King Lear and the Shakespearean Context Analytical Essay by Nicky

A review and contextual analysis of the play "King Lear by William Shakespeare.
# 151411 | 2,777 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Jun 10, 2012 in Shakespeare (King Lear)

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This paper is not solely a review of the play "King Lear" by William Shakespeare, but the piece is also a contextual analysis of the play's time and place. The mainstay of the analysis is looking at the play in relation to suffering and tragedy in the lives of 17th century Englishman. Though the play is said to take place in an earlier time period, the writer explores how such tragedies before, have the same everyman notion of suffering and loss today.

From the Paper:

"When it comes to the characters in Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, there is always more than meets the eye. The theme of justice is inextricably linked to the protagonist of each play. His protagonists are strong, deep characters who are faced with the trials of destiny and the frailty of the human mind and condition. Although different as far as social position, culture and life, the characters in Shakespeare's tragedies share a fateful end which can be attributed at least to a great extent if not completely, to a particular flaw of character, be it ambition, superficiality or jealousy. King Lear makes no exception. He shows his flaw of character from the very beginning. He is proud to be king, and readily accepts the benefits that are associated with this title, but refuses to take on the responsibilities that it implies. He enjoys public flattery and is largely blind to the truth even when laid in front of his eyes. In this sense, he fails to see the betrayal of his daughters and is thus incapable of providing a proper response to Goneril and Regan's attempt to strip their father of his power and identity, and to reduce him to a reasonless animal: 'O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars/ Are in the poorest thing superfluous./ Allow not nature more than nature needs,/ Man's life's as cheap as beast's ... No, I'll not weep./ I have full cause of weeping, but this heart/ Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,/ Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!' (King Lear II.iv)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Washington Square Press, 1993.
  • Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare's King Lear. Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
  • Brown, Dennis. "King Lear: The Lost Leader; Group Disintegration, Transformation and Suspended Reconsolidation." Critical Survey 13 (2001): 19-41.
  • Beauregard, David N. "Human Malevolence and Providence in King Lear." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 60 (2008): 371-396.
  • Cohen, Derek "The Malignant Scapegoats of King Lear." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 49 (2009): 240-261.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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"King Lear and the Shakespearean Context" 10 June 2012. Web. 21 February. 2024. <>