What Are Literary Lenses? Essay

What Are Literary Lenses? Essay

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What are Literary lenses? The term acts a figure of speech. The lenses are used to view a piece of literature from different angles in order to find multiple themes. This has been a relatively new expression in the last few decades as literary lenses have grown to be taught in high schools and colleges throughout the United States and the world. Since the terms creation in the late 20th century, students now learn many of these lenses in school to analyze pieces of literature. The lenses can help a reader understand why something happened, or where it is taking place. They can help to bring discriminatory things to light and cast them aside to better appreciate the work. In the University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools Literature class students are taught many of these lenses. The drama Macbeth by William Shakespeare has many lenses that can be applied to it. There is one, however, that does not apply with it being Post-Colonial Lens partially due to the fact that the drama was written in pre-colonial times. The ones that do apply include Reader Response Lens, Historical/ Biographical Lens, Cultural Poetics Lens, Formalist lens, Structuralist Lens, Psychological Lens, Marxist Lens, Feminist/ Gender Lens, Trauma Lens, and Deconstructive Lens.
First, Reader Response Lens is the simplest lens created as it has to do with what the reader thinks about a piece of literature. It is easy to understand, but it also can be too simplistic by not showing enough to fully understand the work. For example, I liked the concept of the play, but it was hard to follow at times. The drama states,” First Witch: ‘Aroint thee, witch! ' the rump-fed ronyon cries” ( Shakespeare 9). The language is in Old English which makes it hard to understand a...


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... the future. This is comparable to the magic mirror that shows the Queen an image of who is the fairest in the land. Both entities show images to the onlooker. Additionally, Macbeth can be compared to The Wizard of Oz. The drama states,” Third Witch: ‘All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!’” (Shakespeare 11). The witches are all knowing and all seeing, as far as the reader can tell, like the Wizard is all knowing and all seeing. And, the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz can be compared to Lady Macbeth. The drama states,” Lady Macbeth: ‘What cannot you and I perform upon/ The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon/ His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt/ Of our great quell?’” (Shakespeare 21). This line shows that, like the Wizard, Lady Macbeth is behind the curtain. She plants the way they should kill Duncan into Macbeth’s head thus secretly controlling him.

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