An argument to support the view that 'everything
about the play [King Lear] hangs on the first two scenes not
just the plot but the values as well.'
'King Lear, as I see it, confronts the perplexity and mystery of human
action.' (Shakespeare's Middle Tragedies, 169) As the previous quotation
from the scriptures of Maynard Mack implies, King Lear is a very complex
and intricate play which happens to be surrounded by a lot of debate. 'The
folio of 1623, which was, as is well known, edited by two of Shakespeare's
fellow actors' (Notes and Essays on Shakespeare, 242), contains not only
historical errors, but errors which pertain to certain characters speaking other
characters lines. Amidst all the controversy one fact can be settled upon by
all; King Lear is one of Shakespeare's best tragedies. While being a great
play, the bulk of the plot in King Lear comes mainly from the first two scenes
where most of the key events happen.
Along with the plot there is also
extensive amounts of setup that occur within the dialogue which key the
audience in on the morals and values of the characters. Marilyn French is
completely accurate when she states that 'Everything about the play hangs on
the first two scenes not just the plot but the values as well' (Shakespeare's
Division of Experience, 226).
The opening scenes of King Lear do an immaculate job of setting up
the plot and forming the basis for all the events which occur in the later
scenes of the play. 'The elements of that opening scene are worth pausing
over, because they seem to have been selected to bring before us precisely
such an impression of unpredictable effects lying coiled and waiting in an
apparently innocuous posture of affairs.' (Shakespeare's...