Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sam's "King Lear" Prewriting

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King Lear's final speech is absolutely heartbreaking.
He's trying so hard to keep his grasp on Cordelia's life
that he doesn't realize that his own is slipping out of his reach. 
The feedback that I received from Professor Burton advised me to develop a stronger claim in my analysis and to do more close analyses on the form of the play. I've been attempting to analyze not only the form of this play but the major themes that reoccur throughout the play, especially the themes of nature and nihilism. Most of that which I have annotated and highlighted on my Ebook has to do with these two themes, especially in regards to Edmund and King Lear. 

The comments on Slack by my peers have really enabled me to develop my ideas about "King Lear". One comment that especially stands out was shared by Micah Cozzens about Edmund's death, and how it was "but a trifle" and this has a lot to do with the nature theme throughout the play. I've loved the different images that people have shared, especially the charts that people have shared that map the story of the play- these have helped me stay focused while reading the play and keep up with the plot. 

For a few of these claims, the idea that helped me was thinking about listening to this play without seeing it acted or having a text to read- basically, how this play could be formatted to radio. 

[policy claim] It should be recognized that while each character in "King Lear" expresses individualism through their diction, their individuality is also seen in the form in which they speak and development of character throughout the play becomes apparent as form changes, as well. 

[definition claim] "King Lear' is not a play that celebrates or decries the use of natural elements in determining fate, rather, nature is simply acknowledged and heeded to in the development and demise of characters. 

[comparison claim] The study of madness and foolery in "King Lear" is consistent with this theme in "Hamlet", but these similar tragedies should not be studied comparatively but contrastingly because the far-reaching effects of madness vary subtly between the two productions. 

[evaluation claim] While some scholars claim that the theme of nihilism is one of existentialism, it is better to see this theme as one of substance rather than nothingness, because the nihilism that Lear attempts to claim is actually anything but nothing. 

[causal claim] The madness that King Lear experiences is unmistakable as a result of the form in which he speaks, compared to the form that Edgar's speech takes as he attempts to fake madness as a disguise. 


  1. I really like your definition claim. It's simple and clear, but sets up an interesting comparison between predetermined destiny and fate with character development and demise. Like. Bringing up how nature is dictated by the characters rather nature controlling the characters.

  2. I'm super intrigued by your causal claim. That would be such an interesting aspect to analyze! The theme of madness is very present in the play, so looking at real madness versus fake madness would add a whole new level to an analysis.

    1. Thanks! I think it would be difficult, but really interesting to look at the differences.

  3. Contrary to others ideas, I think that your comparison claim would be interesting. I, too, thought of Hamlet and his own madness while reading King Lear. I wonder what evidence you could find for the different kinds of madness. It would take a lot of extremely close reading and checking your confirmation-bias.