“Tigers not daughters”. To what extent would you agree that King Lear
reflects a patriarchal world view that seems terrified by women and
what they might represent?!
Over time critics have shown interest in the ways in which Shakespeare has represented women in
his plays. Shakespeare was seen by some to show woman as more than flat stereotype
characters, however, feminist criticism has demonstrated the misogynistic tendencies in
Shakespearian plays and the ways in which it encourages patriarchal hegemony. !
G/R have male attributes and absent mother = story reflecting world without women emphasising
lust, power, violence —> reinforces the idea of masculinity!
G/R have lust for power —> characteristic associated with hyper masculinity!
Text reflects world without Christ/hope —> nihilist ideas!
Set in pagan world yet audience = Jacobean Christians who believed daughters should respect
their fathers at all times —> “to honour your mother and father” [book of Matthew]!
Critic, Leonard Tennenhouse thinks that King Lear shows us the dangers of not following the old
ways of the patriarchal order.!
Play full of images presenting women as monstrous/inhuman !
R/G challenge stereotypical passive role by showing women as begin empowered —> thus
challenges the patriarchal society !
G/R as masculine!
Goneril speaks about the fact that she and Regan will not longer be ruled by their father. They are
now those in power, not Lear.!
G/R have a full power of speech. This is seen as a ‘fault’. According to feminist critics this is
explained in the sense that they are defying male authority.!
In Act IV Goneril and Regan are depicted as fickle and malicious in their quest for power!
Animal imagery used extensively e.g. “detested kite” (vulture) = human greed turns people into
G/R vindictive assertiveness would have been particularly shocking to a Jacobean audience as
Renaissance models of femininity required women to be...