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Aesthetic and Textual Examination Questions on King Lear

1. When and in what form was King Lear first published?

2. How, according to Dowden, do we fix the order of the plays?

3. When was Lear written, and how can you establish the time?

4. Where did Shakespeare get the materials of the play?

5. How do the original stories differ in conclusion from Shakespeare's play?

6. Discuss the Fool in King Lear and his function in the play. Was he a boy or a man?

7. What do you think of Cordelia's refusal to respond to Lear's desire for flattery? And had she probably made any further choice between France and Burgundy than appears on the surface?

8. What is your idea of Goneril physically, intellectually, and morally?

9. Does Shakespeare overstep the bounds of the natural of human nature in Goneril and Regan?

10. What is your opinion of the condition of Lear's mind in the opening scene? What effect does his increasing passion seem to have upon his faculties? Discuss the character of the king.

11. What is Cordelia's influence in the play, upon the characters, and upon our estimate of them?

12. What is the view of human society in King Lear? What the conflicting principles of human nature? The causes, destructive and conservative, of the prodigious upheaval in the play?

13. What is your idea of the aim and lesson of the play?


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Cordelia and Lear, Act 5. From An Illustration of Shakespeare by Branston, 1800.