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Sample essay titles for your delictation and delight.
King Lear William Shakespeare Essay Questions
1. “Shakespeare’s King Lear is a play of redemption in which the King moves from moral blindness to a clearer vision of what really matters.” Discuss and illustrate
. 2. “King Lear is not only a tragedy of parents and children, of pride and ingratitude; it is also a tragedy of kingship.” Discuss with reference to power relations in King Lear.
3. ‘King Lear might start like a fairy-tale, but most of it is like a nightmare.’ Discuss.
4. ‘The ending of King Lear is unbearable.’ Discuss.
5. “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’gods; They kill us for their sport.” Discuss with reference to both the King Lear main plot and the Gloucester subplot.
6. “Cordelia is admirable, but not entirely.” Discuss.
7. “Gloucester’s physical blindness is a mirror image of Lear’s spiritual blindness”. Discuss the ways in which the sub-plot in Shakespeare’s King Lear is a reflection of the main one.
8. “King Lear is a play about the corrupting and destructive effects of power.” Discuss.
9. “King Lear is a play dominated by the contrast between wisdom and foolishness.” Discuss.
10. “King Lear is a play in which madness is the key to the realization of the truth”. Discuss.
11. “Lear is a contemptible figure at the beginning of the play, but he deserves some admiration by the end of it.” Discuss.
12. “Lear’s fool is a jester by profession, but the effect he creates is not one of professional control and expertise, but of jokes pulled out of agony and frustration.” Discuss the role of the fool in King Lear and his function in the unfolding of the plot.
13. “Some good I mean to do, i. Despite of mine own nature.” Discuss the complex relations between character and circumstance in King Lear.
14. “The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices i. Make instruments to plague us.” Discuss the complex relations between vice and justice in King Lear. King Lear William Shakespeare
15. “The individuals in King Lear always move across landscapes of the widest extent, criss-crossed by innumerable simultaneous purposes.” Relate this statement to the parallelism between the main and the sub-plots in Shakespeare’s play.
16. Assess the importance of the theme of loyalty in King Lear.
17. Critically examine Lear’s changing relationship with Cordelia.
18. Discuss the importance of the characters of Edmund and Edgar in King Lear.
19. Discuss the importance of the storm scenes in King Lear.
20. Discuss the theme of suffering in King Lear.
21. Fully discuss and illustrate the themes of Hypocrisy and Division in Shakespeare’s King Lear.
22. Fully discuss public and private concerns in Shakespeare’s King Lear
. 23. There are many kinds of suffering in King Lear, and little consolation.” Discuss.
24. Unlike other dramatists, who used ‘mad scenes’ for comic effect, Shakespeare seems intent on a serious portrayal of madness in King Lear.” Discuss the different types of madness in the play.
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.)