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·      Gloucester compares himself to the bear and recognizes that he is doomed. Why would Gloucester feel that comparing himself to the bear was valid? From King Lear Act 3 scene 7

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4 years ago

Answered By Margaret W


4 years ago

Answered By Emma S

My thought is that comparing himself to a bear amidst the chaos is all about feeling like an animal as he is subject to cruelty (at one point he is captured/brutalized without trial). Perhaps this is a comment on the feeling of loss of humanity or injustice. There is a lot of animal imagery in this scene, likely to demonstrate just how "out of whack" everything is, with the chain of being (divine order) becoming upside down with treacherous "animalistic" people in power at the top, and powerful people at losing their influence at the bottom.


4 years ago

Answered By Emma S

Ooh I just found something interesting about "bear baiting" from this time period that is relevant and interesting:I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course: Gloucester here uses a metaphor derived from a chained animal being baited by dogs. Bear-baiting (in which a bear was chained to a post and attacked by dogs) was a popular sport in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This reference to a notoriously cruel sport anticipates the cruelty which he is about to suffer himself.http://crossref-it.info/textguide/king-lear/39/2855Perhaps take a look at this resource :)


4 years ago

Answered By Emma S

NOTE: Gloucester may also be referencing how these people have become animals (like dogs) - even more animal imagery :)


4 years ago

Answered By Margaret W

Gloucester’s comment “I am tied to the stake” alludes to a popular spectator sport during the Elizabethan era known as Bear & Bull Baiting, in which a bear is tied to a stake with chains, leaving it vulnerable to attack by dogs. Gloucester would feel that comparing himself to a bear is valid in this sense because, like the bear in the bloodthirsty sport of Bear and Bull Baiting, he is vulnerable to the cruel attacks of his two daughters, Regan and  Goneril as well as the Duke of Cornwall, all of whom wish to extract vengeance for what they perceive as Gloucester’s traitorous complicity in helping Lear and his followers escape to Dover when he learns that Lear’s older daughters were planning to kill him. The sadistic Cornwall avails himself of the opportunity and power to inflict pain on another being for sport without restraint or fear of retaliation, like the dogs who attack the bear. Like the spectators, he derives pleasure from the sport. Regan plucks his beard, disregarding his dignity and humanity , while Goneril behaves like a blood thirsty spectator demanding that his eyes be plucked out.  


4 years ago

Answered By Margaret W

Revised and extended argument: Gloucester’s comment “I am tied to the stake” alludes to a popular spectator sport during the Elizabethan era known as Bear & Bull Baiting, in which a bear is tied to a stake with chains, leaving it vulnerable to attack by dogs. Gloucester would feel that comparing himself to a bear is valid in this sense because, like the bear in the bloodthirsty sport of Bear and Bull Baiting, he is vulnerable to the cruel attacks of his two daughters, Regan and  Goneril as well as the Duke of Cornwall. They seek to vengeance for what they perceive as Gloucester’s traitorous complicity in helping Lear and his followers escape to Dover when he learns that Lear’s older daughters were planning to kill him. The sadistic Cornwall avails himself of the opportunity and power to inflict pain on another being for sport without restraint or fear of retaliation, like the dogs who attack the bear. Like the spectators, he derives pleasure from the sport. Regan plucks Gloucester's beard, disregarding his dignity and humanity,and demands that he be hanged while Goneril insists that his eyes be plucked out as punishment. Gloucester's comment also reveals his awareness of both this extreme response to his decision to act on behalf of Lear and the worthiness of his reason for doing so. This suggests that he recognizes how, in order to freely satisfy their destructive urges and desires, humans can lose sight of their humanity and behave like hungry and vicious animals toward other human beings as if they were the animals. Thus, in stark contrast to Cornwall and Lear's daughters' cruelty and inhumanity, Gloucester demonstrates compassion and humanity, illustrating humankind's potential for both good and evil.

 


4 years ago

Answered By Margaret W

Revised and extended argument #2: Gloucester’s comment “I am tied to the stake” alludes to a popular spectator sport during the Elizabethan era known as Bear & Bull Baiting, in which a bear is tied to a stake with chains, leaving it vulnerable to attack by dogs. Gloucester would feel that comparing himself to a bear is valid in this sense because, like the bear in the bloodthirsty sport of Bear and Bull Baiting, he is vulnerable to the cruel attacks of his two daughters, Regan and  Goneril as well as the Duke of Cornwall. They seek vengeance for what they perceive as Gloucester’s traitorous complicity in helping Lear and his followers escape to Dover when he learns that Lear’s older daughters were planning to kill him. The sadistic Cornwall avails himself of the opportunity and power to inflict pain on another being for sport without restraint or fear of retaliation, like the dogs who attack the bear. Like the spectators of this sport, he derives pleasure from partaking in and witnessing the violent spectacle of animals dominating and killing other animals. Regan plucks Gloucester's beard, disregarding his dignity and humanity,and demands that he be hanged while Goneril insists that his eyes be plucked out as punishment. Furthermore, Gloucester's comment reveals his awareness of both their immoral response to his decision to act on behalf of Lear and the moral worthiness of his personal reason for doing so. This suggests that he recognizes how, in order to freely satisfy their destructive urges and desires, humans can lose sight of their humanity and behave like hungry and vicious animals toward other human beings as if they were the animals. Thus, in stark contrast to Cornwall and Lear's daughters' cruelty and inhumanity, Gloucester demonstrates compassion and humanity, illustrating humankind's potential for both good and evil.

 


4 years ago

Answered By Margaret W

Revised and extended argument #2: Gloucester’s comment “I am tied to the stake” alludes to a popular spectator sport during the Elizabethan era known as Bear & Bull Baiting, in which a bear is tied to a stake with chains, leaving it vulnerable to attack by dogs. Gloucester would feel that comparing himself to a bear is valid in this sense because, like the bear in the bloodthirsty sport of Bear and Bull Baiting, he is vulnerable to the cruel attacks of his two daughters, Regan and  Goneril as well as the Duke of Cornwall. They seek vengeance for what they perceive as Gloucester’s traitorous complicity in helping Lear and his followers escape to Dover when he learns that Lear’s older daughters were planning to kill him. The sadistic Cornwall avails himself of the opportunity and power to inflict pain on another being for sport without restraint or fear of retaliation, like the dogs who attack the bear. Like the spectators of this sport, he derives pleasure from partaking in and witnessing the violent spectacle of power being wielded over the vulnerable and weak. Regan plucks Gloucester's beard, disregarding his dignity and humanity,and demands that he be hanged while Goneril insists that his eyes be plucked out as punishment. Furthermore, Gloucester's comment reveals his awareness of both their immoral response to his decision to act on behalf of Lear and the moral worthiness of his personal reason for doing so. This suggests that he recognizes how, in order to freely satisfy their destructive urges and desires, humans can lose sight of their humanity and behave like hungry and vicious animals toward other human beings as if they were the animals. Thus, in stark contrast to Cornwall and Lear's daughters' cruelty and inhumanity, Gloucester demonstrates compassion and humanity, illustrating humankind's potential for both good and evil.

 


4 years ago

Answered By Margaret W

The above is #3.