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Lear: Act One Scene One

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King Lear’s first scene is notable in its length and structure. At over 300 lines, with more characters on stage than in all but the last scene of the play, and being divided into three sub-scenes, this first scene is almost a play in itself.

It begins, as do so many of Shakespeare’s plays,
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Blind Fortune

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In The Merchant of Venice (2.1.23) the Prince of Morocco introduces the theme of blind Fortune, which plays in the fate of Antonio’s merchandise on the seas. It also plays into the question of being born a Christian or a Jew, fair-skinned or dark hued. The theme of fortune is also central to As You Like It (1.2.31),
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Status of Women

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Celia and Rosalind engage in an intellectual discourse on questions that might today be expressed as: “Is it better to be born talented or lucky?”, “Is it our genetic code or our environment that most shapes us?”, “Are women by nature or by misfortune disadvantaged in their status compared with men?” When Celia and Rosalind use the word natural, as in “Nature’s natural”
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Let us sit and mock the good huswife Fortune

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Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune
from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be
bestowed equally.Personification

I would we could do so, for her benefits are
mightily misplaced, and the bountiful blind woman
doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
‘Tis true,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 31

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Connected Notes:
Status of Women, Blind Fortune