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University Degree: King Lear

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  1. In both plays love is insanity, taking over the rational and lucid mind by delusion and self-destruction, which can only be cured when the insane are stripped of what they love the most and honesty, not deceit, take precedence.

    So for them Athens and the people within it are insane. They feel they must flee the state into the forest away from Egeus and Theseus and the rest to be sane and free. In King Lear, Lear is insane at the beginning when his wealth and slaves surround him. However only until he has nothing left and he is out by himself, outside in the woods does he reach true enlightenment upon the situation. In both plays the characters are finally sane when they are out in the woods, away from everything that blinds them and makes/drives them insane.

    • Word count: 3010
  2. Review and interpretation of King Lear

    Over four-hundred years later Raphael Holinshed presented a more concise version of Geoffrey's version in The Second Book of the Historie of England, which offered little else to the story. Lear's madness may not have come from a literature source, but from the real life of Bryan Annesley. In 1603, Annesley was in his last years of his life when one of his three daughters tried to have him committed and to have his will contested. His youngest, Cordell (Cordelia), fought to have her father not deemed insane in an attempt to keep that off his permanent record.

    • Word count: 7186
  3. Tragedy and Silence in Beckett's Endgame and Bond's Lear

    To underline the point, Beckett introduces many moments of farcical action (which are much more apparent in a stage production than on the page). Clov's attempts to kill a flea by pouring insecticide powder down his trousers (p.108) are a particularly gleeful example. For Aristotle, this would be the lowest form of comedy. According to his definitions: 'Comedy aims at representing men as worse...than in actual life' (Cooper ed., 1997). Beckett emphatically does this: it is hard to imagine characters depicted in a worse state than Nagg and Nell, human waste confined to a dustbin.

    • Word count: 3421
  4. War is Peace: Perceptual and Societal Death and Rebirth in William Shakespeare's, "King Lear.

    In Act 1, Scene 1 Lear divides his kingdom among his two obedient daughters, Goneril and Regan. Cordelia, the honest daughter, is banished along with the Earl of Kent for attempting to stick up for her. This instance alone perfectly portrays one of the ways in which Lear views the world. Lear speaks of Cordelia, "...with those infirmities she owes,/ unfriended, new-adpoted to our hate, /dowered with our curse and strangered with our oath... (I.i, 231-234)." This shows that he thinks of her to be dishonest and uses adoption and dowry imagery to further outline her ostensible betrayal.

    • Word count: 3064
  5. Based on your study of the first two Acts, how well does Shakespeare present us with characters we can dislike?

    Such techniques used within the first two acts ensure that the true nature and intentions of certain characters are obtained, by the way in which they are characterised and portrayed. Through the course of this essay, I will examine the various techniques present during the first two Acts in certain characters' dialogue, and the language they use generally and when placed in different situations, how their actions and decisions effect the audiences' interpretation of their character, the way in which they interact with other characters and how certain interactions will ultimately be perceived by a Shakespearian audience.

    • Word count: 7909

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • "All friends shall Taste the Wages of their Virtues, and all Foes the Cup of their Deserving." Discuss the Theme of Justice in "King Lear"

    "King Lear is also concerned with social justice. Lear and Gloucester both consider this topic carefully and seem to reach radical conclusions. Gloucester calls upon the heavens to distribute wealth more evenly; while Lear considers the lives of "poor naked wretches" he paid so little attention to. In Act 4, Lear rages against corrupt members of the judiciary and seems to sneer at himself when he says "a dog's obeyed in office". At the end of the play we are presented with two new agents of justice, Albany, and Edgar. We accept the justice of their actions in Act 5 Scene 3. But human judgement still looks faulty. Albany has been overwhelmed by events and Edgar's bitter words about Gloucester's death seem callous. Surely nobody in King Lear is morally impeccable? Perhaps Shakespeare wants us to remain uncomfortable about justice."

  • "The power of tragic texts springs from our recognition that the protagonists are men and not gods; it is their humanity that we value" - Discuss using two works of literature you have studied.

    "In conclusion, the author of a tragedy must create a compelling character in goodness and sin. It must become a heroic struggle which imples both sides of the spectrum - a person's most condemnable side and most beautiful side. A tragic hero could neither be Hitler or D'Artagnan. They are filled with too much of one and the other. The hero must be someone the reader can identify with in reality, to accompany his struggle and find a better truth. 1"

  • What are Seneca's views on anger (support your answer with evidence from primary sources)? Critically evaluate his views.

    "In conclusion, Seneca has defined anger as the desire to avenge or punish a wrong done received by one. It is disaccord to nature and required the mind to make a decision to start. It is a process which contains several parts. Anger can bring plague and ruin to one's mind. The remedies he suggested are to avoid anger, postponement and fight with ourselves to restrict anger. There are consistence between his views and stoicism. However, the remedies are not all possible to carry out as he neglects the impossibility for one to control his emotions. There are some oversights in his views such as rejecting all the righteous and unrighteous indignation and equal the meaning of punishment and revenge."

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