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King Lear - More sinned against than sinning watch

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    Hi,

    I have to write an essay on whether it is possible to share this view of his tragic fall and I was wondering if you could tell me essential things to include?

    I was going to include his own sins, his daughters sins, and his acts of "goodness".

    Is that okay?

    Thanks
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    It's been well over half a decade since I read Lear, but I suppose one of the essential points is that he committed the ultimate sin. As a King, his status defined him, and yet he carved up his kingdom and alienated his royal dignity. Mix that in with the idea of the Divine right of Kings, and you have a massive failing on his part that started all the other problems off. I imagine that was still seen very seriously by the people of the time.
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    More sinned against than sinning.
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    (Original post by MSB)
    More sinned against than sinning.
    thanks
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    i suppose you could say that; i studied king lear last year for my shakespeare coursework. you could address the ending as well, ie. that he's redeemed and experiences hubris through his madness. it may not be relevant, but it's my 2 pence
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    you could say he is correct in his statement, because although he did try to give up his responsibilities, the 'unnatural' act of his daughters was far worse and more sinister than his folly
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    Thanks everyone. Can someone please tell me if it would count as a modern, or comtemporary tragedy? I think it was written in 17th century, but my definition of modern tragedy, is 18th centry onwards..

    THanks
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    (Original post by Darkest Knight)
    Hi,

    I have to write an essay on whether it is possible to share this view of his tragic fall and I was wondering if you could tell me essential things to include?

    I was going to include his own sins, his daughters sins, and his acts of "goodness".

    Is that okay?

    Thanks
    You could also say that he is a victim of his circumstances if you take nature into account. He's growing old and he's afraid of dying. He's innevitably "crawling towards death" as he states in Act 1.

    You can easily argue that his actions are the desperate attempts of an old man at the verge of his doom trying to cling to the little power he has and to fight against the innevitability of death. This doesn't make him guiltless, but you can argue that one of the factors that lead him to his fall is that he is about to die and he often acts irrationally upon the fear of losing it all.

    This complements your view that the reasons for his fall are external... a bit as if he was sinned against by nature (or at least he feels he is). Proof of that can be found in Lear's speech when Cordelia dies... he argues that it's unfair that rats and horses are alive and his daughter isn't.... I guess it's the cycle of life, but as humans we try to measure life up in terms of fairness or unfairness and Lear feels the univers plots against him...

    I hope that helped a bit
    Good luck on the essay.
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    (Original post by SoFf)
    You could also say that he is a victim of his circumstances if you take nature into account. He's growing old and he's afraid of dying. He's innevitably "crawling towards death" as he states in Act 1.

    You can easily argue that his actions are the desperate attempts of an old man at the verge of his doom trying to cling to the little power he has and to fight against the innevitability of death. This doesn't make him guiltless, but you can argue that one of the factors that lead him to his fall is that he is about to die and he often acts irrationally upon the fear of losing it all.

    This complements your view that the reasons for his fall are external... a bit as if he was sinned against by nature (or at least he feels he is). Proof of that can be found in Lear's speech when Cordelia dies... he argues that it's unfair that rats and horses are alive and his daughter isn't.... I guess it's the cycle of life, but as humans we try to measure life up in terms of fairness or unfairness and Lear feels the univers plots against him...

    I hope that helped a bit
    Good luck on the essay.
    Thanks that is quite helpful.

    Also, I'm a bit worried that if I use an idea from this thread, that it will be classed as plagiarism or something? I don't plan on copying anything word for word, but there are some things in here that I had never considered...

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    (Original post by Darkest Knight)
    Thanks that is quite helpful.

    Also, I'm a bit worried that if I use an idea from this thread, that it will be classed as plagiarism or something? I don't plan on copying anything word for word, but there are some things in here that I had never considered...

    I think it's all right... just give it your personal touch, and unless you copy word for word it will not be considered plagarism. It's as if you had commented the play with friends afer school... nothing wrong in sharing a few ideas
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    (Original post by SoFf)
    I think it's all right... just give it your personal touch, and unless you copy word for word it will not be considered plagarism. It's as if you had commented the play with friends afer school... nothing wrong in sharing a few ideas
    Okay, thankyou. (+rep) Do you know if Lear would count as a modern, or comtemporary tragedy? I think it was written in 17th century, but my definition of modern tragedy, is 18th centry onwards..
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    (Original post by Darkest Knight)
    Okay, thankyou. (+rep) Do you know if Lear would count as a modern, or comtemporary tragedy? I think it was written in 17th century, but my definition of modern tragedy, is 18th centry onwards..
    I'm not sure...
    It was written in four quartos, all at the beginning of the 17th century, that I'm sure of. What I don't really know is the exact difference between modern and contemporary tragedies. I'm not even sure if Shakespeare can be defined as either. Sorry!
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    (Original post by SoFf)
    I'm not sure...
    It was written in four quartos, all at the beginning of the 17th century, that I'm sure of. What I don't really know is the exact difference between modern and contemporary tragedies. I'm not even sure if Shakespeare can be defined as either. Sorry!
    No problem

    Also, one last thing.. any tips structure for the essay? Is it okay to divide it up into LEar's sins, sins against him (his daughters', nature's etc..) and Lear's acts of goodness? And do you think there is anything essential missing from there?
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    (Original post by Darkest Knight)
    No problem

    Also, one last thing.. any tips structure for the essay? Is it okay to divide it up into LEar's sins, sins against him (his daughters', nature's etc..) and Lear's acts of goodness? And do you think there is anything essential missing from there?
    I'd start every paragraph by stating one of Lear's sins and then arguing that that particular sin was not his fault, but rather an innevitable reaction to an external sin commited against him. That way you can have a more dynamic essay and have the debate throughout the body and not at the end.

    The only essential thing I'd recommend to keep an eye on is how to justify that banishing Cordelia and Kent was not his fault. This is the bit when you can argue he was nature's victim (him being old and irrational and afraid to have his power diminished as he feels Cordelia is doing).

    You can conclude the essay by saying that although he is more sinned against, this doesn't mean that he is not a sinner. That he responded to circumstances beyond his control but that most of the time he made wrong choices.
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    I just had my CIE exam on King Lear 2 days ago for A2 english.

    Question was on the dramatic function and characterisation of the Fool in the play.

    Beautiful question. LOVE it.!
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    (Original post by SoFf)
    I'd start every paragraph by stating one of Lear's sins and then arguing that that particular sin was not his fault, but rather an innevitable reaction to an external sin commited against him. That way you can have a more dynamic essay and have the debate throughout the body and not at the end.

    The only essential thing I'd recommend to keep an eye on is how to justify that banishing Cordelia and Kent was not his fault. This is the bit when you can argue he was nature's victim (him being old and irrational and afraid to have his power diminished as he feels Cordelia is doing).

    You can conclude the essay by saying that although he is more sinned against, this doesn't mean that he is not a sinner. That he responded to circumstances beyond his control but that most of the time he made wrong choices.
    Thanks, what you say makes sense about having the debate throughout, but the main two sins of Lear that I have are both at the start, that of splitting up the kingdom, and banishing Cordelia and Kent (but perhaps I'm missing something important?) and then the daughters' sins happen after to this.. Not sure how I could link, refusal to keep allow him to keep his knights, t refusal to shelter him, etc.. to Lear's own sins.

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Darkest Knight)
    Thanks, what you say makes sense about having the debate throughout, but the main two sins of Lear that I have are both at the start, that of splitting up the kingdom, and banishing Cordelia and Kent (but perhaps I'm missing something important?) and then the daughters' sins happen after to this.. Not sure how I could link, refusal to keep allow him to keep his knights, t refusal to shelter him, etc.. to Lear's own sins.

    Thanks
    How about how he treats Regan and Goneril? He's pretty mean to them without reason.

    Re-read when he curses them... it's completly over the top. His daughter is just asking him to "disquantity his train" and he starts yelling that he hopes she never has children and that she'll have a miserable life. Try to picture how strong a curse that was in that time, coming from a father. I don't think the daughters show their evil until they lock him outside, but by then Lear has been extremely harsh to both of them.

    Then he seems pretty selfish throughout the play, by not considering Glaucester's suffering and all.

    He goes through ambition, wrath and pride a number of times.
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    (Original post by SoFf)
    How about how he treats Regan and Goneril? He's pretty mean to them without reason.

    Re-read when he curses them... it's completly over the top. His daughter is just asking him to "disquantity his train" and he starts yelling that he hopes she never has children and that she'll have a miserable life. Try to picture how strong a curse that was in that time, coming from a father. I don't think the daughters show their evil until they lock him outside, but by then Lear has been extremely harsh to both of them.

    Then he seems pretty selfish throughout the play, by not considering Glaucester's suffering and all.

    He goes through ambition, wrath and pride a number of times.
    Thanks, that makes sense.
    I'm a bit confused as to whether this is a more sympathetic view towards Lear or not, as you said, I could state Lear's sin, then put the external circumstances that caused it, which would seem to be taking the blame away from Lear, but you also said that he is a sinner?

    Sorry for all the questions!
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    (Original post by Darkest Knight)
    Thanks, that makes sense.
    I'm a bit confused as to whether this is a more sympathetic view towards Lear or not, as you said, I could state Lear's sin, then put the external circumstances that caused it, which would seem to be taking the blame away from Lear, but you also said that he is a sinner?

    Sorry for all the questions!
    No worries
    I got to go, though, but an answer to your last question:

    He's a sinner in the sense that humans have free will. We are all in a way 'victims' of our circumstance and Lear acts the way he acts because he is a victim of his. However, this does not mean that there is only one way to respond; he could have made different choices, evaluated the circumstances better before acting or pay more attention to the intentions of others. He is also a sinner, as we can conclude by looking at the mistakes he made. In your essay you'll argue that he is more sinned against that sinning but not that he is a saint.

    Hope that helped and good luck on the essay!
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    (Original post by SoFf)
    No worries
    I got to go, though, but an answer to your last question:

    He's a sinner in the sense that humans have free will. We are all in a way 'victims' of our circumstance and Lear acts the way he acts because he is a victim of his. However, this does not mean that there is only one way to respond; he could have made different choices, evaluated the circumstances better before acting or pay more attention to the intentions of others. He is also a sinner, as we can conclude by looking at the mistakes he made. In your essay you'll argue that he is more sinned against that sinning but not that he is a saint.

    Hope that helped and good luck on the essay!
    Thanks for all your help. I'm not sure where to place the daughters' sins in the essay? I will have a couple of paragraphs on Lear's sins, and with them a counter argument how he is not to blame, but not sure if Gonerill and Regan's sins should be kept seperate?

    Thanks
 
 
 
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