Definition and Explanation

  • Concept: “everything in the world has its own place”
  • No matter what you do, you cannot make your way up in the chain
  • You are all that you are born with, for the rest of your life, no matter what you do to try and change it
  • The English society depended on a certain “order”:
    • Hierarchical: The Great Chain of Being dictated everyone’s social station and standing
    • Obedience: The lower classes were to submit to the upper classes. The upper classes, in turn, were responsible for the welfare and upkeep of the lower classes.

Philosophical Perspective

  • In the Elizabethan times, everything in the universe was said to have a place in this hierarchy
  • Less spirit and more matter an object had, the lower down on the chain it was
  • Italian philosopher, Pico della Mirandola, believed human beings were capable to rise to the angel level through philosopher contemplations
  • Aristotle: thought the universe was completely perfect, so was the “Great Chain of Being”

Presented in the PlayThe-Great-Chain-of-Being

  • Lear is the King he is, a man of great power
  • Relinquishes the kingdom to his daughters, as a reward, to test their love for him
  • Lear surrounds himself with people who use him (i.e his daughters (except Cordelia) )
  • Edmund is considered low on the chain because of the circumstances that surrounds his birth
  • Father treats him poorly because of his illegitimacy
    • i.e.: King acknowledges his intent to abdicate his thrown
  • By surrendering the throne to fuel his ego he disrupts the Great Chain of Being because he is challenging the position that God has given him
  • Chaos occurs later in the play
  • Lear banishes those around him that genuinely care for him.

Profundity Scale

  • Mental -> King Lear divides his kingdom, Edgar holds onto letter to keep & attain his Father’s attention
  • Psychological -> King Lear divides his kingdom to rid himself of burdens and responsibilities
  • Philosophical -> “Greed for power”

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Jennifer
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Jennifer

What was the Chain of Being and what did it uphold?

jay
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jay

it upholds social status

Billy Joel
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Billy Joel

The “chain of being” is an illogical thought with a basic concept. There is nothing to understand with it

jeff
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jeff

ARRRGGGGHHHH This webquest is so bad what even is the chain of being

Monay
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Monay

Why do we have to do this Webquest? It doesn’t really even tell us what it upholds!!!!

skyler perry
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skyler perry

What was the Chain of Being and what did it uphold????????

Justin
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Justin

perfect

curly
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curly

someone summerize this please im not that smart

Ryan Scottdale
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Ryan Scottdale

This is hard 🙁

Anonymous
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Anonymous

this stuff makes NOOOO sense whats so ever

justin moses
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justin moses

hi this stuff is so boring

makayla
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makayla

the webquwebquest is so boring

Madie
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Madie

This was so helpful especially the king Lear plot and I am glad it included the sub plot

Rex
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Rex

hi

Camie
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Camie

thank you, this has helped everyone in my class.

N.N
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N.N

What was the chain of Being and what did it uphold? “Shakespeare web quest” This is the site the teacher gave us!

cotton ball
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cotton ball

hi don’t feel left out me either lol ………!:(

Kirk
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Kirk

thanks! Greetings from Queensland!

UNKNOWN
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UNKNOWN

hi

Paisly
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Paisly

hey!!!!!!!!!!!

reillyc
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reillyc

Thank you sir!