Compare And Contrast King Lear And A Thousand Acres

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King Lear and A Thousand Acres: A Comparison William Shakespeare 's tragedy King Lear, originally performed in 1606, chronicles the downfall of a king. Three hundred-eighty-five years later, Jane Smiley published the novel A Thousand Acres which parallels King Lear,with a few exceptions. Both tragedies present the tale of a father who divides what he owns amongst two of his daughters while rejecting the third, who later comes to the father’s aid. In one story the father is a king and in the other a farmer, but these works of literature differ in more than just superficial aspects; they differ in the type of tragedy they are. King Lear contains the elements of a Shakespearean tragedy, such as immense suffering and while A Thousand Acres contains …show more content…
In the first act of the play, Lear is told by Cordelia, his favorite daughter, that she does not love him to the extent that he wishes which begins his decline throughout the play. Cordelia’s words suggest that “people are held together by bonds which are necessarily not limitless” and that suggestion “starts Lear on the course that eventually leads him to … destroy all bonds” (Worst of King Lear). After that point, Lear breaks his bonds and is betrayed by his other two daughters, forced out of his kingdom, and made mad by either age or circumstances. Despite having cast out Cordelia, Lear is heartbroken when she dies and cries in grief, “No, no, no life?/Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,/And thou no breath at all? Thou’lt come no more,/Never, never, never, never, never.-” (5.3.369-373) clearly feeling an intense level of emotional suffering. He dies moments later of a broken heart, unable to live through the amount of pain he felt. By comparison, the suffering in A Thousand Acres is ordinary to say the least. Ginny, the protagonist of A Thousand Acres, does not suffer greatly during the course of the novel. She loses closeness with her husband, watches as her father goes mad despite her best efforts to help him, and vaguely remembers her father raping her as a child, but she experiences nothing close to the anguish that King Lear did. This is not to say …show more content…
From the beginning of the play, King Lear was extremely arrogant, needing to be told by his daughters the extent to which they loved him. When Cordelia refused to appease him, he took away her dowry and sent her away with the king of France. Towards the end of the play, King Lear realizes the error of his actions and forgives Cordelia completely. At one point Lear even goes to prison with her, shunning all of his previous

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