shakespeare discussion post about king lear

Close Reading Instructions:

This assignment builds on last week’s assignment by asking you to write TWO analytical paragraphs about King Lear. Although I am not requiring you to submit the etymology portion of the assignment, I do encourage use to apply that research skill in order to analyze lines in this play.

To get started, please close-read the 15-20 lines from King Lear. Why do your keywords stand out as being important? You should also focus on other repeated words, a striking or troubling image, or another choice that seems worth analyzing. How does the word/image contribute to the larger meaning of the text? Please be sure to include 2 -3 sentences of analysis for every line of text you quote.

You should then reflect on how the performance of the lines—and of your keyword specifically—might affect an audience’s interpretation of lines. For example, how might an actor’s facial expression, body language, emotion, or tone of voice influence our interpretation of the lines? Can you imagine multiple ways that an actor might deliver these lines (and particularly your key word)? How does the delivery change the audience’s understanding of the soliloquy?

You are still welcome to follow this 4-step structure if you need a bit of help in order to close read and analyze the play:

  • The first step in providing evidence is coming to terms with the author’s meaning; “coming to terms” means contextualizing the quotation you intend you use. This step introduces your reader to the topic of the quotation.
  • Quote the text. In addition to providing context for your reader, you need to think more about linking the author’s language to your own points. You should use the author’s key words to advance your own point rather than letting the quotation be the point. One way to approach this is to follow your quotation with two sentences.
  • The first sentence (re)uses the author’s key words to make your point. Pull out the key terms from the quotation and use them to make a point (i.e. don’t just restate them). This is where you will analyze the quotation.
  • The second sentence tells the reader why your point matters. Don’t rely on your reader to figure out the significance of your argument.

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