Power Is Depicted In William Shakespeare's King Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #47357493 Related Topics: John Milton, King John, Social Stigma, Allegory Of The Cave
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … power is depicted in William Shakespeare's "King Lear," Book I of John Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Francis Bacon's "Of Plantations" and "The Idols" from his "Novum Organum."

Shakespeare's depiction of power in King Lear shows how cunning, ruthless people come to gain political power at the expense of those that show qualities that one would desire in a leader: nobility, honesty and integrity. Shakespeare's key focus is the transition of power from one king or leader to his progeny. In King Lear, the title role decides to abdicate the throne and divide his kingdom equally between his three daughters: Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Whereas the first two flatter him, Cordelia is honest and is ultimately punished for it: she loses her inheritance. In another part of the story, two brothers fight for control of a dukedom.

Here Shakespeare illustrates a contradiction between well-meaning, honest people and manipulative, power-hungry people. One of the themes of King Lear is that honest people, who we might desire as


As with the case of Cordelia, this leads them to say some things that are met with reproach. On the other hand, the actions of power-hungry people are not limited, but rather they are structured in a way so as to achieve an optimal outcome, and to get power at any cost.

Paradise Lost" tells the biblical story of the fall from grace of Adam and Eve (and, by extension, all humanity) using language that is a supreme achievement of rhythm and sound. The main characters in the poem are God, Lucifer (Satan), Adam, and Eve. Much has been written about Milton's powerful and sympathetic characterization of Satan. Again, in Paradise Lost as in King Lear, a power structure is illustrated through the interactions between several key major characters. God is all-powerful and yet his actions are not unquestionable. It is a work that reflects a divine insurrection, taking themes familiar to all Milton's readers and using them to reveal the power struggle between aspects of human nature.

Rather than being a straightforward religious tract, "Paradise Lost" deals with the human's battle between his reason (Adam) and his senses (Eve). There is a large allegory/metaphor at work in the poem through which Milton is pointing…

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