William Shakespeare 's King Lear And Edgar Allen Poe Essay

William Shakespeare 's King Lear And Edgar Allen Poe Essay

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Experiences of journeys provide insights into the lives of individuals and the world around them
Shakespeare’s King Lear and Edgar Allen Poe’s Eldorado both present varying ideas of journeys, as characters in both texts come to realisations about their true natures, reflect on their past choices and gain a deeper understanding into personal relationships. This enables protagonists in both texts to change their perspectives as a result of their journeys.
A journey often sparks an individual’s self-realisation. In King Lear, when Edmund is close to death, he is finally aware of his despicable nature and attempts to redeem himself by revealing Cordelia and Lear’s location. When Edmund states “I pant for life. Some good I mean to do, Despite of mine own nature.”, he expresses his regret and recognises his shortcomings which is in vast contrast to earlier in the act when he is blindly power-hungry and seeks revenge for his mistreatment as a bastard son. Poe employs epiphany, when Edmund achieves self-realisation, finally recognising how cruel and self-motivated his true nature is. This is spurred on only when he is faced with imminent death. His attitude changes from one of vengefulness and self-righteousness to one of repentance, desiring redemption – in mere paragraphs. Likewise, In Eldorado, when nearing death the knight realises that his life of materialism and the long journey pursuing earthly riches has come to nothing. As shown the last stanza “Over the Mountains Of the Moon, Down the Valley of the Shadow, Ride, boldly ride, “The shade replied "If you seek for Eldorado!", the knight is on his deathbed and seeks the advice of a ‘pilgrim shadow’, who advises him to continue his search after death. Poe utilises allegory as the jou...


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...bold’ knight is now elderly and he now faces an inner journey, at odds with himself as he laments over his failed quest. The use of ‘sunshine’ and ‘shadow’ in the first stanza makes the responder aware that the journey is tumultuous. This is particularly seen in his relationship with himself, which shifts yet again in the final stanza when he discovers his quest his elusive destination has not yet reached its completion.
Shakespeare’s King Lear and Edgar Allen Poe’s Eldorado both highlight that journeys often provide insights. Both texts present varying ideas of journeys, as characters in both texts come to realisations about their true natures, reflect on their past choices and gain a deeper understanding into personal relationships. In both texts characters come to realisations in their journeys that create a deep understanding of many aspects of their lives.





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