The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the play as a whole and to analyze important themes and literary devices. Following each question is a sample outline to help get you started.
Shakespeare has woven the subplot into the main plot in King Lear to intensify the emotional effect of the tragedy. Write an essay analyzing the way in which the subplot parallels the main plot. Discuss the areas of father-child relationships, political power, and the deaths of the protagonists in the double plot.
I. Thesis Statement: The emotional effect is heightened in King Lear with Shakespeare’s use of a subplot that mirrors the father-child relationships, the corruption of political power, and the death of the protagonist in the main plot.
II. Parallels of father-child relationships
A. Lear’s daughter Cordelia parallels Gloucester’s son Edgar.
1. Both Cordelia and Edgar are loyal to their fathers to the end.
2. Cordelia is banished and Edgar is forced into hiding.
B. Lear’s daughters Goneril and Regan parallel Gloucester’s son Edmund.
1. Goneril and Regan flatter Lear just as Edmund deceives Gloucester.
2. Both Lear and Gloucester talk of the ingratitude of their children.
C. Lear and Gloucester are both blind to their children.
1. Lear is blind to Cordelia’s love and to Goneril and Regan’s ulterior motives.
2. Gloucester is blind to Edmund’s deceit and trickery.
III. Parallels of greed in political power
A. Goneril and Regan seek political power.
1. They strip the King of all his train of followers.
2. They reject the King’s title and turn him out into the storm.
B. Edmund has high political aspirations.
1. He allows Gloucester to be blinded for his own political gain.
2. He usurps Edgar’s legitimate title as the future Earl of Gloucester.
C. Kent and Edgar both lose their nobility.
1. The Earl of Kent is banished for his honest defense of Cordelia.
2. Edgar loses his claim to nobility through the deceit and trickery of Edmund.
IV. Parallels in the deaths of Lear and Gloucester
A. Both die in the presence of their loyal children.
1. Lear dies with Cordelia in his arms.
2. Gloucester dies after Edgar has revealed himself as the Duke’s son.
B. Lear and Gloucester both die in “extremes of passion.”
1. Lear dies of a broken heart. “Break heart, I prithee break!”
2. Gloucester’s “flaw’d heart” bursts of “joy and grief” after his reunion with Edgar.
C. Both die with renewed insight.
1. Gloucester needs to be blinded before he can see Edmund’s deceit and Edgar’s loyalty.
2. Lear needs to suffer the rejection of his older daughters before he can see Cordelia’s loyalty
3. Both find that the loss of title and position humbles them.
V. Conclusion: The subplot intensifies the emotional impact of the main plot in the areas of child-parent relationships, the corruption of political power, and the death of the protagonist.
Through suffering, King Lear is transformed from an arrogant, dictatorial king and father to a man who realizes the folly of his past life. Write an essay tracing the progress of his...
(The entire section is 1376 words.)
was already embarrassed of. This forced Edgar to :ee for his safety. ater in the play,7loucester, who is loyal to -ing ear, realises the treachery of 7onereil and 8egan. Bemakes an attempt to save ear, but because of his loyalty, he had his eyes gaugedout. fter this event, Edgars loyalty for 7loucester is shown in the play when hepretends to be a pauper named <oor Tom and help his father, despite the fact that7loucester mistrusted him. The story of the 7loucester family is replicated in modernera, by the "lm Thor. !n the "lm, Thor is loyal to his father, 2din, but Thors disloyalbrother oki deceives 2din and causes Thor strife #$erpandderp )**4+.Shakespearean plays, such as “
, have endured through time becausethemes like loyalty are still valued today. They also endure because the audience ispositioned to accept traditional Elizabethan values, such as loyalty. The concept of trust is tested within the play “
by the treachery of 7onereil and 8egan to -ing ear. Shakespearean plays have endured through timebecause of concepts like trust being tested, as it so often does in reality. !n thebeginning of this play, during ears test to his daughters about e0claiming their lovefor him, 7onereil and 8egan told -ing ear everything he wanted to hear, even thoughit was not their true emotions. /ecause of this, ear misplaces his trust upon thesetwo daughters. /ecause of the trust that ear had shown to 7onereil and 8egan, hedonated to them all his power. This proved to be a very in:uential mistake, as he laterlost everything he owned to the cunningness of 7onereil and 8egan. Aho ear shouldhave trusted from the beginning of this play was ;ordelia. /ut because she could notdescribe her emotions during ears test, she is rejected by ear. The 1uote,“=airest ;ordelia, that art most rich, being poorC$ost choice, forsakenC and most loved, despised?3shows that even though ;ordelia was ears most favoured daughter, she was still nottrusted because it did not appeal to the ears of ear #%, i, )54+. ear had failed his owntest, as he placed his trust on the two daughters who were not truthful, not the onlydaughter who was. Shakespearean plays, such as “
, have endured throughtime as truthfulness is still valued in society today, and is still tested in society.Shakespearean playwrights continue to endure throughout time because the themesthat Shakespearean plays possess, such power, loyalty and trust, resinate throughmodern audiences. Through the outcomes of the play
, it is clearly evidentthat the themes of power, loyalty and trust, which are so common in the modern era,were being tested back in the Elizabethan era. Shakespearean playwrights are morally
English, -ing ear Essay<age 4