The Consequences of Choosing an Heir

analytical Essay
1065 words
1065 words

William Shakespeare uses his play, King Lear, to explore the consequences of a monarch making a poor political decision in choosing their heir. The recent events within England associated with the passing of Queen Elizabeth I and the uncertain future the kingdom faced with their new ruler, King James I, can be compared and contrasted with the choosing of an heir within King Lear and the outcomes each situation. King Lear is meant to display the drastic negative consequences of such an important decision that weaken a kingdom while the real world situation turned out to be not nearly as morbid and displayed how a wise ruling choice could strengthen multiple kingdoms. King Lear was written in 1604, one year after the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland. Despite the turmoil brought to the kingdom by her father and elder half-sister in their reigns through their religious persecutions of Protestants and Catholics respectively, Elizabeth was a steady and strategic monarch who led England through many years of peace. Most amazingly, she led England through this peace alone with no man at her side. To Elizabeth relationships with the male population seemed to be more political tools used to create alliances than prospects for marriage. As a result of her views Elizabeth was never wed and never gave birth to any children. When she died she had no heir to pass the kingdom on to, which was a very worrisome idea for her subjects. Traditionally the throne would be passed down from each monarch to their firstborn son, and only to daughters when no sons were left, but Elizabeth had no family whatsoever to naturally succeed her. The only thing that was certain before an heir was announced was that the throne would be leaving her f... ... middle of paper ... would not dare attack England and Ireland as they had attempted in her rule because they would know that King James would have Scotland to bring further support. Likewise Scotland was safer with the support of England and Ireland. Divided they were vulnerable, but united they were protected. Works Cited "Elizabeth I." Tudor History. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. "Historical Context for King Lear by William Shakespeare." Columbia College. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. "James VI and I." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. "King Lear -- Background and Analysis." King Lear -- Background and Analysis. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. "King Lear Background." Study Guides & Essay Editing. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. "King Lear By William Shakespeare Critical Essays Kingship and Lear." Kingship and Lear. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shakespeare uses king lear to explore the consequences of a monarch's poor political decision in choosing their heir.
  • Explains that king lear was written in 1604, one year after the death of queen elizabeth i of england and ireland.
  • Compares king lear to queen elizabeth in that he chooses a proper heir to give his kingdom the brightest future.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare chose to create his own version of king leir because of the change in power between queen elizabeth and king james.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare used the legend of king leir to make a statement about the events unfolding in the world around him.
  • Cites elizabeth i's "historical context for king lear by william shakespeare." columbia college.
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