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Ministry of Education.

Imagery In Lear

Use your browser's find facility (eg. "Find on this page" under the "Edit" menu in Internet Explorer)or the search facility on your word processor to search for references to these words in the text of the play. 

Nothing (search for references to "nothing")

  1. Identify the important events in the play that have the word "nothing" connected to them.
  2. What kinds of "nothing" are referred to? (How many different ways can you have "nothing"?)
  3. Which characters are most often connected with the idea and what is the result of this?
  4. What is the purpose of "nothing" in the play?

Justice (search for references to "justice" and perhaps "sin")

  1. What injustices exist in the play?
  2. Can you find any evolution in Lear's ideas about justice?
  3. Does he come to a conclusion about the nature of justice?
  4. Why do you think that there are an unusually large number of references to justice at the end of the play?

Sight (search for references to "see" and to "sight")

  1. What different ways are there to "see" in the play?
  2. Summarise how the idea of sight develops or changes in relation to Lear.
  3. Summarise how the idea of sight develops or changes in relation to Gloucester.

Animal Imagery

All of the animals listed below are connected to Goneril or Regan at some stage during the play. Get students to identify who uses the imagery and what attributes it emphasises in the daughters. How well do these skills and attributes reflect the daughters' characters?

Animal Attribute Spoken by
detested kite sharp claws, predatory nature, smooth plumage, calculating killer, preys on those smaller than itself  
wild geese    
serpent (...like, gilded...)    
belly pinched wolf    
dog (obeyed in office)    

Published on: 09 Dec 2010