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King Lear Study Questions

For more study questions with detailed answers, please see King Lear: Aesthetic and Textual Examination Questions and Answers.

For scene-by-scene questions and answers, please see King Lear Explained.

1) Trace the different stages of Lear's insanity. Is it true that King Lear is the tragedy of a "man going sane", as some critics suggest?

2) Discuss the role of the Fool in King Lear.

3) What is the significance of the Gloucester subplot?

4) Compare Lear's three daughters. By what means does Shakespeare deepen the contrast between Cordelia and her two sinister sisters.

5) Sketch the character of Kent. How is he similar to Lear?

6) Discuss the effect of suffering on both Lear and Gloucester.

7) Explain the irony in the deaths of Lear and Cordelia.

8) Compare the character Edmund in King Lear to the character Iago in Othello. Are their motives similar? Is one a more developed character than the other and why is this so?

9) Analyze the following quote taken from the letters of John Keats. Take a stand for or against the argument posed:
"The excellence of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate from their being in close relationship with Beauty and Truth. Examine King Lear and you will find this exemplified throughout." ("Keats in a letter to George and Thomas Keats", 1817)

How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. King Lear Study Questions. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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