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King Lear and the Odyssey

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York University
HUMA 1780
Tanja Juric

King Lear and The Odyssey Similarities y Protagonists are kings who rule in dangerous and changing times y Address the theme of powery Engage with social customs and vlues y Represent conflict between nature and culture and between the human and divine y Explore the nature of human suffering and human relations kinship family friendship Differences y Cultural and temporal differences the place and time in which they were written and cultures they represent ancient Greece Elizabethan England y Belong to different literary genres o The Odyssey is an epic o King Lear is a tragedy y Represents different kinds of kings and kingship o Odyssey is a king in his prime o King Lear is about a king at the end of his life and reign y Protagonists react differently to changes taking place in their status their societies and the world around them o Odysseus has Gods on his side always cunning and crafty adaptable resumes his place on throne and as head of family o Lear believes hes been forsaken by the Gods is humbled cannot adapt or take back his throne or place at hear of family William Shakespearey Great Elizabethan poet and playwright y Widely regarded as greatest writer in English language y Englands national poet y Many debates to who Shakespeare is King Lear y Considered Shakespeares greatest work y Said to be based on the story of the Lear of Britain when written about by Geoffrey Monmouth in History of the Kings of Britain 1135 and other stories y Write at the height of Elizabethan period y Machiavellian Ideal Machiavellian Ideal y Based on writing of Niccolo y Proposes new style of rule which differs from tradition of heredity y Suggests that power of kin isnt automatic y He must retain it by stabilizing ito By building enduring political structure o Maintaining the sociopolitical institutionQueen Elizabethy One kind of modern ruler that Machiavelli is referring to o More republican than autocratic
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