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English Literature Essay Assignment 1: King Lear (Essay Sample)


Choose a passage from King Lear or Pride and Prejudice that you find significant, difficult, interesting, odd, or surprising—or ideally, some combination of all of these things. Do not choose a passage that has been discussed at length in class, unless you have a wholly different perspective to offer. A passage that has been touched upon or mentioned in passing, without considerable time spent, is fine.
The length of the passage is up to you, but, roughly speaking, it should be at least 4-5 lines and no more than 2 pages.
In an essay of approximately 3 pages, explain why the passage you have chosen matters. Why does it deserve the kind of careful attention you are giving it? What does it add to the work or reveal about characters, situations, etc.? How does it function in the larger context of the story line or plot?
Try to balance careful, close analysis of the language, context, subject matter, and relevance of what is happening in the passage with its role in the larger work.
*Be sure to include your passage with your final essay. You may choose to put it at the start of your essay, if itis quite short. Otherwise, please attach it on a separate page.
Let me know which PASSage you choose and why you choose it before you start because if it was discussed in class, you can't write about it. Thanks!


English Literature Essay 1: King Lear
King Lear does a great mistake towards the end of kingship that leads to his gradual development of madness after he is swayed by flattering words by two of his daughters and divides his throne into two for them. Shortly after deciding that the two flattering daughters are the sole owners to the throne, King Lear is driven to the rope's end. It reaches a point that he feels useless and powerless and regrets everything he had done. While he had been patient, his patience wears out after his servants and knights are taken away from him. He realizes that his two daughters do not respect the little authority Lear holds. This is the point he realizes that his daughters have gone past their boundaries and thus rages against them saying,
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 …….You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!……If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts/ Against their father, fool me not so much/ To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger, And let not women's weapons, water-drops, Stain my man's cheeks! No, you unnatural hags, …….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! (Shakespeare 2.4.259–281)
In this passage, Lear regrets having being lied to by his two daughters; Regan and Goneril. He cannot believe that the good words spoken by his two daughters were only lies that were to turn into dire cruelties and drive him to the end of his rope. He wraths against the daughters while explaining their attempts to withdraw his servants and knights, which strikes his heart. He cries, “O, reason not the need” as he explains how human beings could be equated to animals if they needed only the fundamental necessities for happiness as animals do. It is only that human beings have more needs making them a bit different from animals. This explains that Lear could be comfortable without attendants and knights. However, he does not need them only for their services but because of the significance of their presence to him. Since he has been a king, he expects to h

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