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King Lear Questions Act 2

What does Kent say about Oswald’s character when he metaphorically claims “a tailor made thee?”
Kent believes that Oswald is dimwitted and has no character. He uses the metaphor of being “tailor-made” to express his conviction that Oswald is Goneril’s puppet and acts only according to her will.

Why does Kent attempt to dissuade Cornwall and Regan from putting him in the stocks?
As the messenger of King Lear, Kent expects to be treated with a certain degree of respect. He believes that his master, the King, will be outraged when he finds his servant in the stocks. Kent expresses his belief that putting him in the stocks is a direct offense against the King.

How does Gloucester’s response to Kent’s being put in the stocks reflect the parallel between Gloucester’s and Lear’s relationships with their children?
Gloucester defends Kent and pleads with Cornwall not to put Kent in the stocks. He is convinced that Lear will be angry once he find that his messenger has been treated with disrespect by his own daughter and her husband. Gloucester can sympathize with Lear’s potential reaction because he too, is struggling with disrespect from his children. At this point, Gloucester believes that his son Edgar is a traitor who is trying to kill his father. Due to his own experiences, Gloucester is learning to become more sensitive when it comes to parent-child relationships.

On what does Kent base his hopes for the future at the end of the scene, once he has been put in the stocks?
Kent counts on Cordelia, who, he believes has heard about the recent events in the kingdom, to avenge the treatment her father has received. He also calls on fortune and begs her to cast a friendly eye on his miserable situation.

How does the Gloucester plot continue to parallel the main plot? What does Shakespeare achieve by keeping the two plots so carefully parallel?
Gloucester puts his trust in the wrong son just as Lear trusted the wrong daughters. Gloucester’s honest and loving son is run off just as Lear banished his one honest and loving daughter. Shakespeare uses the parallel plots to remind the audience that the issues underlying all of the plot events are family relationships, both between siblings and between parents and children.

What rumor of political upheaval reaches the castle of Gloucester?
The rumor spreads that there is a growing division between the houses of Albany and Cornwall the might lead to war.

Why does Edmund injure himself to draw blood?
Edmund falsely convinces his brother Edgar that there exists a widespread suspicion that Edgar is planning to murder his father. Under the pretence of offering him assistance, Edmund presses Edgar to flee the country. He pretends to be fighting with Edgar when Gloucester enters. Once Edgar flees the scene, Edmund injures himself in order to pretend to his father that Edgar attacked him violently, injured him, and threatened to kill their father.

How does Gloucester react when he learns about Edgar’s alleged intentions to attack and murder him?
Gloucester vows to chase Edgar until the presumably unfaithful son is caught and brought to justice. He threatens to punish everyone who offers the fleeing Edgar refuge.

How does the conversation between Gloucester and Edmund, following Edgar’s escape, signal a reversal of the relationships that Edgar and Edmund have with their father?
Once Gloucester has vowed to chase and capture Edgar, he renounces Edgar as his legitimate son. Gloucester claims “I never got him,” thus denying the legitimacy of the father-son relationship. At the same time, Gloucester elevates Edmund’s status as a son by calling him “loyal and natural boy.” The roles of Edgar and Edmund are reversed arbitrarily by the angry Gloucester. Edgar loses his rights and privileges as a rightful son, whereas Edmund gains Gloucester’s respect and fatherly love.

How does Gloucester’s expression”my old hear is crack’d, is crack’d” illustrate the parallel between Gloucester and Lear when it comes to old age and their relationships with their children?
Like Lear, Gloucester is beginning to feel his approaching olg age. He has always counted on his children, and – brought on by Edmund’s evil scheme – he now fears that he has never known the true character of his children. Both Lear and Gloucester lament that their hearts are being broken at this late stage in their lives. They feel abused and taken advantage of. They feel that they deserve the love and respect of their children, and their disappointed expectations break their hearts.

What decision does Edgar make that will help him hide from the authorities that are chasing him?
Edgar disguises himself as a lunatic beggar who is roaming the countryside. he calls himself poor Tom.

How does Edgar’s statement “Edgar I nothing am” demonstrate the connection between the recurring “nothing” motif and the natural order of family relations?
Edgar sheds his former identity as the legitimate son of Gloucester. He realizes that “nothing” is left of his former life; he is merely a persecuted and falsely accused man. By calling his former identity “nothing”, Edgar demonstrates his recognition that his birthright, his legitimate birth, and the “natural” family order he has always believed in are, in fact, meaningless and amount to “nothing.” The natural order of family relations ultimately does not or cannot determine or guarantee personal relationships between human beings. Human beings must instead consider one another’s character as the foundation of a relationship.

What answer does Lear receive upon his request for admittance into the presence of Regan and Cornwall?
Regan and Cornwall refuse to see Lear when he arrives at Gloucester’s castle. They claim to be tired from their long journey.

How does Lear respond to Regan’s welcome?
Lear is angry and threatens to renounce Regan as his lawful daughter is she does not receive him properly. Once he realizes that Kent has been freed from his stocks, his disposition changes. He becomes friendly and king and entrusts Regan with information about the terrible treatment he has received from Goneril. he hopes to be treated better by Regan. Lear’s mood changes quickly, which could be an indication of his developing insanity.

How does Regan respond to Lear’s complaints about Goneril?
Regan immediately reminds Lear of his old age and claims that the elderly should be guided by their children because they are unable to make reasonable decisions on their own. She urges Lear to return to Goneril and apologize for his unreasonable demands.

Why does Lear believe that Regan will treat him with more respect than Goneril? What idea does Lear still cling to?
Lear believes that Regan will treat him with respect because he hopes that she knowns the “offices of nature, bond of childhood, effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude.” Lear still believes that Regan is bound to him based on the natural order of family relations. he insists that Regan must love him because she is his lawful child, and he expects her gratitude for the generous portion of the kingdom she has received from her father. lear has not yet learned that natural family relations do not necessarily coincide with love and respect. he must learn to look beneath the superficial level of a person’s character to see who that person really is. Family relations are no guarantee of love.

What question does Lear continue to ask that Regan will not answer?
Lear demands to know who put his messenger in the stocks.

What is Regan’s response when Lear says that he and his knights will have nothing to do with Goneril and that he plans to move to her house instead?
Regan responds by explaining that her home is not equipped to lodge him and his followers. She claims that one hundred knights are too many to house. Regan suggests that Lear should cut the number of his followers to fifty. Then she reconsiders and tells Lear to reduce his retinue to twenty-five.

What revenge does Lear swear on both of his daughters?
Lear promises to avenge himself against both Regan and Goneril. However, he is unable to formulate a precise plan for his revenge. he vows to do “terrible things,” yet he is unsure what exactly he will do. Lear is beginning to realize that he has no more power and cannot reclaim his authority and possessions. Essentially, there is nothing he can do to revenge his daughters. Lear fears that he is losing his mind because of the horrible treatment he has received.

What makes the sisters’ actions at the end of this act seem particularly cruel?
A violent storm is approaching and Regan and Goneril retreat into the castle. However, they claim that the house is too small to house Lear and his followers. They instruct Lear to lock the gate and leave Lear outside, left to fend for himself in the ensuing storm. The daughters seem especially cruel in this scene because they display no emotion at the thought of their old father spending the night in the rain. They claim that Lear has brought the situation upon himself.

What two events signal the end of Lear’s status as king and father?
First, Lear kneels to beg his daughter for protection. A king would never kneelin supplication to a subject and a father that would never kneel in supplication to a daughter. Secondly, the daughters whittle away Lear;s retinue until he is a man alone with no servant, no status. no authority, and apparently no loved ones.

What does the storm represent in this scene and the scenes that follow?
The storm represents both the turbulence in Lear’s own mind and the fact that the natural order has been upset (remember the strange weather the night before Julius Caesar’s assassination, and the reported weather the night of Duncan’s murder in Macbeth). The king has abandoned his rightful post. Daughters have unnaturally betrayed their father and nearly stripped him of his humanity (“reason not the need…”). A son is likewise plotting against his father and brother, and a bastard son is being preferred to the legitimate son. There is much disorder in the universe, and this is reflected in the storm.

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Hi, I am Sara from Studymoose

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