Shakespears King Lear and Dantes Inferno- human suffering

General Directions:

Length: 1200 words, excluding quotations.  At the top of your paper, please provide two word counts: one for the paper excluding quotations, and one for the quotations themselves.  These word counts must be exact, not estimated.  Font: Times New Roman.  Font size: 12.  Double space.  No cover sheet necessary.  Please staple (no paper clips).  All papers are to be submitted anonymously.  Rather than your name, provide the last 4 digits of your SSN.  On the back of the paper, please print your name by hand in the upper right-hand corner.  Due at the beginning of class.


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Shakespeares King Lear and Dantes Inferno make several specific assertions regarding the nature of human suffering.  Some of these assertions may be placed in the category of “admonition”—that is, reproof, warning, or cautionary advice.  Others register simply as lament.

Discuss the correspondences between the two works in their exploration of human suffering, their thematic mosaic of admonition and lament.  In what ways are the works similar in what they seem to suggest about human suffering?  In what ways do they differ?  And most importantly, what are the implications of these differences?  Why do these differences matter to us?

Choose the organizational approach to this topic that you feel best explores its issues, given the limitations of the assignments 1200-word length.  Many rewarding approaches are possible.  Be careful to substantiate the turns in your argument with specific references to specific episodes as well as direct quotations.  Avoid relying too heavily upon ideas from lectures and discussions.  Among the quotations you cite, you must include at least two from both King Lear and the Inferno that we have not covered in class.

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