How have different productions explored the theme of power in "King Lear? For this question, we had 10 minutes at the beginning of the exam to write down notes on the question paper, from 'study notes' we had prepared earlier. We then had the next 40 minutes to write the essay, referring only to the notes on the question paper.

The struggle for power is the essential, basic theme in William Shakespeare's "King Lear". This theme can be viewed through Lear's loss of power, the role of women in a patriarchal society and social power. Through a multitude of critical analysis and interpretations, over the course of history, "King Lear" has been produced under difference social and cultural contexts.

Lear's development in the play arises from his loss of pride and arrogance and a gain in self-knowledge and a perceptive insight into the inner workings of his society. Carl Jung analyses this change in character as the loss of one's persona, or public image, and the gaining of the shadow, the side of the self least exhibited in public. Jung believed that the main aim in one's life was to discover oneself.

And this is certainly true in the play, highlighted by Lear's initial pride: "Come not between the dragon and his wrath," and his insight gained during the storm: 'The king falls from bias of nature'. Lear no longer acts like his previous nature, and in actual fact has become more powerful as a human being.

The storm scenes are a clear example of how Lear's character develops from one of pride to one of understanding, and the sustained symbolism of the storm likens the physical tempest of the weather to the inner turmoil suffered by Lear.

Many productions have tried to dramatise the development of Lear in the play, all different according to technological advantages and social circumstances. The Harlos production portrays Lear as a strong, dominating figure who wears a black suit at the beginning of the play. But during the storm scene, Lear, played by David Ritchie, removes more and more of his clothes as he realises how he has failed as a king.

The Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production, directed by Benjamin Winspear, used modern technology to portray Lear's inner turmoil, and hence his loss of power. The sound scape used in the STC production is mostly high frequency sounds and bizarre sound effects, which characterise the madness and insanity going through Lear's head. In both the Harlos and STC productions, it is evident that Lear's loss in power is an integral focus of the play.