Notes of Lessons: Shakespeare, Class III

Notes of Lessons: Shakespeare, Class III

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: “King Lear” • Class III • Time: 20 minutes

By M. E. Davies
The Parents’ Review, 1906, pp. 490-491


I. To further the girls’ interest in the play of “King Lear.”

II. To help the girls to realise the character of King Lear as seen in the play.

III. To draw from them what they have gathered in their previous reading of the nature of a tragedy.

IV. To increase the girls’ powers of attention and narration.


Step I.—Ask girls to narrate what they remember of Act III. Appearance of Lear on the heath; Gloucester, Kent and the Fool join him. Gloucester is taken and brought before Regan and Cornwall; latter puts out both his eyes, but is himself wounded.

Step II.—Ask girls what tragedy is, drawing as much as possible from them. Ask what the main note of this play is. Shakespeare shows us ingratitude in its most terrible form. He himself had seen so much ingratitude around that he writes this play partly to show, perhaps, what a deadly fault it is.

Step III.—Ask girls what idea of King Lear’s character they have formed, turning to passages to illustrate their points (where possible).

Step IV.—Ask girls what different types of madness we find in this play, and how it differs in each case.

Step V.—Begin reading Act IV., giving each girl a part. Ask them if they notice in the first scene anything that throws light on Gloucester’s character—his superstition:

“As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.”

(Refer also to Act I., Scene 2.)