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"Bottoming Out" Essay on King Lear

dani21 2 / 5  
Mar 15, 2012   #1
I am taking an independant english course and i am struggling with this essay.

Write an essay of 800 to 1000 words on "Bottoming Out" finding the place where there is no way to go but up. This essay should refer specifically to King Lear and address these questions:

a) Where is bottom in terms of both situation and character?
b)How can one know on e had reached bottom?
c)What, if anything, is the benefit of reaching bottom?

Discuss these questions in a general way, explaining your ideas carefully, and use some example from King Lear.

I still need to come up with my concluding statements for the body paragraphs.

also in the rubric it says that my introduction should explain "interpretations" im not quite sure this means.

I would appreciate any editing and pointers.
Thank you in advance.

When a person "bottoms out" they are at the lowest point in their life both mentally and physically. Bottom is a frightful stage that some may encounter in life as it extends to the point where their existence becomes unbearable. However, this downfall may be beneficial to those who can gather the strength and use it as a turning point for the better. At the same time, there are many people who cannot fight to get out of this dark place, and it can claim their lives. "Bottoming out" is exemplified in the protagonist of William Shakespeare's tragedy, King Lear. In order to interpret the gradual process of Lear's incidences with "bottoming out," it is essential to analyze the context of his life, and the circumstances around his different conflicts.

For King Lear particular events cause his character to weaken and eventually fall to a point where he hits "rock bottom". Generally, bottom is where it is no longer possible to worsen ones state in life and for Lear, this low point in being resides within his inevitable madness. Lear's descent toward madness escalates in his confrontation of the dreadful storm, "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!/You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout/Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!" (III.ii.1-3). Lear reluctantly surrenders to his oncoming madness as he wishes for the storm to flood the earth. He attempts to fight his madness throughout the beginning of the play but, because of the harsh treatment from his daughters, Lear's folly becomes inevitable. Concluding sentence

Furthermore, just like anyone else who reaches bottom, Lear has lost everything that he ever cared for. His daughter's disloyalty is devastating and pushes him into sudden state of solitude where he is stripped of all his authority. In Lear's circumstances this is bottom, where there is nowhere else to go but up as he is socially fallen to the level of a beggar. Considering he has no home, family, or power Lear undergoes a significant drop from his previous title as king. When people are no longer able to feel any sort of pleasure or happiness they will know they have hit bottom. Lear's madness and his misery causes him to realize that he is at the deepest point of his life. "Prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease./This tempest will not give me leave to ponder/ On things would hurt me more" (III.iv.23-25). It is evident that Lear is aware of his poor state as he refuses to take shelter from the storm, claiming that physical pains relieve him from the dreadful misery that his daughters have lead him to. Lear realizes he has hit bottom as he feels his sanity slip away and no longer cares for his physical health. Concluding sentence

Moreover, despite its hardships, reaching bottom can be beneficial because in reaching this lowest state of life there is nowhere to go other than up. In other words, there is nothing one can do to worsen their matters. For King Lear, upon dwelling in this low state of life, he gains a new branch of wisdom that he was deprived of as king. "Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.-/Off, off, you lendings! Come. Unbutton here" (III.iv.99-100). Lear develops a sense of sympathy towards Edgar and realizes it is only the flimsy surface of garments that marks the difference between a king and a beggar. Lear's attempt to bare himself is a sign that he now understands the similarities between him and Edgar despite their titles in society. Lear moves from self pity to pity for others. He is able to rid himself of his pride and gains a new found respect for those, such as Edgar, whom he would originally consider to be futile from his previous outlook as king. Overall, in spite of his suffering Lear's incidence with "bottoming out" ultimately makes a turn for the better. Concluding sentence.

All things considered, for anyone, hitting rock bottom is a complex and tumultuous event. This is further exemplified in the "bottoming out" of the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragic play King Lear. Once a noble and powerful king Lear loses everything he's ever stood for and descends into madness. Although Lear's crucial suffering allows him gain a new sense of wisdom and humility. In most circumstances one may not obtain the strength to overcome their downfall and only continue to suffer. While, in observing King Lear, it is understandable that benefits can arise as a result of "hitting rock bottom". In this, one can learn to view "rock bottom" as a point where there is nothing more to lose but everything to gain.
chalumeau /  
Mar 16, 2012   #2
You are working on two King Lear essays?

King Lear isn't in AA.
The theme of "rock bottom" doesn't lead anywhere in your paper.

If you write a thesis statement, it must say something other than
a mere description.
1) King Lears uses the theme of "hitting the bottom" in his new stand-up
comedy routine to prove to himself and the audience that he's over the troubled water.
2) King Lear hits rock bottom in Shakespeare's play of the same name, which leads
him to reconciliation with his estranged mistresses and children through the use of rhymed
couplets and sonnets.
3) Hitting rock bottom in Shakespeare's King Lear is portrayed through the king's use of
blue-colored silk scarves fashioned elegantly around the neck, the predecessor, some
would say, of the ascot.

I simply cannot believe an English professor wrote this question.
I do not believe in the concept of a rock bottom. There's always something more that
can happen. It's true, however, that some do not let go of pride until their deathbed,
but I see that as a character flaw. Everyone has at least a little one.

Sorry. Je suis desolee.
OP dani21 2 / 5  
Mar 16, 2012   #3
I am doing an independant course i have to write ten essays in total, five for King Lear and five for Margret Laurence's novel, The Stone angel. This topic confuses me because it says to talk about "bottoming out" in a general way... so im not really trying to prove anything? im use to developing arguments in my essays and the thesis being the main point i am trying to prove.
chalumeau /  
Mar 16, 2012   #4
In every independent study I've ever done, I've had the ability to choose the topic. That's what independent study means, isn't it?

Hmm... 5 essays on King Lear and 5 on The Stone Angel. Sounds like a challenge. I'll reread King Lear today and give you a better

informed opinion. When are the essays due? What 5 ideas do you have? I always thought it would be fun to use one or two of the

characters and write another play. What do you think? How about the King Lear approach to psychoanalysis? King Lear for Kids? (using toys instead of kingdom)

Read through my (hopefully) funny renditions of the thesis. Notice how I'm saying (or implying or judging) more than what happens in the play.

I've received an A on every single Shakespeare essay I've ever written in high school and college. Those A's are my credentials.
OP dani21 2 / 5  
Mar 16, 2012   #5
The essays for King Lear are due on Monday. I have done three of them so far I'm currently working on the fourth one, this one is more of an assignment.. I'm being asked to analyze "Is This the Promised End?" by Joyce Carol Oates i was given an abridged version. The other four assessments are short essays only supposed to be 800-1000 words and i have been assigned topics for all of them. The topics are

1)destruction of the old order
2)Lear's progress from denial, rage to isolation
3)"Bottoming Out" finding the place where there is nowhere to go but up and relating it to King Lear
then finally the last one which i have not started yet says to trace Lear's physical and spiritual journey throughout the play.
chalumeau /  
Mar 16, 2012   #6
"Father Ed did give Bill a copy of the Spiritual Exercises in 1952, underlining the "Two Standards" meditation. When Father Ed met Bill, moreover, he had called him to the place where he bottomed out and surrendered to his Higher Power. Father Ed believed that this was the place where humiliations led to humility and then to all other blessings. In saying this, he paraphrased Ignatius's closing prayer of the "Two Standards" meditations." From barefootsworld.net/aafreddowling.html

How about reading St. Ignatius


Then define "rock bottom."

It's possible that Shakespeare would have known about these meditations.

I don't believe that a person needs to be humiliated in order to achieve humility.
I don't believe that at all. Any person who has true faith does not need to be humiliated.
Unnecessary humiliation leads to much destruction in my experience.

What do you think?

"Lear develops a sense of sympathy towards Edgar and realizes it is only the flimsy surface of garments that marks the difference between a king and a beggar. Lear's attempt to bare himself is a sign that he now understands the similarities between Edgar and himself despite their different titles. Lear moves from self pity to pity for others. He is able to rid himself of his pride and gains a new found respect for those, such as Edgar, whom he used to consider _____." Best part of the essay. Try and expand this idea.

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