Comparative analysis of two extracts of shakespeare's writing: a sonnet, and a play.

Essay by camrostiUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, January 2004

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Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 104' & an extract of blank verse from Shakespeare's 'King Lear'.

The main similarity between the two pieces is quite simply love. However, Shakespeare aimed the sonnet at his male lover as a compliment to his youthful beauty, but the aim of the extract was to inform his audience that Lear is dying from a broken heart. This shows their main difference.

Structurally, the two pieces reflect this difference. The tragic context of the Lear extract results in Shakespeare's use of blank verse, as he is well known for using poetry to portray happiness and prose (blank verse) to reflect disorder or unhappiness. This is due to the fact that poetry seems to have a more regular and fixed patterning - reflecting the order and control that is associated with happiness, whereas prose has a less repetitive structure - which is linked to the insanity and loss of control associated with melancholy.

As a more linguistic result of this thematic difference, Shakespeare uses less long vowel sounds (e.g.: 'fair'; 'old' compared to: 'dog'; 'rat') in the blank verse compared to the sonnet because the longer sounds offer a more tranquil and peaceful tone aurally and resultantly strike a similar tone in the emotions of his audience.

Another linked difference, linguistically, is the repetition of obscenities in the blank verse ('O, o, o, o.'). This shows how Lear, unlike Shakespeare in his sonnet, is in such an agony that he cannot muster words. This repetition is not solely of obscenities. It is also of words like 'no' and 'never', which have negative connotations. This not only emphasises the despondency of Lear, but also the confusion and psychosis he is suffering as a result of his beloved daughter's death.

In the extract Lear asks...