North Lawndale College Prep Charter HS Senior English
Sample Introductions and Conclusions
Veriner James, Ian Taylor, and Barry McRaith, 2008-2009
Sample Introductions The Interrogative Introduction King Lear may be the most tragic of Shakespeare's tragedies. Nothing exceeds the emotion of Lear’s bending over his dead Cordelia, looking for life in her and then expiring himself. But what should we think of Lear generally? Is he the vain, irascible and doddering old man many readers and viewers make him out to be—a view quite close to the one held by his two bad daughters, Goneril and Regan? If so, why, then, at the end, do we not only pity but admire him as a man of very great soul, a much greater man than the loyal Earl of Gloucester, his lesser counterpart in the parallel story of the two men? Or is Lear a victim of a much greater force — the true source of all evil that may be represented by Edmund but existing within each of us? Robert Falls’ production of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, King Lear, spotlights verbal images of villainy, treacherous diction, and visual images of the horror of war to pronounce that each of us is liable to greed’s seductiveness. The Personal (Anecdote) Introduction In my opinion, most pain is self-inflicted. For example, due to my foolish tendencies, I lost my sense of smell. When I was eight years old, I maced myself on three separate occasions. I wanted to know if mace had a smell in addition to the horrible pain, and ironically, these acts of stupidity cost me my sense of smell. At the time, I didn’t really have the common sense not to mace myself; the first time can be an honest mistake, but the second and third times were just plain stupid. Villains are similarly stupid. Villains end up causing themselves a lot of pain because they don’t have the common sense to stop while they’re ahead. Robert Falls’ production of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, King Lear, spotlights verbal images of villainy, treacherous diction, and visual images of the horror of war to pronounce that each of us is liable to greed’s seductiveness. The Broadly Philosophic (Theme-based) Introduction The concept of Nature in Shakespeare’s King Lear is not simply one of many themes to be uncovered and analyzed; rather, Nature can be considered the foundation of the whole play. From Kingship to personal human relations, from representations of the physical world to notions of the heavenly realm, from the portrayal of human nature to the use of animal imagery, Nature permeates every line of King Lear. But, however powerful the thundering literal force of Nature within King Lear may be, Robert Falls’ and William Shakespeare’s figurative power of Nature — their diction and verbal and visual imagery — far exceeds the horrors of being abandoned in the worst of violent storms. Robert Falls’ production of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, King Lear, spotlights verbal images of villainy, treacherous diction, and visual images of the horror of war to show that each of us is liable to greed’s seductiveness.
Other Possible Introduction Techniques: The Narrative or Anecdote Introduction The Data (Statistics, Facts, Etc.) Introduction The Allusion Introduction The Descriptive Introduction
Sample Conclusions The Implicit Conclusion (The Most Sophisticated Conclusion, whereby the Conclusion has already been clearly implied through the use of Synthesis within the Body and does not need to be stated) The Explicit Conclusion: Restating the Theme Using a Quote from the Work As the faithful Kent watches the distraught Lear holding Cordelia's body in his arms, he expresses a sentiment that members of the audience may well share, saying "Is this the promised end?" (101). King Lear is not a tragic hero, though; he is a pathetic, powerless, and infirm old man whose story resembles that of all human beings, ending not with a bang but with a whimper when the mortal coil of life unwinds. The Explicit Conclusion: The Thematic Summary (using Plot Summary) Conclusion A tragic hero gains insight through suffering. Neither Lear nor Gloucester realizes he has committed an error until he has suffered. Lear's suffering is so intense that it drives him mad; it is in this desolate health that Lear fully realizes his mistake in giving the kingdom to his two savage daughters and disowning the one daughter who loves him. It is not until Gloucester has been blinded that he learns the truth about his two sons. These two characters learn to endure their suffering. When Gloucester's attempt to commit suicide fails, he decides to bear his affliction until the end. In his madness Lear learns to endure his agony. Later, when he knows he is to be imprisoned, he maintains this misfortune with a passive calmness. He has grown spiritually through painfully achieved self-knowledge and through Cordelia's love. Tragedy in King Lear is not only seen through itself, but also through the character of the King and other characters. The “This-is-What-I’ve-Done-in-my-Essay” Conclusion (not recommended) In conclusion, I have attempted to show that the representation of Nature in King Lear is more than simply one theme amongst many. I have shown that not only is it an intricate part of the play but also inherent in contemporary society. King Lear reflects the social and political beliefs at the time while also reinforcing them. The Personal Conclusion (not recommended) I think that King Lear is a great play that shows the reader that, although you may be a false person, you can fool people who are blind. This was certainly the case with Goneril and Regan. They showered Lear with such great words of flattery that he regarded them as his true daughters and left them everything because he really felt that they deserved it. He did not leave Cordelia anything because she did not flatter him like the others and therefore felt that she did not love him at all. In truth, she loved him more than her other sisters because she really did feel the "bond" that they had as father and daughter. I think this makes King Lear a great play. Other Possible Conclusion Techniques: Any of the Introduction techniques can, if skillfully handled, become a Conclusion technique: The Interrogative Conclusion The Personal (Anecdote) Conclusion The Broadly Philosophic (Theme-based) Conclusion The Narrative or Anecdote Conclusion The Data (Statistics, Facts, Etc.) Conclusion The Allusion Conclusion The Descriptive Conclusion