click src="https://image.slidesharecdn.com/comparativeessay-athousandacresandkinglear-140725183001-phpapp01/95/comparative-essay-a-thousand-acres-and-king-lear-1-638.jpg?cb\u003d1406313104" data-lazy-type="image" alt="just need put message" class="lazy lazy-hidden alignright size-full wp-image-111" width="220">Representations of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear Sarah Doncaster The concept of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear 1 is not simply one of many themes to be uncovered and analysed, but rather it can be considered to be the foundation of the whole play.
From Kingship through to personal human relations, from representations of the physical world to notions of the heavenly realm, from the portrayal of human nature to the use of animal imagery; Nature permeates every line of King Lear.
Shakespeare and Nature
However as I intend to argue, Nature in all of these contexts click to see more a social construct, which is utilized in order to legitimise the existing social order. In order to do this it is first necessary to draw a very brief sketch of the political and social beliefs of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages, whilst outlining my arguments for believing that Nature is a socially constructed concept.
In light of these arguments I will then analyse the representations of nature in King Lear to show how the play can be seen as both a portrayal of and a contribution to the social and political beliefs of the time. It is well documented that both the Elizabethan and Jacobean age were not known for their unity. It was a time of change and upheaval, Elizabeth I never married and therefore left no heir to the throne, leaving her subjects to worry about who would succeed her, and what was to become of them; when James I succeeded her to become the first Stuart King, although he ended Nature Essay King Lear war with Spain inhe Nature Essay King Lear not overcome the deep-seated political and financial problems that dogged the state.
Therefore in order to overcome any debate on Kingship regarding legitimacy or efficiency the representation of unity and harmony between the state and Nature was of paramount importance to his continued reign. By connecting the notion of the Divine to Kings, James I is legitimising his power through naturalisation, the very fact that James I felt it necessary to reiterate this concept in parliament suggests that it was a social construct, not a natural fact, designed to legitimise and protect the interests of the monarchy.
The concept of 'the Great Chain of Being' follows on from the notion of the Divine Right of Kings and again legitimises the actions of those holding power. For if by 'nature' everyone and everything has its place, and knows its duties and obligations to that place, then the status quo is maintained and those that hold the power cannot Nature Essay King Lear questioned.
Shakespeare belonged to a world where notions of man, his nature Nature Essay King Lear his place in the universe were an amalgamation of both Christian and pagan philosophies. According to Reese, 'it provided a cosmological system which, though complicated, inconsistent and even uncertain in its details, was definite in outline and purpose, and its core was the assurance of the unity and intimate correspondence of the whole of God's creation.
The fundamental principle of this universe was order, with God at the head of his hierarchy in the heavenly realm, and man, who was created in God's image, at the head of the physical world, with Kings at the head of the state. This belief in the social order stemming from the natural order is an important concept to grasp when examining the read article of nature being utilized to maintain the status quo.
The Tragedy of King Lear by William Shakespeare is founded on the theme of Nature portrayed throughout the play from Lear’s kingship to personal human relations. An essay on the role of nature in King Lear. Representations of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear Sarah Doncaster The concept of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear. Nature in King Lear - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. This essay is very helpful for M.A. English students. shakespeare's. An Analysis of Nature in King Lear The concept of Nature in Shakespeare's King Lear 1 is not simply one of many themes to be uncovered and analyzed, but rather it. Representations of Nature in King Lear - We are lucky, today, that the Free Essay on Shakespeare's King Lear - Is King Lear a Good King?.
Closely associated with the belief in an ordered universe was the concept of nature as a benign force in the universe. Nature in this sense was a principle of order linking all spheres of existence in their proper relationships.
Reese suggests that 'the endlessly recurring correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm, was the most significant of the symbols which proclaimed the order and unity of the world, for it proclaimed at the same time the special place which man occupied in the universal scheme'. If we accept the proposal that the Renaissance 5 concept of nature was socially constructed, then we can understand the necessity of representing disorder breeding disorder, because it reinforces the need to conform.
It was thought that unity was easily displaced because disorder in any part of the universe causes disorder in its corresponding part. This interdependence of man and nature is a theme, which is explored in Lear; men are never represented in isolation, but always in relation to the divine hierarchy, the physical world and the world of animals.
Once the concept of http://agnix.info/edu-help/help-with-my-geology-blog-post.php between man's nature and the natural world is understood in terms of legitimising the social order, it becomes easier to contextualise the actions of Lear with the almost constant references to nature. The tragedy of King Lear stems from Lear's attempt to subvert the 'natural' social order by relinquishing his crown to his daughters.
Once disorder is initiated by Lear's revocation of his powers and rights as King, disaster in corresponding hierarchies follow. Lear's relinquishment of his power is in direct opposition to the concept of the Divine Right of Kings.
According to the laws of nature which as I have proposed were socially constructed it was source for Lear to stop being a king, because that was his rightful position by divine ordination and in fact throughout the play he is still referred to as the King, even though he has divided his crown.
Also Lear is unable to stop seeing himself as the King, which can be seen from his banishment of Kent, soon after he has relinquished his powers: Hear me, recreant, on thine allegiance, hear me: That thou hast sought to make us break our vows, Which we durst never yet, and with strained pride To come betwixt our sentence and our power, Which nor our nature, nor our place can bear, Our potency made good take thy reward.
Aside from the natural position of Continue reading the natural social order can also be seen in terms of power relations between characters: King over subjects, fathers over daughters, husbands over wives.
Nature Essay King Lear naturalisation can be seen as being represented by the character of Lear. He possesses his daughters, because according to the Great Chain of Being he presides over them, therefore it is only 'natural' that they should proclaim their love for him. This is an important concept in a society where women are Nature Essay King Lear to be the property of men until they get married and then they become the property of their husbands.
Although Cordelia Nature Essay King Lear be said to be disobedient by not fulfilling her father's wishes, and this in itself could be taken as a subversion of the social order, I feel that her loyal and loving behaviour towards her father, despite being banished from both his kingdom and his love, is in itself affirmation of the social order.
It is Lear's actions that bring about the tragedy, not Cordelia's and this is important to bear in mind when evaluating the importance of Cordelia's disobedience.
Lear's power and its intimate connection with nature is shown at its height when he Nature Essay King Lear the treachery of Regan and Goneril and as he releases his anger at them, whilst refusing to weep, the stage directions tell of a 'storm and tempest' 11 which can be interpreted as the heavens responding to Lear's rage.
Both this and the centrality of the storm within the play helps us to comprehend the correspondence between Lear and Nature, and therefore reinforcing the necessity to maintain the status quo. To examine the portrayal of human nature and its relation to Nature, I intend to look to the subplot contained within King Lear.
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Gloucester, as we learn from the beginning of the play has two sons, Edgar who is legitimate and Edmund who is illegitimate. Edmund's illegitimacy read more his actions that stem from it highlight the distinction between nature and the 'natural' social order.
Both of Gloucester's sons are his by nature, as can be seen from his admission that Edmund's 'breeding, sir, hath been at my charge' 12 but he goes on to acknowledge that the distinction between Edgar and Edmund is one enforced by society, for Edgar is his son 'by order of law Edmund's behaviour throughout the play comes from his urge to satisfy his appetite go here his brother's legitimacy and thereby gain his property and status.
Edmund manages to persuade Gloucester that Edgar is plotting against him, whilst favouring himself, and Edmund is also instrumental in the blinding of Gloucester, when Edmund betrays Gloucester to Cornwall as a traitor. He gets his reward when Cornwall states to him, 'it hath made thee Earl of Gloucester. However as the play begins to reach its conclusion, there is a duel between Edgar and Edmund in which Edmund is wounded and killed by Edgar, thereby restoring the natural social order, and proving that legitimacy is always superior to illegitimacy, no matter how clever it is.
The division between the natural social order and animal nature can also be seen when Lear realises that both Regan and Goneril do not love as they professed to. This serves to highlight the distinction between human nature and animal nature, suggesting that they are not harmonious and united. The animal imagery in King Lear is always used in derogatory terms to indicate the unnaturalness of a character's behaviour in comparison to how they should behave if they observed the natural social order.
This contradiction again underlines the distinction between Nature and the 'natural social order' and perhaps can be seen best when examining the characters of Regan and Goneril and the reaction of other characters towards them. At the beginning of the play Goneril and Regan comply with Nature Essay King Lear Father's request for them to declare how much they love him.
However once they have received from their father his power and his lands, their attitude and behaviour towards him swiftly changes.
Goneril almost immediately finds fault with the behaviour of Lear and his knights, and when she confronts Lear, he berates her and calls her see more 'detested kite' 17 on whom Regan would show her nails to her 'wolvish visage. Thus animal nature is defeated and the social order restored.
However the 'natural' social order is not restored to what it was at the beginning of the play. This emphasises the disasters that follow disobedience, for all those who died have disobeyed the 'natural' social order, whereas both Edgar and Albany acted in accordance with it. In conclusion, I have attempted to show that the representation of Nature in King Lear is more than simply one theme amongst many.
I have shown that not only is it an intricate part of the play but also inherent in contemporary society. King Lear reflects the social and political beliefs at the time whilst also reinforcing them. This can be seen from James I recommendation to his heir: And in case it please God to prouide you to all these three Kingdomes, make your eldest son Nature Essay King Lear, leauing him all your kindomes; and prouide the rest with priuate possessions: Otherwayes by deuiding your kingdomes, yee shall leaue the seed of diuision and discord among your posteritie; as befell to this Ile, by the diuision and assignement thereof, to the three sonnes of Brutus, Locrine, Albanact, and Camber.
How to cite this article: Representations of Nature in King Lear. Footnotes  All further quotes from Lear are taken from this edition. Shakespeare his world and his work.
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