Essay about King Lear/Inferno

1275 Words Dec 8th, 2012 6 Pages
Paper Assignment #2 (Inferno / King Lear) Both Shakespeare’s King Lear and Dante’s Inferno explore the reasons for and results of human suffering. Both works postulate that human suffering comes as a result of choices that are made. That statement is not only applicable to the characters in each of the works, but also to the readers. The Inferno and King Lear speak universal truths about the human condition: that suffering is inevitable and unavoidable. While both King Lear and the Inferno concentrate on the admonitions and lamentations of human suffering, there is one key difference between the works: the Inferno has an aspect of hope that is not present in King Lear. The unavoidable aspect of human suffering is depicted brilliantly …show more content…
He believes that it is in his “nature” to be subversive, evil, and manipulative. Yet, unlike Lear, Edmund does not place the blame of his unfortunate life on the stars: “I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing” (Shakespeare 20). Edmund does, however, blame society for his actions, which is just as harmful as Lear blaming the stars. If anything, this play illustrates that as humans we are completely responsible for our actions and that our own suffering is a consequence of poor judgments. Both the Inferno and King Lear depict the horrific aspects of human suffering, but there is one key difference. There is a complete absence of hope in King Lear and it shows in the tragic ending of the play. Not only do most of the characters die, but also none of them achieve redemption or are able to achieve forgiveness for their actions (with the exception of Edmund). King Lear makes a discouraging statement about humanity and the extent of human suffering: that suffering is a perpetual aspect of human life and it cannot be overcome: “We that are young shall never see so much, nor live so long” (Shakespeare 142). This statement made by Edgar shows the hopelessness of the circumstances Edgar, Albany, and Kent have found themselves in at the end of King Lear. In the Inferno, Dante walks through Hell, literally, and comes out on the other side alive, something

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