King Lear Literary Analysis

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To Die Laughing
(A discussion of the differences between a Shakespearean comedy and tragedy using Shakespeare’s plays, King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing) “The mood of tragedy preserves our ambiguous and paradoxical feeling about death; it is inevitable and always happens, and yet, when it does happen, it carries with it some sense of the unnatural and premature” (Frye). Shakespeare is famous for both his tragic and comical plays, despite how vastly different they are. Majority of the modern take of tragedy follow some of the same principles as Shakespeare’s plays follow, however they lack the depth in their plot. The sad movies that people are used to watching today typically follow some plot where there is a major conflict, whether it
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King Lear has grown old, so the play opens with him and his three daughters standing around the map. The king plans to give chunks of his kingdom to his daughters based upon which of them will profess the most love to him. “Meantime, we shall express our darker purpose. Give me the map there. Know we have divided in three our kingdom” (Lear Act 1:1 lines 37-40). Lear wants his daughters to fill his pride by having his daughters tell him how much they love him, even if they are lying. This sense of pride is Lear’s tragic flaw and it will eventually lead him to his own demise. As the play progresses, King Lear will succumb to madness as he slowly realizes he was selfish and gave credit to the wrong daughters. Chin-Yi, a scholar at the National University of Singapore states “Madness thus paradoxically comes with insight, it is only in madness that Lear apprehends the truth, while in sanity he had been blind to the superficial flatteries of Goneril and Regan” (Chin-Yi). This is very true, as King Lear appears to show his first signs of madness upon being treated poorly by Goneril and Regan. Eventually Lear ends up with Cordelia, however he also ends up dying because of the prideful decision he made at the beginning of the play. The method to Shakespeare’s madness, so to speak, is that the main character of a tragedy must have some sort…show more content…
Every Shakespeare play ends with tying up majority of the loose ends, whether it be a new king to run Denmark or a marriage between two people who belong together. Majority of the comedic plays start with some small issues here and there and end with a celebration or marriage that essentially resolves all of the issues. In the play, Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedict get married as well as Claudio and Hero, and the wedding is one key way to identify the play as a comedy. The significance of the wedding at the end is emphasized in the play when Benedict tells Prince Don Pedro to get himself a wife, as he sees that as the only key to happiness. “Prince, thou art sad. Get thee a wife, get thee a wife! There is no stuff more reverent than one tipp’d with horn” (Much Ado Act 5:4 lines 97-98). It interesting how the coming together of two people is how a comedic play ends in contrast to how a tragedy ends with a majority of the characters dead. King Lear, by Shakespeare, clearly shows how almost every central character diminishes by the end of the play. This is caused, of course, by King Lear’s treatment of his daughters even after he has divided the land. Lear expects to maintain his status of King while staying in Goneril’s home and when he does not receive his tyrannical wishes, he feels betrayed and leaves. Kim Ballard,
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