Essay On Imagery In King Lear

800 words - 3 pages

Imagery in King Lear

            In the immense amount of writing that William Shakespeare had done in his career as a playwright and or writer in general there are bound to be some consistencies and reoccurring themes that make his writing so popular and interesting.  In many cases it is hard to tell whether the thematic structure that many writers follow is intentional or not, but it is possible that there is a reasoning for a specific kind of imagery that a writer likes to outline his/her writing after.


            There are dominating images which are characteristic of Shakespeare's work throughout, however in some of the earlier plays they are very obvious and in many cases intentional.  Imagery, as defined by the Sixth Edition Handbook to Literature, is in its literal sense "a collection of images in a literary work that may be an object, phrase or entity."  The Handbook explains that imagery is often not intentional but seems to be a basis for a look at a deeper meaning of a certain piece of work.  It is important to be aware of certain recurrent images which are symbolic in Shakespeare such as the use of light and its components in Romeo and Juliet, disease and how it is used in King Lear and what I will be discussing in this paper the use of the heart as an entity and how it is used in the dramas written by William Shakespeare.


            The heart image is seen literally over a thousand times in the works of Shakespeare with a frequency of almost thirty per play and mostly in the tragedies.  With so many references of the heart used in the tragedies and the typical time frame used to perform each play, which was about two hours, the audience might hear twelve to fifteen heart images an hour and as many as one every five minutes.  Of course there are many inconsistencies in the allocation of the term within the plays with King Lear obtaining most of the references. 


            In King Lear, which seems to have a tragic double plot, the images referring to the heart cue the reader or audience to the confusion that is evident in the love between the parent and the child and the breakdown of the social bonds in which the play begins. In the play Lear seems to forget the love that he has always had for his favorite daughter, Cordelia, whose name itself  in Latin means...

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