Looking At Emotions In Shakespeares Work English Literature Essay

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Shakespeares works portray many emotions in people, however the emotions contrast. His sonnets and his love plays are passionate and show love, making the reader experience and feel these emotions. In contrast, other works show torment, madness, fear, grief, hatred and death. If you look closely contrasting emotions like love and hate are felt so strongly within some of the same pieces of work.

In contrast to the great love and passion we see in some of Shakespeare's work, other pieces show powerful torment, madness, fear, grief, and hatred, all which end in death. In his tragedies, such as Macbeth, and King Lear, we see the death of the main character. Leading up to each death the reader gets pulled into the characters grief, torment, or hatred. The reader can feel or sympathize with the main character's emotions.

During one of his tragedies, Macbeth, he shows madness, hatred and death. In Act I of this play, Macbeth wants the throne, to become king; however he must kill King Duncan in the process. His wife asks the gods to remove all the womanly features and make her more of a man, so that she can pursue this task upon King Duncan.

Now that Macbeth has killed King Duncan he only has the King's sons to get rid of before he becomes king himself. This hatred he has for King Duncan and his family is the hatred that we see throughout the play, when he kills the royal family. Macbeth doesn't want his friends to know that he killed King Duncan, so he goes on a huge killing streak. His madness shows in killing most of the people he knew. He really didn't want anyone eventually finding out that he killed the King.

In another one of Shakespeare's tragedy plays King Lear, we see that King Lear is ready to retire his thrown and will divide his kingdom into three equal parts, for his three daughters. However he asks his daughters to say how much they love him, the older two say they love them very much, while the youngest stays quiet. Instead Cordella (the youngest of the three) finally responds,

"Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth: I love your majesty According to my bond; no more no less." (King Lear Act 1)

"It has been said that love and hate, like joy and sorrow, are two sides of the same emotional coin. Others insist, rather cryptically, that there is no hate without love." (Fallon, 3)

Characters like Othello go from one extreme to the other. They show both love and hate. They go from joy to sorry, jealousy and madness. Othello is

"Shakespeare's famous play of love turned bad by unfounded jealousy." (Unknown 1)

We see by Othello's words,

"but that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhoused free condition put into circumscription and confine for the sea's worth," (Othello, Act 1, Scene 2)

his great love for his wife. We can see that she stood up to her father, and then asked to go with Othello into war.

"The rites for which I love him are bereft me, and I a heavy interim shall support by his dear absence, let me go with him." (Othello, Act 1, Scene 3)

Othello begins with the joy of trusting and loving his wife.

"My life upon her faith! Honest Iago my Desdemona must I leave to thee." (Othello Act 1, Scene 3)

"It gives me wonder great as my content to see you here before me. Oh, my soul's joy!" (Othello Act 2, Scene 1)

Not realizing Iago hates him, Othello lets his great love for Desdemona become twisted into jealousy because of the lies of Iago. Iago makes Othello believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. Because of this he goes mad, becoming obsessed with the fact that she supposedly cheated on him.

"Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue the shot of accident nor the dart of chance could neither graze nor pierce? Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?" (Othello Act 4, Scene 1)

He plots with Iago to kill Cassio, and then he will kill his wife. Even when he is ready to kill her, hating her for cheating and for dishonoring him, you can see his madness, kissing her, loving her, but still needing to kill her.

"Oh, balmy breath, that dost almost persuade Justice to break her sword! One more, one more, be thus when thou art dead and I will kill thee and love thee after. One more and that's the last. So sweet was ne'er so fatal." (Othello Act 5, Scene 2).

Not dead right away, Desdemona loves Othello so much that she doesn't say it was him who kills her. When he finally realizes the mistake he made in believing Iago he kills himself, showing his love for her again.

In conclusion, Shakespeare's works have a contrasting emotion in them that has to do with both love and hate. As Wolsey would say:

"So farewell-to the little good you bear me.

Farewell? a long farewell to all my greatness!

This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth

The tender leaves of hopes, to-morrow blossoms,

And bears his blushing honors thick upon him;

The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,

And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely

His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,

And then he falls as I do." (Henry the Eighth Act 3, scene 2, 350-358)

Shakespeare's works portray many emotions in people. The style in his works seems to contrast each other with opposite emotions like love and hate. In other works however you can see both contrasting emotions at the same time.