Sunday, February 6, 2011

Essay about Disorder in KING LEAR Soon


Read this short quotation from Elyot's first chapter of Governor, written before King Lear.

Take away order from all things, what should remain? Certesnothing finally, except some man would imagine eftsoons chaos.  Also where there is any lack of order needs must be perpetual conflict.                    
*certes = certainly
Notice the word "nothing" is used.  Why?

Now read this speech delivered by Troilus to Ulysses (Odysseus) during the Trojan War, in Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida.  It expresses volumes about the importance of order in the Elizabethan World.  You will be writing an essay in which you will relate this to what you have read so far in King Lear. (You may need to do more reading.) J

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order:
And therefore is the glorious planet, Sol,
In noble eminence, enthron'd and spher'd
Amidst the other, whose med'cinable eye
Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
And posts, like the commandment of a king,
Sans* check, to good and bad. But, when the planets,
In evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents? what mutinies?
What raging of the sea? shaking of earth?
Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate**
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixture! O, when degree is shaken,
(Which is the ladder to all high designs)
The enterprise is sick! How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogenitive*** and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
(But by degree) stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And hark what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy. The bounded waters
Would lift their bosoms higher than the shores,
And make a sop of all this solid globe:
Strength would be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son would strike his father dead.
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking . . .
*sans = without (it's French)
**deracinate = uproot
***primogenitve = primogeniture as an adjective


  1. I read the poem 3 or 4 times and I feel like I still don't quite understand it in its entirety. However, I think that the poem is talking about the authority held by a king.How when a king is disobeyed and his subjects are rebellious or even treacherous, it throws everything out of whack. The country does not function as it should, nor do the laws.

  2. I've read the Poem a couple of times and you went over it in class but I don't think I entirely understand it's meaning or point. I am also confused about the due date for this Essay since you extended it.

  3. I agree with both fellow ladies, these poem are really complicated! Hmm...

  4. I think we need to go over this poem again in class, Mr.Balgley. I have to agree with the girls and raymond. It is too complicated!