Comparing King Lear And A Thousand Acres By Jane Smiley

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King Lear by William Shakespeare, and A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley are both fantastic tragedies that follow a similar story arc. Although King Lear was written in 1606, and A Thousand Acres was written in 1999, they contain the same essential elements of a tragedy. Jane Smiley modeled her novel after King Lear, focusing less on Lear’s story, and more on the daughters’ stories. The story-line of both is extremely similar: a father chooses to divide his land amongst his daughters, and everything following that is a disaster. King Lear and A Thousand Acres utilize the elements of unexpected suffering, suffering that extends beyond the protagonist, and society/status to mold their stories into classic tragedies.
A Thousand Acres and King Lear share the
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A massive storm is a significant event in both stories that marks the beginning of the tragic end. Events that precede the storm are comparatively cheery to the events that follow shortly after. The storm in both stories leads to the fleeing of the father, both driven away by their daughter’s actions. During the storm in A Thousand Acres, Ginny loses her helpful and submissive personality in order to stand up to her father, ¨You don 't deserve even the care we give you. As far as I 'm concerned, from now on you 're on your own” (Smiley 183). This change in her attitude is a stark contrast to the previous Ginny, who took care of three families without complaints. The storm in King Lear is the last time the reader experiences Lear with part of his mind still in-tact. The scenes after the storm depict Lear frolicking around with a crown made of weeds on his head. The transformation of his language and attitude from the beginning of the play, “Hear me, recreant; on thine allegiance, hear me...the moment is thy death. Away” (Shakespeare
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