Shooting an Elephant - Study Guide Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

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Count Leo Tolstoy, a renowned Russian author, had the distinction of undergoing a remarkable transformation in his later life when he converted to a form of Christianity, marked by renunciation of personal property, titles and even sexuality. In one of his pamphlets, obviously developed as a form of propaganda on behalf of his new lifestyle, he attacks William Shakespeare- on charges ranging from engendering boredom in his readers and playgoers; on being representative of a corrupt humanistic worldview, the very antithesis of his own Christian perspective and because of his deficiencies as an author and playwright. Tolstoy is seventy-five and has just reread Shakespeare in its entirety. Tolstoy's main target in his exposition is Lear.

According to Tolstoy, as described by Orwell, the plot of Lear is "stupid, verbose, unnatural, unintelligible" and a lot of other things exemplifying Shakespeare's moral and aesthetic inaccuracies. According to...

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This section contains 859 words
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Shooting an Elephant from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.