Essay on Imagery in King Lear

Essay on Imagery in King Lear

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Imagery in King Lear


            In the immense amount of writing that William Shakespeare had done in his career as a playwright and or writer in general there are bound to be some consistencies and reoccurring themes that make his writing so popular and interesting.  In many cases it is hard to tell whether the thematic structure that many writers follow is intentional or not, but it is possible that there is a reasoning for a specific kind of imagery that a writer likes to outline his/her writing after.

 

            There are dominating images which are characteristic of Shakespeare's work throughout, however in some of the earlier plays they are very obvious and in many cases intentional.  Imagery, as defined by the Sixth Edition Handbook to Literature, is in its literal sense "a collection of images in a literary work that may be an object, phrase or entity."  The Handbook explains that imagery is often not intentional but seems to be a basis for a look at a deeper meaning of a certain piece of work.  It is important to be aware of certain recurrent images which are symbolic in Shakespeare such as the use of light and its components in Romeo and Juliet, disease and how it is used in King Lear and what I will be discussing in this paper the use of the heart as an entity and how it is used in the dramas written by William Shakespeare.

 

            The heart image is seen literally over a thousand times in the works of Shakespeare with a frequency of almost thirty per play and mostly in the tragedies.  With so many references of the heart used in the tragedies and the typical time frame used to perform each play, which was about two hours, the audience might hear twelve to fifteen heart images an hour and...


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...est of the play.  King Lear is a man who is portrayed as a very compassionate man who lives on the fact that his trust in his daughters will never be abandoned.  The betrayal by his loved ones sets up the impact of the play which in turn shows how dramatic the use of the heart and all of its imagery components is for King Lear.  At the end of the play when Lear loses his last daughter Shakespeare leads us to understand that he had lead a life of war and turmoil and has transformed himself from being a bitter, crusty, old man into becoming a caring and complete human being.  Some critics say that Lear might have died from a heart attack from all the stress he had to endure in such a short amount of time.  I think he died from a broken heart from the loss of his daughters, his sanity, and the peaceful life he so desired during his retirement from the throne.

 

 

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