King Lear

The Younger Generation in King Lear 12th Grade

A key motivator to the horrific violence and machiavellian betrayal that is present in King Lear is inter generational rivalry. In modern England the older generation held power and authority over the young, yet in Shakespeare’s Jacobean tragedy one can see the younger generation, led by Goneril, Regan and Edmund through their attempts to seize power, and overturn the natural order. Contrastingly one too can also see representations of the younger generation being far less subversive, with even some characters in the younger generation being characterised by their quest to preserve the natural order and prevent further destruction to the status quo.

Goneril and Regan, two members of the younger generation can be read as highly subversive characters characterised by their threatening autocratic personas. This is something introduced in the very first scene of the play with the sisters deceiving Lear with ‘glib and oily art’ in the highly public ceremony before confirming to ‘hit together’ in a private duologue, a sign of the viciousness which shall characterise them till their deaths in scene V. A key example of the ruthless behaviour used by the sisters to destroy the status quo is in Act 4 with Goneril discovering that her...

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