Questions and Answers

King Lear by William Shakespeare (Part 1)


  1. King Lear has the most highly developed "double plot" of any of Shakespeare's plays. Explain some of the functions of the second plot.
  2. What dramatic functions are served in the play by the character of the Fool?

My Response:

1. The second plot involving Gloucester, Edmund, and Edgar serves as a foil to the main plot. It shows the effects of giving into flattery and unwarranted trust in a more physical way than in the main plot. Gloucester's eyes are gouged out (i.e. being physically "blinded"), mirroring King Lear's blinding stemming from deception and his mental illness. It helps to foreshadow what is to come as this scene comes rather early in the play and outcome of this second plot was more obvious than in the main plot.


I thought I did well on this quiz. The question (2) seemed straight forward, so it didn't require that much effort, but I still got a check plus as a grade, and my professor even wrote "good" next to my sentence about the parallel between physical and metaphorical blindness. For this class, I thought we were going to be going over Don Quixote, so I didn't even bring my copy of King Lear; I was proud of myself for remembering the character's names. (That's why I unnecessarily included them in the first sentence.)

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