English 205:
Discussion Question 6

Shakespeare, King Lear
The Metaphysical Poets

Directions: After reading the lecture, answer one of the questions below. This answer is due no later than Thursday, Apr. 12.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, Apr. 15. Remember: in order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 other people's postings.

This set of discussion questions is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers receive 0 points, so post early :)

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Just answer one of the following questions.

1. In Shakespeare's King Lear, Cordelia refuses to flatter her father and is disowned. Do you think she was right or wrong in refusing to tell him what he wanted to hear?

2. How is the theme of "blindness" explored in this play?

3. How does the subplot of the play (the story of Gloucester, Edgar, and Edmund) serve to support the main plot of the play?

4. Most writers and critics of the 18th and 19th centuries disliked the Metaphysical poets, for a variety of reasons. (They were not taken seriously until T. S. Eliot championed them in the early 20th century.) The criticism levelled against them the most often was that their appeal was to the intellect rather than to the emotions. Matthew Arnold, a Victorian poet and critic, for example, argued that they were inferior poets, since "...their poetry is conceived and composed in their wits, genuine poetry is conceived and composed in the soul. The difference between the two kinds of poetry is immense" (Matthew Arnold, Essays in Criticism, 1865). Do you agree with this assessment? Give specific quotes and examples from the poems to support your opinion.

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