King Lear- Act 1 Scene 1

We begin exploring the genre of tragedy through the play King Lear. A vital part of reading any Shakespearean text is comprehension. His language is so figurative that we have to really concentrate to make head or tail of it.


Following the reading of Act 1 Scene 1, students should devise answers to the questions below and publish their responses on their personal blogs.



 Which of you shall we say doth love us most?

That we our largest bounty may extend

Where nature doth with merit challenge. 

1. What is Lear saying in this excerpt? Is he being honest about his intentions here? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

2. List Lear’s reasons for wishing to divide up his kingdom.

3. What does Cordelia say in response to Lear’s question? How does this set her apart from her sisters?

4. Lear has a bad reaction to Cordelia’s response. What does he do? What personality trait is he displaying when he does this?

5. Kent attempts to reason with Lear. It does not work. What happens to Kent as a result of this conversation and how do you think this decision will impact Lear in the future?

6. Explain what is being discussed between Regan and Goneril. How do they feel about their father? What personality traits of Lear’s stand out from this conversation? What personality traits of Regan and Goneril stand out in this conversation?

Posted by Renee Plunkett

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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