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 …
…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.