The characters in King Lear show that humans will ultimately fall to…
The characters in King Lear show that humans will ultimately fall to negative attributes
Character & Main Trait/Fault
Does not rely on God or religion
Mocks gods: “Now, gods, stand up for bastards,” (1.2.22).
Wants to challenge fate, fails
"Tis true./ The wheel is come full circle. I am here.” (5.3.208-209)
Rebellious, cocky and strong willed
Love triangle with sisters, treats it as a game
"To both these sisters have I sworn my love;
Each jealous of the other, as the stung
Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take?
Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoy'd,
If both remain alive." (5.1.91)
Persistent and persuasive
Deceiving, manipulative behaviour
Trying to escape natural order - trying to gain power
Edmund is affected by society’s view on bastards
Right of succession: oldest, legitimate son inherits everything
Shares similarities to sisters
Connections to Literature
Use of evil and negativity to get ahead
Explored with Lady Macbeth
Desire for her husband to have power
Goneril and Regan, parallel to Edmund with negative impact to fathers
Desire for power
Trying to climb the social rankings
Strong character traits. Cordelia is stubborn to a fault
Contrast of the very best and the very worse in human nature
What other "evil" characters share the trait of ambition?
Desire for love and attention:
Struggles with familial love
Edmund vs. Edgar/Gloucester - Power Struggle/Familial Conflict
Idea of love and lust, attention and adoration
Goneril and Regan, negative outcome
Jealousy of social rank/status
Leads to manipulation and Edgar's running away and hiding
Ending question: Is Edmund at fault for displaying negative attributes, or has society shaped him this way?
Initial Question: How did Edmund's actions affect others around him?
Ambition: a striving for honour and
Chaotic behaviour, going to extremes for attention and regonition
Impact on social life and behaviour
Violent, no remorse
How does this social isolation impact his character? Does it influence his actions?
Advantages and Disadvantages of Ambition
Ambition separates us one from another. It is dreams of greatness.
Requires discipline to achieve goals (personal and social)
Ambition is about controlling our own destiny
The outcome of ambition is unpredictable. Some ambitions contain selflessness, others selfishness
Ambition causes rivals. An ambitious person may see the world as a battle
Ambitious people may achieve their goals through corruption and manipulation
Ending question: Are the advantages of ambition worth the disadvantages?
Why do you believe the church was against ambition?
Ambition, a History: From Vice to Virtue by William Casey King
Ambition was correlated with the deadly sins of avarice and pride
“Ambition was defined as ‘the unlawful and restless desire in men to be of higher estate than God hath given or appointed unto them’; it was associated with Satan, madness, damnation, and sin” (King, 46).
Do you believe that ambition is a vice or a virtue?
Book about how ambition was seen only with a harmful outcome to a beneficial one
Rectangles: Discussion Questions