King Lear : A Tragedy Essay

1710 Words Dec 2nd, 2014 7 Pages
King Lear: A Tragedy
William Shakespeare 's play, King Lear, is a well-known tragedy written in the 1600s. Plays written at that time were meant to teach a lesson through comedy or strong emotions; King Lear was an extreme example of the latter. One of Shakespeare 's bleakest plays, King Lear evokes strong emotions in the audience, allowing them to place themselves in the shoes of the characters in the play and learn the lesson behind the play. In order to accomplish this, Shakespeare effectively utilizes the precepts of an Aristotelian tragedy to construct his own which is evident in King Lear 's plot, characters and ending. Characteristic of an Aristotelian tragedy, King Lear 's complex and complete plot follows a cause-and-effect series of events that lead the audience 's emotions to develop alongside the characters. The character’s motivations connect directly to the plot of the play. The changes in the fortunes of the characters are extreme, evoking strong emotional responses from the audience. The conventional catharsis appears at the end with a sudden rise in the death count and the resulting emotions in the audience. In King Lear, Shakespeare uses similar components as an Aristotelian tragedy to augment the emotions of the audience and to teach them a lesson.
Aristotelian states that a "tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole and of a certain magnitude" (Aristotle VII). This means that there is a beginning, a middle and an end and that all…

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