This essay Title Of Paper : King Lear has a total of 3463 words and 10 pages.
Title of Paper : King Lear
Grade Received on Report : 96
Historians en masse have
determined that Shakespeare was most definitely not the first one to come up with the general plot lines
contained in King Lear. Though the play revolves mainly around the conflict between the King and his
daughters, there is a definite and distinct sub-plot dealing with the plight and tragedy of Gloucester as well.
The play (both stories really) has origins in many different sixteenth century works, with nearly all the
pertinent facts such as the name of the King, the three daughters, their husbands, the answers of the three
daughters when Lear asks them to profess their love, Cordelia's ensuing disgrace, and the cruelty of the two
dukes and duchesses to the King contained in Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles. (Chapters five and seven of
the Second Book of the History of England, second ed., 1587) Shakespeare is also believed to have
borrowed, significantly less however, from a play that was entered in the Stationer's Register, 14!
May 1594, called, The moste famous Chronicle historye of Leire kinge of England and his Three
Daughters. This piece was considered to be "quite un-Shakespearian" and untragical, and was entered
subsequently on the Stationer's Register as The Tragecall historie of Kinge Leir and his Three Daughters, as
it was latelie acted. Much of Shakespeare's account of the Gloucester story was borrowed from Sir
Philip Sydney's Arcadia, 1590. In terms of the Gloucester-Edmund-Edgar plot, we can find many
similarities in the second book of Arcadia, chapter ten, in a narrative called, The pitifull state, and story of
the Paphlagonian unkind king, and his kind son, first related by the son, then by the blind father. The main
difference here, of course, is that Shakespeare has intertwined this plot with the plight of Lear and his three
There are many differences between these texts and the Shakespearian version of King Lear.
None of these earlier works had the signature character of the Fool, and Shakespeare creatively transformed
what was known earlier as a, "melodramatic story with a 'happy ending'," into a biting and, above all else,
sad story of the relationship between parents and their children.
One of the main themes that Shakespeare chooses to focus on in King Lear is the dysfunctional
nature of not only the royal family and Gloucester, but the heartache and emotional stra
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