12 Oct. Interpretation.

Part I. Housekeeping

Arts & Sciences Majors Fair

Close Reading Leftovers

  • Group Four: 11.115-122

  • Group Five: 13.70-75

    Part II. Writing Close Reading

    • 1. What are some of literary/rhetorical features that readers look for when close reading texts?
    • 2. What are some elements that make up successful literary analysis paragraphs?  



    Elements of Analysis Paragraphs

    • 1.Topic sentence: restates claim to transition from previous paragraph and introduces new information to follow.
    • 2. Transition from topic sentence that sets up the citation. Describe the context and/or major theme in the citation you plan to include next.
    • 3. In-text citation in MLA format. Remember format long/block quotes accordingly.
    • 4. Close analysis: give an overview of the passage and then Overview]pick out one or two key features from the bit of text you cite and explain how those features help you understand the passage, the play, and/or the major themes of the paper.
    • 5.Tie your analysis back into the larger goal/claim of the paper and set-up your transition to the next paragraph.


    [Topic Sentence]While human judgement, and not some magical, pre-social idea of Nature, seems to shape the events of the play, characters persist in blaming the stars for the circumstances in which they find themselves. [Transition] During his second, clandestine meeting with the unnamed Gentleman, for instance, Kent does not attribute the differences he perceives between Gonoril and Cordelia to each characters’ judgement. [Signal phrase] Instead, he throws up his hands and exclaims, “It is the stars/The stars above us govern our conditions,/Else one self mate and make could not beget/such different issues” (17.33-36). [Overview] According to Kent, divine intervention is the only explanation for why Cordelia’s disposition is so much different than her sister’s when they share the same parents. [Literary/Rhetorical Features] And yet, Kent’s own syntax belies his world view. The chiasmus, that is the reverse repetition of “stars” suggests he has to convince himself that Nature conditions human life. While he is able to reject both Lear’s divinely sanctioned banishment, as well as the conditions of his birth, Kent still clings to the notion that humans are not responsible for the conditions in which they find themselves. [Back to Claim] In other words, Kent produces the conditions of his life but despite all evidence to the contrary, he continues to blame the stars. [Transition] The reliance on an idea of Nature that precedes and shapes human life, and idea that Kent’s repetition exemplifies, exacerbates the larger ecological catastrophe that the play stages.

    [New Paragraph] The History of King Lear depicts ways human judgement contributes to ecological disaster on a grand scale…

    Part III. Discussion

    The History of King Lear, Scenes 14-19

    Be prepared to point to the text that supports your response to the questions:
    • 1. Why do Regan and Cornwall blind Gloucester?
    • 2. What accounts for Albany’s change of attitude toward his wife? Describe some of the criticisms he levels at her.
    • 3. Why can’t Gloucester recognize his own son?
    • 4. Who, or what, governs our fate according to Kent, and how does his point of view on fate/nature square with his trajectory in the play?
    • 5. How does Cordelia describe Lear at the beginning of scene 18?

    Part IV: Quiz

    Please clear your desk and then complete the following:
    I’ll pass around the quizzes and then you will have the remainder of the class to complete them. Choose two of the five passages and respond to the prompts.

    KL Quiz Scenes 8-19

    If you do not have your book, use the the Internet Shakespeare Quarto Edition

    The equivalent passages are as follows: 9.1701-1714; 11.1881-1888; 14.2128-2138; 16.2301-2303.5; and 18.2351-2360