Confrontations Between Young and Old in Shakespeare's King Lear

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Confrontations Between Young and Old in King Lear

One of the underlying themes in Shakespeare's play, King Lear is

the concept of the generation gap. This gap is mainly illustrated between

the family. The older generation is Lear himself, and the younger

generation consists of his daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. In the

second plot of the play, Gloucester represents the older generation, and

his sons, Edmund and Edgar exemplifies the younger generation. Both

younger generations can be divided into two distinct groups. Goneril,

Regan and Edmund are the villains in both the plots and Edgar and Cordelia

are the loyal, faithful children. This little twist adds to the effect of

the generation gap in the play. There are many comparisons that can be

made and confrontations that occur between the generations. These events

contribute to the themes of authority, power and loyalty, judgment and

wisdom. Overall, it emphasizes the general themes of the generation gap.

Symbolism contributes to the themes authority and power in King

Lear. These symbols are represented by material things. For example, in

[Act 1 scene 1] when Lear is dividing up his land, power and authority to

his three daughters, depending on how much they can verbally express their

love for him. [Lines 52-53] "Which of you shall say doth love us most?

That we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merit

challenge." The land that each daughter received is the extent of their

authority and of their power in the Kingdom. For example, the Duke of

Burgundy did not wish to marry Cordelia after he found out she was getting

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...and power, loyalty, judgment and wisdom. They relate directly to

the overall rift between the generations.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bradley, A.C. "King Lear." 20Lh Century Interpretations of King Lear. Ed. Jane Adelman. New Jersev; Prentice-Hall, 1978.

Colie, Rosalie. Some Faces of King Lear. Ed. R. Colie & F.T. Flahiff. UniversitV of Toronto Press, 1994.

Curry, Walter. Shakespeare s Philosophical Patterns. London: Mass Peter Smith, 1968.

Hunter, Robert G. Criticism on Shakespeare s Tragedies.. University of Georgia Press, 1996.

Matthews, Richard. "Edmund's Redemption in King Lear". Shakespeare Quarterly. Winter, 19q5. pps. 25-29.

Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada Inc. Toronto. 1990.

Snyder, Susan. "King Lear and the Prodigal Son." Shakespeare Quarterly. Autumn 1966. pps. 361-369.

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