How does Shakespeare present the character of King Lear in Act 1 scene1?.
Shakespeare presents a complex materialistic character from the beginning of this non-fictional novel. We can study different aspects of his character through looking at theses three incidents, the dividing of the kingdom, the reach for the sword and Cordelia's banishment. You can also learn about opinions of him through Goneril and Regan who are more than willing to compete for their father's affection. I will study the language and structure Shakespeare uses to present the character of King Lear in the opening scene.
The ageing King Lear with no wife, no son and only three daughters intends to divide his kingdom in accordance with the daughter that can profess her love the most winning the larger amount of land. Ironically though, King Lear has already divided the land into three parts on a map, which he uses as a prop during the opening moments. The daughters feel he is vain, for he talks to himself as the royal 'we,' shallow and even insecure, as no daughter should have to declare there love in order to gain there fathers attention and respect.
Lear is an irresponsible father as through competitiveness he divides his daughters bonds and builds on a rivalry. King Lear favours Cordellia, whom has a wealthy dowry if she marries either the King of France or the Duke of Burgundy and is the kinder of the daughters. Lear is superficial, as though he truly cares for his daughter his affection is not apparent when he looses his temper with her and demands that she 'Speak' and declare her love. He allows her plenty of opportunities to talk of her love but she cannot say how she truly feels for him because love is physical and should not be used as a tool to impress.
Shakespeare presents a pitiful character whose selfish antics result in the loss of his favourite daughter, he shows no paternal affection towards Goneril and Regan and reveals in front of them that he loved Cordelia the most.