Background Information on King Lear

Who are King Lear’s daughters? 1. Goneril (Machiavellian)2. Regan (Machiavellian)3. Cordelia (Virgilian)
Who are the Duke of GLoucester’s sons? 1. Edgar (Virgilian)2. Edmund (Machiavellian)
What is the purpose of this play? 1. To examine if virgilian piety is real; to examine what values count2. These are examined through themes of sight v. blindness and what is natural v. what is unnatural
Who are the Machiavellian characters and who are the Viriglian characters? M – Goneril, Edmund, Regan, Oswald, Duke of CornwallV – Cordelia, Kent, Fool, Edgar, and Duke of Albany
Late Middle Ages 1. 14th Century – very bad time in history2. plagues (ex: Bubonic Plague), famines, 100 years war –> 1/2 to 2/3 of the population of the world died during these centuries
Great Schism 1. 1378 – 14172. 2 men claim to be the pope based on divine right –> basically split the church3. People are very fearful of their fate because if they pick the wrong pope they will go to hell; therefore, many people take pilgrimages and turn to self-flagellation to appease God
Renaissance 1. “Rebirth” – starts in Italy because the city life setting allows them to bounce back quickly2. There is a shift to the glorification of nature; people work on practicing all of their skills3. There is an emphasis on ethics (ex: Machiavelli) –> Lear shows a conflict between old and new ideas on ethics.