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Examination Questions on King Lear

Question: What is your idea of Goneril physically, intellectually, and morally?

Answer: The picture that presents itself to my mind is that of a tall, strong-looking woman, with bold black eyes, and a firm, scornful expression in the cast of the features; of a woman whose movements are quick and decided, but skilful, whose appearance indicates a man's power of endurance, a man's will, and a man's feeling of superiority, with a woman's power to hide her feelings, and to gain her ends by stratagem.

Mr. Hudson does not seem to accord to her the wisdom necessary to form complicated plots. The play leaves quite a different impression on me. Her close observation and cunning, her prompt action, and Albany's reluctance to come to an open issue with her, seem to me to indicate a peculiarly active intellect not inventive, it is true, nor imaginative, but prompt to obey the impulses of a wicked heart.

Morally, Goneril's character possesses scarcely a redeeming feature. Formed for all evil, nourished in the deceitful atmosphere of a court, deprived of the holy influence of a mother, partaking of the nature and following the example of a father whose only rule of action was his own passion, what good could we expect from such a woman ?

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How to cite this article:
Williams, Maggie. Shakespeare Examinations. Ed. William Taylor Thom, M. A. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1888. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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