Stories Within Stories (An Analysis Of The Narrative Structure Of Shakespeare’s King Lear & Much Ado)

860 words - 4 pages

Every story or written work ever composed has a narrative structure or plot development. Narrative structure basically means the way the story is being told and how the events are set up. A plot’s structure is the way in which the story elements are arranged. Writers vary structure depending on the needs of the story. (Neal) Shakespeare had a way of storytelling that was similar in a lot of his plays. In Shakespeare’s King Lear and Much Ado, the narrative structure contains stories within stories, a strong protagonist, and a very intense climax.
To begin, in both King Lear and Much Ado, the narrative structure contains stories within stories. In the play King Lear, the King has to choose how much land each of his three daughters will inherit. Once he decides, two of the daughters turn greedy and are ungrateful for what they receive and treat their father horribly. King Lear then meets another man, Gloucester , whose son Edmund plots against his brother Edgar making it seem like he is trying to murder his own father While introducing Gloucester into the plot, Shakespeare creates another story within. A similar thing happens in Much Ado. In this play, Claudio and Hero are the main focus as they fall in love and decide to get married. The other story within though is of Beatrice and Benedick. To pass the time in the week before the wedding, the lovers and their friends decide to play a game. They want to get Beatrice and Benedick, who are clearly meant for each other, to stop arguing and fall in love. (Jensen) Both these examples show Shakespeare’s use of two stories in one.
In addition, there is also a protagonist found in King Lear and Much Ado’s narrative structure. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a protagonist is the principal character in a literary work such as a drama or story. (“Protagonist” Merriam-Webster) The protagonist in King Lear is Lear. He is the central character, the title character, and the guy who defines the action of the play. It is his retirement that sparks all of this hullabaloo. (Shmoop Editorial Team) In Much Ado, the protagonist is in fact Beatrice, not Claudio like most would think. Beatrice is quite witty and once Benedick professes his love for her, she has the option to return it or not. She is very apprehensive to falling in love, so once she accepts Benedick’s hand in marriage, it’s a very big deal. Without these protagonists in the stories, there would be a major part missing in the development.
Finally, Shakespeare includes an intense climax...

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