunciation between Shakespeare's time and ours, that if understood will help in understanding his words. The first is in where a word is accented or stressed. Today we would put the strongest stress on the first syllable in "aspect," but it is on the second if you lived in Shakespeare's time. The second is in the number of syllables, which can be fewer in number or more now.

As an example, today the word "needle" has two syllables, but in Shakespeare's time, "needle" was pronounced "neel. Another example is "villain," pronounced "vil-lay-in. The final difference in pronunciation is in puns or jokes. Today, since we often do not follow the pronunciation rules that supported Shakespeare's puns, or know much about many of the subjects such as armory and weapons, their meaning is lost without background.

Always look at the line notes for an explanation.

However, Shakespeare did not use humor only for fun. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valour As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,' Like the poor cat i' the adage? I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none. What beast was't, then, That made you break this enterprise to me?

When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place Did then adhere, and yet you would make both: They have made themselves, and that their fitness now Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this. Act IV scene i-iii Group2: Read the passages from Macbeth.

How do Goneril and Lady Macbeth compare? Cite textual evidence to support your claims. Share your response with a partner. How does Albany react to the news? Cite textual evidence to substantiate your claims. What does this suggest about her? Why does he feel this way? How is Shakespeare characterizing Kent and Edmund?

What does Kent reveal about Lear? What does this suggest about Lear? Discuss the following questions. What does she offer for this service? According to Cordelia, why has she and the French forces come to Dover? What is their purpose? What message does Regan ask Oswald to deliver to Goneril?

What does she say regarding Gloucester? What do these actions suggest about her? Why do you suppose Shakespeare chose to juxtapose these two scenes? Why has Gloucester travelled to the cliffs of Dover? What does he want to do, and why does he want to do it? What does this suggest about his character? Cite evidence from the text to substantiate your claims.

How does Edgar trick Gloucester?

AP Seminar Lesson Plans King Lear booksshouldbefree

Why does Gloucester believe him? Think-Pair-Share—Edgar says of Lear: Look with thine ears. Why does Lear run away IV. What does this action suggest about his character? Edgar kills Oswald and intercepts a letter from Goneril to Edmund. What does this letter reveal IV. What do these lines reveal about character? Why does Lear think Cordelia hates him? How does Cordelia respond? What does her response suggest about her character?

King Lear, Part II--It's All About the Play

Regarding the interpretations that we just heard, which delivery would you use if you were directing this play? Read the final lines of the scene IV. What poetic device is being used? What is Kent foreshadowing? Many of the activities encourage students to interact with each other, be creative and think "outside of the box," and ultimately grasp key concepts from the text by "doing" rather than simply studying.

Learning Objectives

Fun activities are a great way to keep students interested and engaged while still providing a deeper understanding of King Lear and its themes. Students should have a full understanding of the unit material in order to answer these questions. They often include multiple parts of the work and ask for a thorough analysis of the overall text. They nearly always require a substantial response. Essay responses are typically expected to be one or more page s and consist of multiple paragraphs, although it is possible to write answers more briefly.

These essays are designed to challenge a student's understanding of the broad points in a work, interactions among the characters, and main points and themes of the text. But, they also cover many of the other issues specific to the work and to the world today. The 60 Short Essay Questions listed in this section require a one to two sentence answer. They ask students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of King Lear by describing what they've read, rather than just recalling it. The short essay questions evaluate not only whether students have read the material, but also how well they understand and can apply it.

They require more thought than multiple choice questions, but are shorter than the essay questions. The Multiple Choice Questions in this lesson plan will test a student's recall and understanding of King Lear. Use these questions for quizzes, homework assignments or tests. The questions are broken out into sections, so they focus on specific chapters within King Lear. This allows you to test and review the book as you proceed through the unit. Typically, there are questions per chapter, act or section.

Use the Oral Reading Evaluation Form when students are reading aloud in class. Pass the forms out before you assign reading, so students will know what to expect. You can use the forms to provide general feedback on audibility, pronunciation, articulation, expression and rate of speech. You can use this form to grade students, or simply comment on their progress.

Use the Writing Evaluation Form when you're grading student essays. This will help you establish uniform criteria for grading essays even though students may be writing about different aspects of the material. By following this form you will be able to evaluate the thesis, organization, supporting arguments, paragraph transitions, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. They pull questions from the multiple choice and short essay sections, the character and object descriptions, and the chapter abstracts to create worksheets that can be used for pop quizzes, in-class assignments and homework.

Periodic homework assignments and quizzes are a great way to encourage students to stay on top of their assigned reading. They can also help you determine which concepts and ideas your class grasps and which they need more guidance on. By pulling from the different sections of the lesson plan, quizzes and homework assignments offer a comprehensive review of King Lear in manageable increments that are less substantial than a full blown test.

Use the Test Summary page to determine which pre-made test is most relevant to your students' learning styles. This lesson plan provides both full unit tests and mid-unit tests. You can choose from several tests that include differing combinations of multiple choice questions, short answer questions, short essay questions, full essay questions, character and object matching, etc.