Misogyny in King Lear

In King Lear, each of Lear’s three daughters represent different negative qualities of women. The manner in which they are portrayed suggests strong misogyny throughout the play. Shakespeare reveals his interpreted weakness of each female character by highlighting Goneril’s infidelity to Albany, Cordelia’s flawed relationship with her father, as well as the power Regan holds over Cornwall. The characteristics of the female characters and their consequent punishments indicate Shakespeare’s misogyny. 

Shakespeare portrays Goneril as cold-hearted due to her unfaithful relationship with Albany and ultimately suggests that these qualities were deserving of death. It appears that Goneril believes she has done everything right by lying to her father about her love and remaining faithful to her husband despite her feelings for Edmund.  Shakespeare’s misogyny is highlighted when he kills Goneril as punishment for her lack of control and infidelity. 

Cordelia’s insubordination and subsequent death is a clear depiction of Shakespeare’s misogynistic tone. She admits she is unable to love her father more and respects him enough not to lie like her sisters did. While her truthfulness initially seems respectable, Shakespeare portrays it as disrespectful and Cordelia is punished by death

Regan holds power in the play which is ultimately the reason Shakespeare portrays her in such a negative light. Regan has more wealth and power than Cornwall and therefore holds the dominant position in the relationship. Shakespeare portrays Regan as villainous because of her ability to overpower Cornwall. The servants exemplify the play’s view on women by making various hateful comments about Regan, one of which is “Women will all turn monsters”. Her ability to gain power in a relationship where she stereotypically should have been submissive is portrayed in a particularly negative manner. In a similar fashion to her sisters, Regan is also punished with death by the end of the play.

Poetry in Frank Ocean’s Pink+White

As conveyed in the title “Pink+White”, Frank Ocean explains his passion for a person and his perspective on the world through his memories. He interlaces the ups and downs that come with feelings of love and attachment by comparing them to either light or darkness with seemingly no in between. 

The first set of lyrics in the song serves to describe a strange pink and white landscape then contrast it with a more realistic black and yellow landscape in order to highlight the randomness and lack of control we have in the world. 

“That’s the way everyday goes

Every time we’ve no control

If the sky is pink and white

If the ground is black and yellow

It’s the same way you showed me”

The following verses make an undeniable statement about the importance of love and trust during disastrous times. Ocean uses a metaphor about the atmosphere and north and south geography to describe his attachment to someone he loves. The description of feeling “south” contradicts the cold loneliness of the north and provides a sense of comfort. The comparison to the Earth and its atmosphere describe how Ocean felt powerless in such a vast world and was unable to grasp the events taking place in his own life. 

“If you could fly then you’d feel south

Up north’s getting cold soon

The way it is, we’re on land

So I’m someone to hold true

Keep you cool in this good life

Won’t let you down when it’s all ruined”

Ocean uses vivid imagery throughout the song to tell specific memories from his earlier life. The peaceful music and fond portrayal of the memory give the listener a sense of peace yet the subtle ominous intermissions scattered throughout, such as the mention of a hurricane, send a different message. The guitar strums softly in the background while the lyrics recall children playing. 

“In the wake of a hurricane

Dark skin of a summer shade

Nosedive in the flood lines

Tall tower of milk crates

It’s the same way you showed me

Cannonball off the porch side

Older kids trying off the roof”

On the surface the song seems to be recalling fond memories from his past until the end of the piece. Ocean uses repetition of the line “the same way you showed me”. The repetition of this line, written in the past tense suggests that he had been talking about the happy memories and affection of someone he lost throughout the song. After repeating this line multiple times in seemingly random spots in the song he sings 

“That’s the same way you showed me, showed me

You showed me love

Glory from above

Regard my dear

It’s all downhill from here”

This shift in tone continues until the end of the poem where he reminisces about cigarettes and tragedy and how he has nostalgia for his past despite the fact that it was a more difficult time in many aspects. As the song progresses from fond memories to more dark moments of his past it becomes apparent that Ocean’s purpose in these lyrics was to describe how relationships tend  to go wrong after the “glory”. This however does not mean that the two were never good, in fact using the term “glory” suggests that at one point things were going very well between them. Instead he is pointing his experiences in how after a relationship reaches a peak it begins to fail shortly thereafter each and every time leaving him feeling out of control.

The Faces of Migration in Exit West

At first glance the magical doors in Exit West that transport those who enter to a new location seem to represent hope, freedom, and the breaking of boundaries. However, these portals are meant to represent the constant grapple that migrants are faced with when leaving their homeland. The hope for new opportunities contrasts with the fear and nostalgia of leaving home. Shown by the camps in Mykonos and the houses in London, upon arrival migrants struggle with alienation and the longing for connections in a place filled with people who appear different from themselves.  

The contradicting feelings on migration between Nadia and Saeed are representative of the yearning for new opportunities contrasted with the pain of leaving what is familiar and comfortable. In Nadia’s case, she embraces migration as a pathway to a new life whereas Saeed is more fearful about leaving his father behind in a potentially dangerous situation. Through Nadia and Saeed, Hamid portrays how migrants are swept up by seemingly mandatory migration both willingly and unwillingly. Hamid presents migration as an inevitable occurrence that should be embraced or at least accepted since it cannot be denied. 

Can One Truly Live an Existentialist Life?

The quote “existence precedes essence” is often referred to as the foundation of existentialism. In just three words it summarizes that our surroundings cannot be changed by the individual, but our existence allows us to create our own values and meaning of life. The basis of existentialism is that human life doesn’t possess any real meaning or value until it is created by an individual. 

Existentialist philosophy appeals to many as it is characterized by individualism and freedom, however, the problem that arises from the lack of foundation is that it overemphasizes a separate sense of self. We live in a society where humans interact with other people and objects, therefore there are certain truths we must abide by. This evokes the question of whether one can truly live an existentialist life in today’s society. The answer to this question is that we can partially abide by the principles of existentialism. Through different experiences and adapting to our circumstances we are able to find everlasting personal meaning in life, nevertheless there will always be constraints that prevent us from living a completely existentialist lifestyle. 

The Sun in The Stranger

In The Stranger, the sun is used to symbolize Meursault’s inner conflicts and feelings about the meaning of life. The sun and heat persist without any regard for comfort which symbolizes Meursault’s general dismissal of humanity. 

During the funeral, instead of being overwhelmed by emotion, Meursault is focused solely on his physical discomfort from the sun. He states that the sun and heat were “unbearable” and made it “hard for [him] to see or think straight”. This however is a direct contrast with the earlier feelings of happiness that he felt during the funeral that originated from cigarettes. The physical discomfort represented by the sun can symbolize one’s lack of importance in the world and how in Meurault’s mind death and pain can’t be avoided so therefore there is little meaning in life. The motif of the sun returns later in the passage when Meursault kills the Arab man. He again describes the sun as a “burning which [he] couldn’t stand anymore” and directly relates it to the sensations he experienced during his mothers funeral. 

Overall the sun has a very negative connotation. In both instances the negative description of the sun appears to foreshadow some type of bad event in Meursault’s life.