Lear’s Speech

At the beginning of the play, the first speech we see from Lear is a powerful one as it gives the audience an accurate depiction of his character.

Shakespeare shows Lear to be using ceremonial and formal language “Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester”. He discusses in this speech his “darker purpose” of how he has divided his kingdom up to then pass down to the younger generation allowing him to live out his old age peacefully “to shake all cares and business from our age”.

As the speech progresses we begin to see more of Lear’s arrogant and self indulgent ways as Shakespeare introduces Lear’s arrogance and his attention seeking manner by him asking his daughters to tell him how much they love him “Which of you shall we say doth love us most?”and whoever loves him the most will have the most fortune “That we our largest bounty may extend” by having them express their love for him, he is able to get the satisfaction he seeks- feeding into his attention seeking nature.


Lear’s Speech

King Lear – Film comparison

Looking at both versions of the “King Lear” film, the 1st one with Patrick Magee and the 2nd with Laurence Olivier, I have noticed several differences between the two versions.

  • In the 1983 with Laurence Olivier version the opening scene and setting of this film is more of a Pagan setting.
  •  In the 2nd film there was more of a build up to Lear’s entrance.
  • Lear’s character is also presented less arrogant than in Magee’s adaptation.
  • Also in the 2nd film there were different camera angles (view from above) giving the audience a different perspective.
  •  In the Laurence Olivier version, Kent is more angered and aggressive when talking to Lear about Cordelia.
  •  Cordelia in the 1983 film is depicted as more emotional in contrast to Patrick Magee’s adaptation as in the 1st film,Cordelia does not appear to be too concerned about her fathers anger being directed at her.


  • The character of Edmund in the 2nd film appears to be more evil especially in the scene where he talking about his plan to get rid of Edgar.
  • There is the music added in his scene with the letter which creates a sense of fear for the audience.
  • He also makes eye contact with the camera- looking directly into it which suggests he could be drawing the audience in as he addresses them directly.
  • Again like we see with Kent, Gloucester also appears to be more aggressive in the second film.
  • This seems to be the case with most of the characters in this version as more emotions are being conveyed.




King Lear – Film comparison

King Lear Notes

Act One : Scene 1

  • Kent and Gloucester discuss the division of the kingdom
  • Goneril and Regan profess their love for their father (at his wish as he wants to give his gift to the daughter he feels deserves it the most) they want his land and money for power.
  • His youngest daughter Cordelia wants nothing
  • Lear ‘disowns’ her
  • Kent tries to talk sense into Lear, but he will not listen.
  • He lowers the price of Cordelia “But now her price has fallen” and gives her away to the King of France.

Scene 2

  • Edmund plans to get rid of his fathers legitimate son Edgar
  • Gloucester reads the letter from ‘Edgar’
  • Edmund tells Edgar to leave as their father is very angry with him
  • Edgar leaves for his own safety

Scene 3 

  • Goneril tells her steward, Oswald that she can act as neglectfully as she chooses to Lear – to provoke confrontations.
  • She also complains to Oswald about her fathers behaviour

Scene 4

  • Kent in disguise asks to work for Lear
  • Kent trips up Oswald after overhearing the conversation between her and Goneril – showing his loyalty to Lear
  • Goneril is angry at her father for hitting her servants and for his knights treating their superiors like servants.
  • Lear leaves to go to Regan’s- he believes he will be treated better by her
  • Goneril sends Oswald to send a message to Regan, informing her of her argument with their father- informing her of his behaviour
King Lear Notes

The Elizabethan Church and Catholics

  • During the reign of Mary I, Roman Catholicism was enforced in England and Wales.
  • This changed with the accession of Elizabeth in 1558, as she was educated in to the protestant faith.
  • During the Elizabethan period, Catholicism was effectively illegal however, the Catholics were actually fined for not attending church.
  • In 1559 there was a 12 pence fine created for refusing to go to church.
  • The saying of mass or arranging for it to be said carried the death penalty.
  • Elizabeth actually tolerated the Catholics and tried to accommodate to their beliefs.
  • As long as the Catholics were loyal to the Queen and discreet about their worship-she would tolerate them.
  • The stance against the Catholics became harsher with the issuing of the Papal Bull “Regnans in Excelsis” against Elizabeth in 1570 by the new pope Pius V, which made Catholics a major threat to her.
  • Pius V, disliked Queen Elizabeth believing like all Catholics she was “illegitimate”
  • Catholics at this time believed that Mary Queen of Scots was the true Queen of the land.
  • Elizabeth was excommunicated and all her subjects were absolved from allegiance to her and her laws.
  • Elizabeth’s Catholic subjects were conflicted between loyalty to the Queen who was very much loved and respected and the Pope who they believed was God’s representative on Earth.
  • It was the Jesuit priests that suffered the most and bore the brunt of the Catholic persecution as many of them ended up being executed for treason.
  • The Jesuit priests entered England in the hope of converting the English population to Catholicism, despite their entry being prohibited in 1585 by law.
  • The English Jesuits were to be asked “The bloody question” as it is still known today, whether they would support the Pope or Queen if the Pope were to invade the country.
  • It became an act of treason to withdraw English subjects from allegiance to the Queen or her Church due to an Act passed in 1581.
  • The Elizabethan government had the genuine belief that Catholics(the Jesuits in particular) posed a serious threat to the Queen’s life and her reign.
The Elizabethan Church and Catholics

Form and Structure

In both “The Color Purple” and “The Help” there are several similarities and differences in how they are written/ the writing methods that both authors have used.

“The Color Purple” is an epistolary novel as it is written in a series of letters that are multi narrative, with each character telling their own story through their letters. “The Help” is similar in that it also has each of the women tell their stories with headings which is taking the reader to a different characters perspective each time . Also both novels are written in first person narrative which brings in bias which as the characters are talking about their opinion on their own lives. However, it is important to recognise that using the first person narrators and bringing in bias is not always reliable. This is not questioning the accuracy as such,but using bias means both writers are able to control the readers, making them feel some sympathy, especially when they are describing the abuse/ brutality that the characters in their novels are faced with.

Another similar technique by both writers is the use of dialogue/ dialect. This is important as the use of dialect gives each character their own voice. The language that both writers use makes the readers aware of how the characters change and become more educated and they are similar in how they use Southern Black dialects with broken grammar. With Celie in “The Color Purple” the importance of dialect is highlighted in the first few pages. The spelling of words reflects how the characters speak and with Celie the way in which she talks changes from the crude Southern dialect, to by the end writing in long and complex sentences.

Another similar technique that both writers use is flashbacks. The use of flashbacks allows them to reveal the truth about the society in which they live in. For example in “The Color Purple” when Celie and Shug Avery find the letters from Nettie that Mister had hidden reveals not only the truth to Celie that her sister is alive(which she until then did not know) but also reveals some truth about the patriarchal society in which they lived. Also “The Help” uses flashbacks with the black maids as they each tell the stories of their own lives revealing truth about their society where there was still a lot of racism and discrimination towards coloured people- especially the coloured women.

Overall, it seems both writers have used similar techniques and writing methods in their novels to achieve the same effects on their readers.



Form and Structure