Structure of a tragedy
A Shakespearian tragedy is setup as that the tragic hero experiences a conflict which ends with a catastrophe. Under the general structure the tragedy is broken up in 4 parts, the exposition, the development of the rising action, falling action, and the final resolution.
The first part sets forth the situation or state of affairs in which the conflict arises out of. The exposition lasts for the entire first act and generally well into the 2nd act. The 2 acts set the general setting, character personalities, problems, conflicts and to setup future conflicts. By the end of the 2nd act the main conflict of the play is established, who is involved in the conflict, and the emergence of the tragic hero. Often the tragic flaw of the tragic hero is already established.
The exposition in King Lear begins when Cordelia won't flatter her father like her sisters do, so he banishes her. The conflict between Cordelia and Lear is established and Goneril and Regan and Lear, and between Gloucester and Edgar. This first act also establishes the duplicitous, or treacherously twofold, nature of Goneril, Regan, and Edmund, while demonstrating that Cordelia and Edgar are good characters.
The 2nd part of the structure deals with the development of the conflict. This part of the play comprises a majority of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th acts. This part develops the complications from the problems that arise. The time and the sense of urgency are prevalent in these parts as the speed of the action intensifies. At this point the tragic hero goes against his/her supporters and alienation begins. This continues into the 5th act where the tragic hero is with his back to the wall and nowhere to go.
In King Lear, Goneril and Regan reject Lear, who begins to realize his error in judgment. At this point it’s too late to regain power as the complexity between Lear and his daughters is revealed, and the conspiracy that unites Goneril, Regan, and Edmund is established. The...