King Lear And A Thousand Acres Comparative Literary Analysis

1819 words - 8 pages

King Lear, a tragedy by William Shakespeare, is about the delegation of power from the old generation to the young, new generation. Furthermore, the play demonstrates problems that can arise from a transfer made too early, from one generation to the next. A Thousand Acres is a modern retelling of King Lear, that is similar to King Lear, but it is not an exact word for word copy. The overall plot has been retained from King Lear, but some of the minor details have been changed to provide an intriguing new take on the same story. One such change is the fact the story goes from a third person view in King Lear, mostly following King Lear, to a first person narrative from the perspective of ...view middle of the document...

..” (I. I. 55-57) Regan says to her father in regard to how she loves him:
….Sir, I am made
Of the self-same mettle that my sister is,
And prize me at her worth.
In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short; that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys...
(I.I.71-76)
Lear is testing the girls to find out which one of his daughters will flatter him the most. Both Regan and Goneril pass his test and appeal to Lear's enormous ego. They talk of a lofty love towards their father which is unnecessary, unless they were trying to gain something from him as its result. The girls are trying to gain as much of the land as possible through their words, which works because Lear is used to people telling him how great he is. This shows, from the text, that the girls are going against the normal lack of power women had in this time period.
In A Thousand Acres, Ginny and Rose act submissively towards their father showing the men here have power, at least until Larry Cook decides to give up his farm. Despite their love towards their father, they also fear him. Ginny responded to her father, when he said they were going to form the corporation, “In spite of that inner clang, I tried to sound agreeable. “It's a good idea.” ”(Smiley 19). Ginny, despite her belief that the corporation is a bad idea, fears her father and is unable to state her real opinion; Ginny is afraid of how me might react to her stating her opinion. Instead of speaking her mind, Ginny goes along with her fathers wishes of the moment being agreeable. Rose, who has a desire to get her father off his land and gain control for the rest of the family, responded to the idea in this manner, “It's a great idea.” (Smiley 19). It can be inferred from the text that Rose knew how to play her father. Rose knew that if she could make the idea seem great that he would be less likely to go back on his decision, which is the very last thing Rose wanted him to do. This brings into question the family relationships that are present in both King Lear and A Thousand Acres since the children act so differently towards their father and towards each other.
King Lear and A Thousand Acres are similar in the aspect of family relationships. King Lear shows that not all family relationships turn out well. Goneril and Regan used their love towards their father to gain the kingdom and diminish his power. The relationship between Ginny and Rose is equivalent to the close relationship of Rose and Ginny. Goneril and Regan are united in the beginning of King Lear until they both end up liking Edmund, after Regan's husband has been killed. In King Lear Goneril shows her closeness to her sister by sending her a letter making sure that they are on the same page, which in light of this letter Regan rejects the letter from her own father. “If he dislike it, let him to our sister,/ Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,/Not to be over-ruled...” (I.III.15-17). You can...

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