King Lear "Bottoming Out" Essay

900 Words4 Pages
Unit 3, Lesson 13: Key Question 13
Amanda Oreskovic
When a person “bottoms out” they are at the lowest point in their life both mentally and physically. It is a frightening stage in life that some may come across in life as it gets to the point where existing is almost unbearable. On the upside, this downfall may benefit some. Those who can gather the strength to realize that the only way they can go after hitting bottom is up could use it as a turning point for the better. Unfortunately, there are also many people who just give up the fight against the dark place referred to as “bottom.” Bottoming out is exemplified in William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear and in Arthur Miller’s equally tragic Death of a Salesman. In order to
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In King Lear, Goneril and Regan’s disloyalty is hurtful for Lear and it pushes him into a state of isolation where he is stripped of his authority that he had as king. It would be considered that Lear was at him lifetime low because he has socially fallen to the role of a beggar. He has no home, family or power. Lear’s madness and misery causes him to realize he has hit rock bottom. “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). Lear is aware of his poor state as he refuses to take shelter from storm. The physical pains he gains from the storm relieve the misery his daughters branded on his heart.
In Death of a Salesman, Willy knows he has reached rock bottom when he decides there is no reason for him to live anymore. When Biff reveals that he actually has loved Willy his entire life, Willy realizes that Biff “Loves [Willy]. Always loved [Willy]. Isn’t that a remarkable thing? Ben, [Biff] [will] worship [Willy] for it!” (Miller, 135). Willy knows deep in his heart that he has hit bottom. But he decides to kill himself not because he thinks he will be hated forever, but because he would be worshipped forever.
In the end, there are benefits of reaching the bottom in your life. The only way you can go from bottom is up. Your

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