Comparison of King Lear Openeing Scenes 

Both Lawrence Oliverai’s adaptation and Patrick McGee’s adaptation of the play King Lear by William Shakespeare are both valid, However they are both very different. 

Firstly the Lawrence Oliverai adaptation begins with the film set outside in the court whereas McGee’s adaptation is set in the dining room of the castle. This shows the difference between the directors as Oliverai’s adaptation shows more of a Pagan feel to the film as it is not a bright and clothing is very simple and plain unlike McGee’s version they are seen to be extravagant. 

Also in Oliverai’s version of the play there is more use of sounds for example the entrance of King Lear the horns are used a lot which suggests the Pagan feel again as they used music to express themselves unlike the McGee version there is not a lot of sound used. 

Furthermore, in Oliverai’s adaptation King Lear enters with Cordelia next to him whereas in McGee’s adaptation they do not which shows them not to be as close as what we originally thought. 

In addition Oliverai’s version of King Lear is shown to be more extravagant in the acting as Cordelia exaggerates her emotions when her father banishes her, unlike in McGee’s version she does not seem so much bothered as she just walks off without showing her emotions to the audience. 

Finally, in Oliverai’s adaptation King Lear is shown to be weak which is suggested when her goes to kill Kent with his sword but is unable to pick it up on his own as his guards have to help him hold it up, whereas in McGee’s adaptation King Lear is only shown to be weak away from the other characters when he is alone on the Heath mainly expressing his emotions fully. 

Overall both adaptations of the play King Lear capture different aspects of each character and they also capture different aspects of when the play was written as Oliverai’s adaptation is shown to have more paganism than the other. 

Comparison of King Lear Openeing Scenes 

King Lear notes -video

  • Kent in stocks – by Regan/Goneril 
  • Edgar has left – gone to the Heath – disguises himself
  • Lear finds out what Regan and Goneril have got planned 
  • Lear also leaves to the Heath with Kent and the fool
  • Lear has a mental breakdown 
  • Gloucester finds Lear and says he is going to have him taken to Dover where he will be shipped to France to live with Cordelia 
  • Regan and Cornwall find out Gloucester helped her father so they gauge his eyes out – left blind 
  • Gloucester goes back to the Heath and attempts to commit suicide – Edgar stops him 
  • Lear, Gloucester, Kent and fool find Cordelia 
  • Albany realises how evil his wife Goneril is and turns against her 
King Lear notes -video

King Lear notes – video

  • Daughters trying to take their fathers money/ land  (Goneril and Regan)
  • Lear asks Cordelia what she wants and she says nothing – happy the way she is 
  • Kent tries to talk sense into Lear 
  • France and Burgundy enter 
  • France agreed to take Cordelia 
  • Goneril and Regan discuss their fathers fortune – asks eachother how long he has left to live 
  • Edmund recieves a letter from Edgar and finds out they are brothers (Edmund is Gloucesters illegitimate son)
  • Gloucester finds out and leaves Edmund to go and find Edgar 
King Lear notes – video

Elizabethan Europe

  • Sixteenth century
  • America – “land for adventurers and explorers” – newly discovered
  • Most important person – Pope – great influence not only on the Catholics but also the Protestants
  • Catholicism – dominant
  • Powerful ruler – Philip ll of Spain – owned lands in America – source of wealth
  • Spain could be seen as being “the most powerful country in Europe, if not the world”
  • Philip did not hold good relations with near by countries for example the conflict with France that had been constant over the years
  • Not only with conflict in France but now with Elizabeth
  • William Cecil had a major role within this period as he was the Queens chief minister 
  • England and Spain – war – 1585 – after many years of secret conflict between them both 
  • Philip lll continued war – father died 
  • France – troubled time during Elizabeth’s reign 
  • “France was on the verge of rivalling Spain as the dominant power”
  • Mary Queen of Scots was seen as a major threat to Queen Elizabeth 
  • England – vulnerable-attack or an invasion from not only France but also Scotland 
  • Scotland was seen as being a troubled land as there was many issues under reign 
  • France – opposition from their own people within the country 
  • “Wars of religion”
  • France was now seen as being Catholic – Protestants however were not happy and therefore it ended with the ‘Massacre of St Bartholomews Eve’ – “roads ran with their blood”
  • France and England tried to form a partnership where they would help eachother out of trouble – save them from Spain 
  • Holy Roman Empire – land of lots of provinces and they all had their own ruler – Germany, Austria and Poland 
  • Scandinavian countries – monarchies – Sweden (Protestant country) and Denmark 
  • Norway – Danish rule 
  • Ottoman Empire – threat to Christian Europe – invaded and occupied land over many years – government was corrupt 
  • Battle of Lepanto – 1571 – “turning point in European history”
  • Russia – Tsar ruled and was friendly with Elizabeth 
  • European trade was centred in the Netherlands – rebellion broke out – moved to London – Netherlandian Protestants moved to London and brought “craftsmanship skills” with them and helped the English learn new things – beginning of something new 
Elizabethan Europe

Feminist Reading – ‘The Help’

‘The Help’ can also be shown to have feminist readings; this is due to the black women in society being less human than the men in society – shown that women are at the mercy of the men which can be seen through Minny and Lancelot’s marriage – he beats her up – women were used to this. This therefore can show a parallel between ‘The Color Purple’ and Celie and Mr’s marriage.

Another way that this novel can be shown to have a feminist reading is due to the character of Skeeter – shown to be independent and therefore does what she feels is best within her society meaning that she doesn’t listen to others around her especially men. Skeeter is very much independent as she publishes the black maid’s stories so she can show her society that she doesn’t follow the norms. Skeeter can also be shown to be an alternative to marriage therefore relates with the character of Shug Avery from ‘The Color Purple’.

Around the time in which the novel is based on 1960s America, women were shown to be fighting for the vote through the Suffragettes. The right to vote was a major step up in society for women and this idea can further be shown through the character of Skeeter.

Feminist Reading – ‘The Help’

Feminist Reading – ‘The Color Purple’

‘The Color Purple’ can be shown to have feminist readings due to the matriarchal society in which Celie and her family live in. In the novel women are shown to be less human than men and this is especially shown through the black women. Therefore this introduces the idea that the women are at the mercy of the men which suggests that the men in society have all control over the women and they can’t do anything about this, which can be shown through “start to choke me”, this is suggesting that Celie’s step father is abusive and she can’t do anything about it – she just has to get used to it and live with it.

Women are also shown to be less human than men in society when Celie is beaten because Mr believed that she looked at a boy in church which suggests that women were abused by most male figures in their lives. Women were abused from an early age sexually.

When Shug Avery is introduced in the novel she is shown to be the feminist character of the novel as she has more control over the men around her in society. She is shown to be an independent woman as she doesn’t need a man to succeed as a successful singer etc. Mr also will do whatever she wants as he still loves her from past experiences.

Feminist Reading – ‘The Color Purple’


Both novels ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett and ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker are similar in their form and structure and they use flashbacks to reveal the truths about the society in which they are living. 

‘The Color Purple’ is an epistolary novel meaning it is full of letters. However this novel is not in a chronological order as Mr hid the letters from Nettie to her sister Celie throughout the years which made Celie believe that her sister was dead. The novel is written in a multi narrative way as there is many voices telling each if there stories which is similar to ‘The Help’ as the black maids each have a section to portray their stories about the society in which they are living. 

Also both novels are mainly first person narratives meaning that they are not necessarily the whole truth as it could suggest a sense of bias meaning that fully reliable. However this can not change the view or opinion of the reader as the issues within the novels can be seen to be the whole truth from other sources at that time. 

Mainly ‘The Color Purple’ controls the readers sympathy especially through the abuse of Celie by her step father and then Mr. However ‘The Help’ also controls the readers sympathy, this can be shown through the characters of Minny and her husband Lancelot as she also gets beaten up. This was a major issue during the times in which the novels were written as women were seen as being lower than men – especially black women. 

Overall both ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘The Help’ are similar in the way their form and structure is set out within each novel.