Thursday, January 23, 2020

King Lear :: essays research papers

King Lear is one of William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies which involves a common story of three daughters vying for the love of their father. Jane Smiley parallels the story of King Lear in her novel A Thousand Acres. Though this novel is derived from the roots of King Lear and the basic plot is similar, the reader’s reaction to each work of literature varies greatly. One may wonder why the reader’s perspective on the play King Lear changes so drastically after reading the novel A Thousand Acres. A couple of the reasons include the pieces of literature being told from two different view points and how the paralleling characters in the two works assume roles than are unexpected and seem unlike the comparable characters in the other piece of literature. However, Scott Holstad states the reason for the differing responses best by saying, â€Å"Smiley is successful because she fills in so many of the gaps left open in the play. She gives us new and different perspectives† (Holstad 1). King Lear is a most unusual play in that it only deals with the present and neglects the past and the future. The reader is not informed about an earlier time period in the play. The play opens up with Lear immediately choosing to, â€Å"express our darker purpose† (I, i, 35). There is no mention of any of the three daughters’ childhood. In contrast, Smiley makes a point of adding description to her novel. She constantly describes the three girls’ childhood, their ancestors, and other memories from the past. In the beginning of the novel, Ginny elaborates upon her great-grandparents and, â€Å"when they came the first time to Zebulon County, in the spring of 1890, and saw that half the land they had already bought was under two feet of water† (Smiley 14). Ginny also remembers when she used to take care of Caroline, â€Å"I had such hope for her, such a strong sense that when we sent her out, in whatever capacity, she would perform well, with enthusiasm and confidence that were mysteriously hers alone† (Smiley 262). The description of the past is the most powerful part in A Thousand Acres. It reveals hidden roots that shape and define behaviors of the characters. This hidden knowledge and exposure of secrets is exemplified in Edgar’s line in King Lear, â€Å"In nothing am I chang’d But in my garments† (IV, vi, 9-10). It tells the reader that although things may appear to be a certain way, reality will prove them to be different. The major difference between King Lear and A Thousand Acres is that the past comes

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