Creating a King Lear Essay

William Shakespeare, the Bard, wrote many plays. King Lear is probably his most famous (perhaps second most, since Romeo and Juliet also has widespread and enduring popularity). A King Lear essay could be written from more than one angle, as can all the works of Shakespeare. Does the story, itself, lend well to an essay? Of course it does. It’s a tale of how easily royalty can make the same mistakes as poor folks (peasants), and how dealing with their mistakes are handled in unusual ways. The introduction to an essay should clearly state your angle.

From the strictly psychological standpoint, King Lear analyzes human nature, covering both the good and the bad… as well as the ugly (pardon the pun). An analytical essay can be a great approach. In the case of this story, the good of human nature is represented by Cordelia, for being honest with her father, and her husband, the King of France for marrying her despite her disinheritance. The bad would certainly be Regan and Gonreil for their treachery against their sister and father. The ugly would be Edmund, his dishonesty and duplicity to everyone being a fatal character flaw that effects those around him.

As with many tragedies, it’s easy to observe the reasons and behind-the-scenes workings of the characters minds as they play their games with one another. The audience has the luxury of knowing all parts of the story and being able to detect the very moves that result in the ending tragedy. A King Lear essay could focus on all the possibilities listed.

Where did the story originate? In the mind of author William Shakespeare? Or perhaps he had heard a similar story and used aspects of that story in his own creation? In the distant myths and legends of English history was such a man as King Lear. Could the seeds of the tale have been planted within the Bard’s fertile imagination? That might be an interesting angle for a King Lear essay… the origins of the story itself and Shakespeare’s treatment of the ideas as they grew into a powerful play.

Aside from the usual avenues of information, getting familiar enough with the King Lear tragedy can be easily accomplished by viewing one of the many movies made over the past century. Some of the finest actors in the world have performed in Shakespearean plays and King Lear has been done several times. Watching an accomplished actor portray the king makes quite an impression. The language is, of course, archaic and a bit stilted at times, but the characters and story line are understandable, even in the modern world. There is no shortage of greedy, self-serving people and also no fewer honest and decent people than there were in the 1600’s.

As with all classical literature, the plays of William Shakespeare lend themselves well to essays. This is definitely one essay topic that needs to have a long essay length requirement, it would be very difficult to cram all of this needed info into a short essay. A King Lear essay can be fascinating to write, whether you approach it from the view of psychology and it’s relationship to the basic human condition, or to the story itself and relate it to family situations common both then and now, or to the origins of the tale and the original British King of myth and legend.