Planning the King Lear
a website by Greg Smith
- Relevant links
- Paula's eulogy
- Shakespeare's eulogies
- King Richard III eulogy
- Jonson's eulogy of Shakespeare
- Pericles' Funeral Oration
- Eulogy for Nehru
- Earl Spenser's eulogy for Diana:
- . . . Diana
was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All
over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard-bearer
for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a truly British girl who
transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility who was
classless, who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title
to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.
- Today is our chance to say "thank you" for
the way you brightened our lives, even though God granted you but half
a life. . . .
Cordelia about Lear:
love, pity, regret, not fear or favour, truth will win in the end,
point of balance.
Edmund about Edgar:
hatred, ambition, thrill of the hunt, bullying, successful,
Gloucester about Edgar:
father for wronged son, seeks forgivenesss, ........
Lear for Cordelia:
father for wronged daughter, regret, seeks forgiveness, .....
1. Choose your character well. Your own mannerisms
and temperament could suggest a role to assume. You need to relate
emotionally to your choice.
2. What is your objective? What is the simple
overall message you bring? What emotions are to be evoked? What
emotions would be inappropriate? What vocabulary is
3. Structuring your Eulogy
It should be a good mix of exposition and in praise of the
character's actions, attitudes and emotions.
4. Devices in your eulogy:
word choice (diction), metaphor, rhetorical
questions, repetition for effect, hyperbole.
Include: a measure of his worth, plot our own
grief and situation now without him, how he has affected us all, a
Tribute to the eulogised, stress key words, move from the general to
the personal (inverse pyramid), assess significance of the death to
us as a community, significance of his life in history, a farewell
Bidding to the deceased.
5. Rehearsing your Eulogy
- Script your performance. Double space so you can
insert signs for emphasis, gestures, pauses, changes of emotion, use of
- Edit and re-edit ensuring that you meet your
- Rehearse gestures and postures.
- Make sure your eulogy is vocally strong. Mark in
pauses and emphases.
- Rehearse it at different paces. Lift the pitch
and/or volume on particular words.
- Learn your lines thoroughly. Be able to
extemporise if memory fails.
If quoting some lines from the play, have the words exact.
- Further advice
- Write in modern prose not Shakespearian.
- Avoid merely recounting the events of the play; we have all lived
through them too.
- Speak mainly in the plural; speak for the assembled Court.
- This is not the time for scoring points or justifying your
attitudes or actions. This would put the focus on you not the eulogised
one. No parting shots.
- Beware of inventing stories outside the play. Likely or probable
incidents like Cordelia playing hide and seek in the throne room as a
little girl in happier days might be recounted briefly by Kent but
avoid fantasy: Lear being militaristic and granting higher pay rates
for foot soldiers, etc.
- Is it mawkish perhaps to speak to the body in the casket on our
- A possible structure for the Eulogy
© G. Smith
In Albany's Royal Court
My friends, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss
Lords and ladies, we are gathered here today to mourn the
loss of ..
Your relationship to the deceased
As his loving grandson, I have the honour to speak here
today on your behalf and on behalf of our family.
As his loyal physician, I am privileged to be asked to
deliver this eulogy.
Plot events to his end
Grandad had been sick for a long time; he sensed his own
end was near.
Our beloved liege Lord, King Lear, was beset by may
Plot the course of our grief
Like you, I too felt helpless when visiting him lying in
St. Hugh's . . .
I watched him suffer needlessly at the hands of his
rejecting daughters, unbelieving that they could be so ungrateful .....
In praise of the personage
Papa was someone we will never forget. It was his
tenderness, his trust and his ready acceptance that endeared him to us
all. . . .
For all his faults, Lear will be remembered by us as a
great King. Before he passed on, he came to regret his foolish
abjurations and banishment of ..
So now for the last time we bid you farewell, Papa.
Please join with me in finally bidding our dear Lear
farewell. May the gods treat him well and may that essentially
goodness, sometimes hidden from us, sustain him in the blessed abodes
he goes to. Amen.
- In summary, these are the steps for writing a eulogy:
- I. Be yourself.
- II. Write your eulogy as clearly and understandably as
- III. Write about the memories you had.
- IV. Write about memories that the audience can remember.
- V. Get the audience involved with what you are saying.
- VI. Speak clearly to your audience.
- VII. Think positively when you write about the person.
- VIII. Insert some humor into the eulogy (jokes, quotes,
- IX. Make the eulogy memorable.
- X. Read your eulogy as though you are talking to a friend.
- Source: http://www.sarasota.k12.fl.us/bhs/bryan/bryan_eulogy2.html
- When I think of Mary Helen Holland, also known to me as Grandma,
I think of learning, laughter and love.
- Now all of the felicitous times are just a big barrier of
memories surrounding my heart.
- I can remember doing puzzles with my Grandma. The table she'd use
came up to my chin when I was first interested in the
- concept of putting pieces of colorful cardboard together. When we
had finished forming all the pieces together, I was in pure fascination
of how beautiful the picture was that the pieces had formed.
- One time my family bought my Grandma a puzzle containing five
thousand pieces. She worked on it (which took a lot of time) but
eventually finished it. Grandma even made it into her city's newspaper
about her puzzle. It made me feel that
- Grandma was famous. After she was done with it, she glued it
together and stored it away underneath my Grandpa's bed.
- Let me say to you that this puzzle had faces on it of people all
over the world. Grandpa really enjoyed having a hundred faces looking
at him during the night. "All the world is looking at me," he'd say.
- Grandma taught me how to swim; she was a lap swimmer. When I grew
up my cousins, my sister and I taught her how to do a bomb into the
water. I bet she was the only Grandma in the world to do that.
- Grandma once popped one of my rafts by jumping on it. Remember
that, Mom? You popped the other one.
- Grandma was involved in so many groups, clubs and activities; she
was very popular. But it was time for God to take her.
- I can see her right now: laughing, talking and probably even
doing the Charleston with her new and old friends in heaven.
- Grandma now is in charge of watching out over us. And in spirit
she joins us today.
- Grandma is like a ray sunshine. She helps light the way. She
keeps us warm and comfortable. She cradles us with her warm arms.
- Grandma gave me so much wisdom; she was the smartest lady I ever
knew. She had class and loyalty, courtesy and honor.
- Grandma beat me in Monopoly every time--her iron got all the good
properties. She taught me how to cross stitch. She let my sister and I
have a fashion show using all of her clothes and accessories.
- We would model and pretend that we were cover girls. We were
covered in all of Grandma's things.
- Grandma had everything.
- Grandma also dressed up as a lot of things: an Easter Bunny, Mrs.
Claus, a witch, even a fairy.
- When I was little, I remember getting my toes sprinkled with my
Grandma's "magic powder" before each fairy hunt we used to have.
- I am so lucky I had this classy lady as a Grandma. She was a gift
from God to my family but now she is a gift to God.
- Whenever I feel the sun's rays upon my shoulders, I will always
know that Grandma is holding me in her own special way, keeping me
warm. God, take care of her up there, and Grandma--don't cause too much
mischief. I will miss you very much, Grandma. You are a ray of
sunshine--the way you've touched everyone's lives. Take care and keep
on shining. I love you very much.
- Amy C. Stumbo
- Warriner, John. Holt High School Handbook.
Orlando: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1995.
Return to Lear
- Return to English
Devised 17 April 1999 by G.
Smith Brisbane Australia.Last checked/edited
10 May 2012.