King Lear

Jane Smiley’s novel A Thousand Acres viewed as a feminist revising of Shakespeare’s King Lear. College

William Shakespeare’s King Lear recounts a tale of a father and his three daughters as he decides to divide up his kingdom based on who loves him the most. Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres is a modern day King Lear farm with Larry Cook’s three daughters, Ginny, Rose and Caroline. Jane Smiley’s novel A Thousand Acres can be viewed as an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. More specifically, Smiley’s novel can be seen as a feminist criticism upon Shakespeare’s King Lear by in turn criticizing the male dominated roles that overpower the play. This is evident in a variety of parallels present between the two texts such as the whole of the novel being presented through Ginny’s eyes but also questions as to whether Smiley’s novel actually being considered feminist. One of the theories that I will be focusing on is Edmonson and Holbrook’s book of Shakespeare’s Creative Legacies (2016) which highlights the potential of modern authors rewriting Shakespeare. Such ideas include marginalized voices being given more prominence in a modern setting for examples in King Lear females do not have a dominant voice throughout the play due to social hierarchies.

In contrast, Jane Smiley presents a far more female dominated voice throughout...

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