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King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

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King Lear, growing old and too tired to reign, decides to divide his realm amongst his three daughters, leaving the largest share to the one who loves him the most. His two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, foolish and deceitful children, are rewarded for their insincere flattery. His youngest daughter, Cordelia, however, speaks honestly and truthfully, which enrages th King Lear, growing old and too tired to reign, decides to divide his realm amongst his three daughters, leaving the largest share to the one who loves him the most. His two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, foolish and deceitful children, are rewarded for their insincere flattery. His youngest daughter, Cordelia, however, speaks honestly and truthfully, which enrages the old king. He disinherits Cordelia, and then drives himself to madness, left to wander the heath with only his Fool, his servant Caius, and the madman Tom O’Bedlam for company. Once reunited with Cordelia, Lear is too late repents his rashness, and must face the tragic consequences of his choices.

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King Lear, growing old and too tired to reign, decides to divide his realm amongst his three daughters, leaving the largest share to the one who loves him the most. His two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, foolish and deceitful children, are rewarded for their insincere flattery. His youngest daughter, Cordelia, however, speaks honestly and truthfully, which enrages th King Lear, growing old and too tired to reign, decides to divide his realm amongst his three daughters, leaving the largest share to the one who loves him the most. His two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, foolish and deceitful children, are rewarded for their insincere flattery. His youngest daughter, Cordelia, however, speaks honestly and truthfully, which enrages the old king. He disinherits Cordelia, and then drives himself to madness, left to wander the heath with only his Fool, his servant Caius, and the madman Tom O’Bedlam for company. Once reunited with Cordelia, Lear is too late repents his rashness, and must face the tragic consequences of his choices.

30 review for King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    I've read Lear many times, and, although I didn't learn much about the play this reading, I did learn a little about myself. I have always loved the play, but in the past I found its injustice and evil nigh overpowering, its victims pathetically guiltless, its perspective verging on the nihilistic. Now, though, I see goodness and grace everywhere: in Cordelia's plain-spoken honesty and love for Lear, in Kent and Gloster's loyalty, in Edgar's bizarre attempt to heal his father's soul through stra I've read Lear many times, and, although I didn't learn much about the play this reading, I did learn a little about myself. I have always loved the play, but in the past I found its injustice and evil nigh overpowering, its victims pathetically guiltless, its perspective verging on the nihilistic. Now, though, I see goodness and grace everywhere: in Cordelia's plain-spoken honesty and love for Lear, in Kent and Gloster's loyalty, in Edgar's bizarre attempt to heal his father's soul through stratagem, and--perhaps most important--in the way Lear himself grows in understanding and compassion even as he grows in grief and madness. The bad guys have their moments too: the devotion of Oswald to Goneril, Edmund's tardy but apparently sincere attempt to save Cordelia and Lear's lives, and--my favorite--the heroic effort of Cornwall's servant to intervene in the blinding of Gloster by wounding the vicious master whom he has served loyally all his life. Goodness seems to triumph here even in the midst of loss, and I no longer feel the evil to be overwhelming: I merely bow my head in thanksgiving for goodness and tremble in reverence before the mystery of life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    King Lear, William Shakespeare King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It depicts the gradual descent into madness of the title character, after he disposes of his kingdom giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him, bringing tragic consequences for all. Derived from the legend of Lear of Britain, a mythological Pre-Roman Celtic king. عنوانها: شاه لیر، لیر شاه؛ نمایشنامه شاه لیر؛ الملک لیر؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ انتشاراتیها: (بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب King Lear, William Shakespeare King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It depicts the gradual descent into madness of the title character, after he disposes of his kingdom giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him, bringing tragic consequences for all. Derived from the legend of Lear of Britain, a mythological Pre-Roman Celtic king. عنوانها: شاه لیر، لیر شاه؛ نمایشنامه شاه لیر؛ الملک لیر؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ انتشاراتیها: (بنگاه ترجمه و نشر کتاب، علمی فرهنگی، ورجاوند، نشر مرکز، پارسه)؛ ادبیات انگلستان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1973 میلادی و در سال 1995 میلادی عنوان: لیر شاه؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: جواد پیمان؛ تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر، 1339، در 200 ص، چاپ دیگر: 1347؛ در 296 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: انتشارات علمی فرهنگی، 1373؛ چاپ دیگر 1375؛ شابک: 9644452518؛ چاپ ششم 1379؛ چاپ هفتم 1380؛ چاپ هشتم 1381؛ نهم 1382؛ دهم 1387؛ شابک: 9789644452512؛ یازدهم 1391؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان انگلیسی - قرن 17 م عنوان: نمایشنامه شاه لیر؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: م.ا. به آذین؛ تهران، ورجاوند، 1382، در 144 ص، شابک: 9647656408؛ عنوان: الملک لیر؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: محمد مصطفی بدری؛ کویت، وزارة الاعلام، 1355، در 222 ص، به زبان عربی؛ شابک: 9789642131631؛ عنوان: شاه لیر؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ بازنگری: اندرو متیوز؛ مترجم: مرجان رضائی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1393، در 58 ص، شابک: 9789642131631؛ عنوان: لیر شاه؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: میلاد میناکار؛ تهران، بنگاه ترجمه و نشر پارسه، 1394، در 240 ص، شابک: 9786002531919؛ عنوان: لیر شاه؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: بیتا حسینی؛ تهران، انتشارات اسحق، 1394، در 64 ص، شابک: 9786008175170؛ لیر شاه، پادشاه کهنسال انگلستان، قلمرو خویش را به دو دختر ناسپاس و چاپلوس خود میبخشند، دختر کهترش را که از چرب زبانی و مداهنه پرهیز دارد، محروم میکنند، از آن پس، دو دختر چنان با پدر پیر خویش رفتار میکنند، که لیر دیوانه میشود. سر به بیابان میگذارد. این قسمت از نمایشنامه، پرتو درخشان نبوغ شکسپیر است. سرانجام لیر دیوانه، جسد بیجان دختر کهتر را، که به دست گماشتگان خواهرانش از پای درآمده، در آغوش میگیرد و از رنج زندگی رها میشود. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    My first encounter with Shakespeare has totally swept me off my feet. As much as I had heard of the indisputable grandeur of the most famous playwright of all times I never expected to be so immersed in the swirling undercurrents of the incongruities of human nature that are so vividly portrayed in this tragedy. Even though my inexpensive Wordsworth edition wasn’t generous with annotations or academic essays, the universality of Shakespeare’s art, wrought in versed polyptotons, playful aphorisms My first encounter with Shakespeare has totally swept me off my feet. As much as I had heard of the indisputable grandeur of the most famous playwright of all times I never expected to be so immersed in the swirling undercurrents of the incongruities of human nature that are so vividly portrayed in this tragedy. Even though my inexpensive Wordsworth edition wasn’t generous with annotations or academic essays, the universality of Shakespeare’s art, wrought in versed polyptotons, playful aphorisms and grotesque imagery, surpasses all attempts to categorize his work. Always elusive and prone to countless interpretations, Shakespeare remains inscrutable and daunts the present reader with questions of yesteryear about the meaning of life. A surrealistic bargain that includes the old King Lear exchanging land for the love declarations of his three daughters in the opening scene triggers a chain of events that combine a peculiar mix of humorous absurdity, demented remorse and virulent wrath that escalates to a tragic climax. The Duke of Glo’ster is blind when his eyes more clearly see and, cheated by his bastard son, the Machiavellian Edmund, he accuses his legitimate offspring Edgar of conspiracy. Two fathers in the autumn of their lives misjudge their siblings, act impulsively and end up paying dearly for their pride. One loses his sight, the other his sanity, but both preserve faithful servants that guide them through the wilderness of the desolate heath where the sky dissolves into tears under a raging storm. Lush with religious references, Greek mythology and several doses of misogynistic diatribe, the setting and aim of the story persists in being ambiguous, although the critics seem to agree on Pre-Christian Britain there is doubt regarding its moral purpose. But whether Shakespeare confirmed or subverted the idea of a providential order is secondary to me. The power of this play relays in the ongoing paradoxes that coexist in all the characters as it does in human nature, for they all display an irrepressible tendency for extreme cruelty, envy and greed that is counterbalanced with a great capacity for forgiveness, repentance and love. How can divine justice fit the randomness of an untamed nature that punishes the innocent without apparent purpose? “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods: They kill us for their sport.” Is the blind or deranged man the Fool or else the Sage that illuminates the audience with sporadic lucidity? “O, let me kiss that hand! Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.” Whatever the case, Shakespeare’s response is unequivocal. Love is what keeps us going. Without love, children would be orphans, lovers sterile and Kings, beggars. Yet love doesn’t stamp out vileness, indifference or sorrow because human beings are but ”forked animals” trapped in a fabricated reality that try to swim against the currents of this vitriolic maelstrom called existence. But oh!, the joy of flickering hope, of stars aligned, of virtue prevailing over darkness, because with Shakespeare, everything is possible. “So we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies” Edit, August 13th 2017: From Harold Bloom's essay: "Lear, beyond us in grandeur and in essential authority, is still a startlingly intimate figure, since he is an emblem of fatherhood itself. Outrageously hyperbolical, insanely eloquent, Lear nevertheless always demands more love than can be given and so he scarcely can speak without crossing the realms of the unsayable."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Huda Yahya

    لا أظن ان هناك من استطاع تصوير الانحدار نحو الجنون كما فعل شكسبير فمن هذيان أوفيليا في هاملت حيث تنتهي في أعماق النهر حتى صرخات لير الراعدة في البرية تتبدى براعته مع كل بيت شعري وكل مشهد خالد للأبد في ذاكرة الأدب ::::::::::::::::::::::::: الملك لير هي المسرحية الأكثر درامية لشكسبير في رأيي فهي مبكية من البداية ومفجعة في نهاياتها ونتساءل ما الذي فعله لير ليستحق هذا العذاب وذلك المصير؟ ما الذي فعلته كورديليا لتستحق نفس المصير لير فرط في حقوقه انخدع بزيف المظاهر وصدق كلمات مجوفة عوضا أن يرى الصدق في أفعال من لا أظن ان هناك من استطاع تصوير الانحدار نحو الجنون كما فعل ‏شكسبير فمن هذيان أوفيليا في هاملت حيث تنتهي في أعماق النهر حتى صرخات لير الراعدة في البرية تتبدى براعته مع كل بيت شعري وكل مشهد خالد للأبد في ذاكرة الأدب ::::::::::::::::::::::::: الملك لير هي المسرحية الأكثر درامية لشكسبير في رأيي فهي مبكية من البداية ومفجعة في نهاياتها ونتساءل ما الذي فعله لير ليستحق هذا العذاب وذلك المصير؟ ما الذي فعلته كورديليا لتستحق نفس المصير‏ ‏ لير فرط في حقوقه انخدع بزيف المظاهر وصدق كلمات مجوفة عوضا أن يرى الصدق في ‏أفعال من حوله استخفته قوته وهيمنته فراح يقسم ويمنح ويوزع ومن ثم تنازل عن حقه في أن يكون انسان وأن يكون عادل وأن يكون قوي القوة الحقة لير مثال لكل شخص تنازل ‏ لكل شخص يترك نفسه يخدع لكل شخص هرب من المواجهة رمز لنا جميعا أما كورديليا المسكينة فكان لابد وأن تموت لأن هذه الأرض بكل فسادها لا تسع روحا بريئة كروحها كما لم تسع من قبل لا ديدمونة ولا أوفيليا الأرواح الأكثر طهرا مكانها السماء ::::::::::::::::::::::::: الغريب أن معظم الاقتباسات التي أحبها لشكسبير موجودة في هذه المسرحية برغم أنها تأتي في المركز الخامس في ‏مفضلاتي ولكن الشعر الذي نثره شكسبير هنا عطر وزهرا وقلوبا دامية يجبرني على العودة مرارا لصفحات لير بالطبع مشهدي المفضل هو لير الصارخ في البرية لا يمكن لأحد في أي عصر أن يكتب مشهد يقارب هذا الجمال مستحيل --------- ملحوظة أخيرة *** كل من قرأ شكسبير مترجما (لأي لغة) لم يقرأ شكسبير لم يتعرف حتى على قشور ما كتبه شكسبير يقرأ بالإنجليزية بنصه الأصلي لا بالنصوص المبسطة أو الشارحة شكسبير يقرأ هكذا And worse I may be yet: the worst is not So long as we can say 'This is the worst. ... Love's not love When it is mingled with regards that stand Aloof from th' entire point. ... I have no way and therefore want no eyes I stumbled when I saw. Full oft 'tis seen our means secure us, and our mere defects prove our commodities. ... We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage: When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too, Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out; And take upon's the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out, In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon. ... A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition. ... Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, That thou mayst shake the superflux to them, And show the heavens more just.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nayra.Hassan

    أيكن ساقرر انها تحبني اكثر؟؟ من اكثر قصص العالم احراجا و مكرا..عندما ينتصر التملق و التطبيل انتصارا ساحقا من تحبين اكثر؟ والدك. .زوجك ..ابنك؟؟ هنا الفطرة و الطبيعة ستجيب..رغم انها تبدو ظالمة فالاب الذي يعطي فقط..يحظى بالقسط الاقل من الحب و الزوج الذي يأخذ و يعطي يحظى بالنصيب الأكبر و الابن الذي يأخذ فقط يفوز بحب غير محدود و لا مشروط سنة الحياة التي قرر ملك بريطانيا "لير"ان يتحداها بكل صلف و غرور بسؤاله الاغبى عبر عمره الطويل ايكن "ساقرر"انها تحبني اكثر؟ السؤال معيوب و يغلب المظاهر على الحقيقة فتبال أيكن ساقرر انها تحبني اكثر؟؟ من اكثر قصص العالم احراجا و مكرا..عندما ينتصر التملق و التطبيل انتصارا ساحقا من تحبين اكثر؟ والدك. .زوجك ..ابنك؟؟ هنا الفطرة و الطبيعة ستجيب..رغم انها تبدو ظالمة فالاب الذي يعطي فقط..يحظى بالقسط الاقل من الحب و الزوج الذي يأخذ و يعطي يحظى بالنصيب الأكبر و الابن الذي يأخذ فقط يفوز بحب غير محدود و لا مشروط سنة الحياة التي قرر ملك بريطانيا "لير"ان يتحداها بكل صلف و غرور بسؤاله الاغبى عبر عمره الطويل ايكن "ساقرر"انها تحبني اكثر؟ السؤال معيوب و يغلب المظاهر على الحقيقة فتبالغ :جونريل و ريجان في وصف حبهما لابيهما فيسعد بمبالغتهما.. و هل ولد بعد الملك الذي لا ينساق وراء التملق؟ اما كورديليا الحكيمة الجميلة ؛أحب بناته إلى قلبه ..نجدها تكره التملق و تتمسك بالصراحة كالخراتيت العنيدة لتؤكد انها تحبه ..و لكنها مستقبلا ستحب زوجها و أبناءها أكثر منه حسنا .. هناك حقائق من الافضل للجميع الاحتفاظ بها في القلوب و بالطبع : يحرمها والدها من نصيبها في المملكة و يمنح اختيها كل شيء و يعيش ضيفا عليهن.. ليحذر شكسبير آباء العالم كله من الاستسهال و التنازل الذي يكشف معدن الجميع . . و مع خروجه في العاصفة هربا من الجحود تبدا مأساته.. و من تطمس عاطفته صوت عقله: سيكونن جزاؤه اسطوريا وليدفعن ثمن غباؤه و غفلته و تبدأ سلسلة من الأحداث الفظة ..البدائية المناسبة للقرن ال17في مجملها ...لنفهم عبر المآسي ماهية كلمتين فقط الإخلاص ..و الخيانة

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    In times of change, stress or general uneasiness, I find myself repeatedly quoting Shakespeare. There is something soothing in the knowledge that he wrote all those unforgettable lines over 400 years ago and they still make so much sense - sometimes more sense than our most recent literary production. I know that I am in some kind of identity crisis when King Lear comes to my mind again, and I open the highly impractical "Collected Works of Shakespeare" and try to find Lear without completely bre In times of change, stress or general uneasiness, I find myself repeatedly quoting Shakespeare. There is something soothing in the knowledge that he wrote all those unforgettable lines over 400 years ago and they still make so much sense - sometimes more sense than our most recent literary production. I know that I am in some kind of identity crisis when King Lear comes to my mind again, and I open the highly impractical "Collected Works of Shakespeare" and try to find Lear without completely breaking the suffering spine. “Who is it that can tell me who I am?” That was the quote I had in my head, and I found it quickly enough following my post-it signs, but of course, Shakespeare being the magician that he is, he lures me into his world, and I find myself rereading major parts of the whole play. It does not necessarily make me forget my everyday worries, for Shakespeare is no escapism writer. Rather, I feel that my concerns and thoughts are given a wider, noble context, as they can be related to that master of words, plots, characters, everything human. Shakespeare does not give me answers, but he gives my questions validity. "I am a man more sinned against than sinning" - who doesn't want to yell out those famous words of King Lear's every once in a while? And they might be true. But does that really excuse the sinning? I love the ambiguous world of Shakespeare, and King Lear has it all. Action, drama, feelings in the wrong and right places, politics, and common sense in unexpected situations. The long diatribe on man's blaming the stars for his viciousness is one of my favourites. King Lear is as good as Shakespeare can be! “This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeit of our own behavior,--we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"...Good King Lear, feared in his younger days, has two, in pagan Britain, the inhabitants worship the numerous gods, there, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, the ancient ruler, in his eighties, can no longer govern well, no stamina, his mind is deteriorating quickly, with no sons but three devoted daughters, he believes, decides to divide the kingdom, equally, between them, but first the widower monarch, needs to hea "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"...Good King Lear, feared in his younger days, has two, in pagan Britain, the inhabitants worship the numerous gods, there, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, the ancient ruler, in his eighties, can no longer govern well, no stamina, his mind is deteriorating quickly, with no sons but three devoted daughters, he believes, decides to divide the kingdom, equally, between them, but first the widower monarch, needs to hear how much his daughters love him...Goneril, the oldest, married to the weak duke of Albany, is a vile, mean, jealous, without morals, woman, her sister Regan, just as bad, the wife of the cruel duke of Cornwall, they could be twins, emotionally, but hate each other with a passion, as only sisters can, the husbands are puppets in their endless conspiracies for absolute power. Goneril and Regan, shower the gullible king with untrue platitudes of endearment, lovely Cordelia, the youngest, unmarried but has many suitors, says she loves her father like a daughter should , but the puzzled, quite angry man , misconstruing these mild remarks, and he, Lear, banishes his child, no land either, for the former favorite, but not before giving Cordelia , to the sympathetic king of France, as his bride, he admires her nobility...without a dowry. The Earl of Kent protests, vehemently, (the sovereign's biggest supporter) and he too is told to leave Britain at once, or be executed, the poor, oblivious man, has given away all power and benefits to his unworthy children... no longer now,"Every inch a king ". Kent risks his life by staying in England, disguising himself in order to help the feeble friend, Lear, becoming his loyal servant, Caius, protecting the confused, mad king, from his evil, rival daughters, many insults ( he Lear, regrets his unwise gifts to them) . The very cold, scheming , ambitious bastard son, Edmund, ( the term fits more than one way) of the too trusting nobleman, the Earl of Gloucester, feels he deserves all the glory, wealth and titles, that his older brother, the virtuous, but naive Edgar, who is continually kind to the half-brother, will inherit, someday, nothing is beneath him, lies and deceit, get more elaborate, making love to Goneril and Regan, maneuvering forward to accomplish his desires and the contemptible goals, he wants...In real life there are no happy endings, people live, do good things or bad, and then die, the next generation repeats this eternal pattern, until the final rays of the Sun, shine for the last time, and the darkness swallows the world. This play by Shakespeare, is one of the finest ever written, it shows why the author was and is still the greatest writer to put down his ideas on paper.

  8. 5 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 3 of 5 stars to King Lear, a tragic play by William Shakespeare, published in 1603. I enjoyed the play and then watched a few film versions. My review will cover both the book and the film I saw -- with a bit of sarcasm and humor (just to be different than all the other ones! LOL) Lear is an absolutely ridiculous character who belongs in the looney bin in my opinion. He has lost all control over his life, his family, and his kingdom. He is foolish, blind, and stubborn. When reading Book Review 3 of 5 stars to King Lear, a tragic play by William Shakespeare, published in 1603. I enjoyed the play and then watched a few film versions. My review will cover both the book and the film I saw -- with a bit of sarcasm and humor (just to be different than all the other ones! LOL) Lear is an absolutely ridiculous character who belongs in the looney bin in my opinion. He has lost all control over his life, his family, and his kingdom. He is foolish, blind, and stubborn. When reading the play, I thought Lear was some old king who couldn’t take care of anything. He was just plain ineffective. After watching a few film versions, I whole heartedly agree. Lear is still a vain, crotchety old man. However, I did see some humor in him that I didn’t notice in the first reading of the play. He was definitely not likable on a first read; however, when I started to watch the video clips, I found myself saying that I could tolerate him. All of a sudden, I classified him as likable human. Even when you just want to kill him, he is still kind of funny and tolerable. Lear was somewhat like a grandfather in my opinion. Not one of those everyday grandfathers though. He reminded me of the much older, funny grandfather who laughs at everything, but doesn’t realize what he’s doing. In fact, I actually thought of him as a Santa Claus figure. It sounds weird, but the looks automatically qualify him to be Santa Claus. His attitude could be a problem though. He might have been a really nice guy when he was younger and not so stubborn. As for Lear’s daughters... I see Lear’s daughters as all being from 25 to 40 - no more than that, though. Gonerill though did make Lear’s anger appear believable to me. I see how much she had to say and then I realize how he can be so upset with Cordelia’s response. Cordelia seems a little too weak to be his daughter. I picture her as being stronger and able to handle herself against him. It was hard to picture three daughters surrounding their old, aging father Lear. Having each daughter one by one go to their father to say how they loved him was powerful. I watched the characters grow and then leap off the page. The play is a good one to read, to see the life of parents and children, royalty and order of succession. It's a great commentary on how we behave and treat our elders, especially both as parents and as humans. And on the flip side, you also see what happens when you make rash decisions, not realizing the impact down the line... and how much you want to fix them, but sometimes you cannot. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. In college honors English at U. Tennessee Knoxville, I stumbled into a dissertation about a comparison of epic and tragic, using as templates Lear and Milton's Paradise Lost. In all of English class papers, there may never have been a more seasoned example of pure bull**** and left field logic. I think I got a B-, just because my instructor may have been worried about whether or not my meds had kicked in. Still, in composing the literary testimony of This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. In college honors English at U. Tennessee Knoxville, I stumbled into a dissertation about a comparison of epic and tragic, using as templates Lear and Milton's Paradise Lost. In all of English class papers, there may never have been a more seasoned example of pure bull**** and left field logic. I think I got a B-, just because my instructor may have been worried about whether or not my meds had kicked in. Still, in composing the literary testimony of my ignorance, I had to read Lear and have been hooked ever since, reading several times and seeing it performed whenever possible, most notably Ian McKellan's magnificent rendering. Edmund remains for me an archetypal villain who gives Darth Vader and Satan a run for their money and any list of greatest villains is, to me, incomplete without Gloucester's bastard.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    As one who is always looking for books by authors from around the globe and seeking out hidden gems, books that have been defined as classics, especially by western authors, are usually the ones that get short changed. With three days offline and ample time to read, I thought it was high time that I read a Shakespearean play, having not read one since last year. In school, students are generally asked to read one Shakespeare a year, yet by scheduling quirks, I ended up reading The Merchant of Ve As one who is always looking for books by authors from around the globe and seeking out hidden gems, books that have been defined as classics, especially by western authors, are usually the ones that get short changed. With three days offline and ample time to read, I thought it was high time that I read a Shakespearean play, having not read one since last year. In school, students are generally asked to read one Shakespeare a year, yet by scheduling quirks, I ended up reading The Merchant of Venice twice and Macbeth and King Lear not at all. I finally got around to reading Macbeth last year, only because a contemporary book piqued my interest in it. I have been meaning to read Pulitzer winning A Thousand Acres for some time now and used this similar impetus to finally read King Lear. Tomes have been written on Shakespeare, his life, theater, inspiration for his plays, and the plays themselves. What I did find interesting about the background information on Lear is that it had been written toward the end of the Bard's life and focused on an aging hero who was met with age discrimination both from his family and outsiders. I have read a number of books this year about how age is only a number and that just because one is old it does not mean that the person is feeble minded or slowing down. Unfortunately, in the case of Lear, his daughters view him as near death, and are eager to swoop down and claim their inheritance from him. Perhaps they had enjoyed a better relationship with their long deceased mother or perhaps they were just greedy, but Lear's children's treatment of him shows to me nothing short of viewing the elderly as infantile and near death. As a result, many critics have said that Shakespeare's writing about the aging process has made Lear his most tragic tragedy. While not as thrilling to me as some of the other plays I have read, I am apt to agree with the more studied critics. Perhaps I did not find myself enjoying this play as much as other Shakespearean plays that I have read because I did not find one character to sympathize with at all. The three daughters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia were all out for personal gain, and two of the three plotted on Lear's life. Meanwhile, Cordelia, the most beloved by Lear, denounced him, only to repent toward the play's end when it appeared that Lear was at a near dementia like state and Cordelia herself might have been beyond atonement regardless of her intentions. Goneril and Regan engaged in a love triangle with Edmund the Duke of Gloucester, and I found Goneril's actions especially to be hideous, as she still was married at the time to a devoted husband. What I found the most interesting in these characters' portrayals is that in other plays I have found that Shakespeare to have written strong female characters from Portia to the downright domineering Lady Macbeth. At least Portia was likeable to an extent. The sisters here chose poor behavior that left me disgusted with their actions. What I did find accessible in King Lear was Shakespeare's language that has endured for five centuries. Having read as much as I do, I did not find myself looking at the Folger produced side by side dictionary as much as I had in the past. This resource is wonderful for a high school student reading the play for the first time, and I laud the Folger library for producing stellar editions of all of the Bard's works. Lear's and Edmund's soliloquies were moving and the character of Lear's Fool provided comic relief for this tragic writing. In addition to injecting laughs into this otherwise upsetting premise of a setting, the Fool clearly appeared out of his element in the events in this play, making him the only character I almost sympathized with. His aloofness contrasted with Lear's dementia and made for the blind leading the blind and shows how both comic relief and the depiction of the elderly has changed since Shakespeare's time. King Lear is indeed a tragedy for the ages. While I am pleasantly surprised that I have found Shakespeare's language more accessible as time goes by, I was not enamored with any of the characters in this play. Perhaps it was the depiction of women or perhaps the depiction of the elderly, but King Lear did not move me as much as other Shakespearean works have. Because of these issues in Shakespeare's work; however, King Lear has endured for as long as his other plays have and, because of the wealth of criticism available, is sure to generate lively discussions in other groups. As my quest to uncover hidden gems is ever present, it may be awhile before I read another of Shakespeare's works. In the meanwhile, I can appreciate the Bard for his mastery of the English language. 3.5 stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    A Fairy Tale I Give Thee, A ‘True Chronicle History’ [Dramatis Personæ: The Bard, as Himself World, as Itself You, as Fool, in the Bard’s service Kings, Daughters, Sons, Knights, Fools, Gentlemen, Soldiers, Attendants, Messengers, Servants.] Act 1.1 Sennet. Enter [The Bard, You] Bard: Hark, A Fairy Tale I Give Thee, Fit for Today’s Times! I have in my time, written many plays - tragedies, comedies, all - but reader beware: this might be my darkest vision yet. I will exalt you; and in death’s throngs. Ha A Fairy Tale I Give Thee, A ‘True Chronicle History’ [Dramatis Personæ: The Bard, as Himself World, as Itself You, as Fool, in the Bard’s service Kings, Daughters, Sons, Knights, Fools, Gentlemen, Soldiers, Attendants, Messengers, Servants.] Act 1.1 Sennet. Enter [The Bard, You] Bard: Hark, A Fairy Tale I Give Thee, Fit for Today’s Times! I have in my time, written many plays - tragedies, comedies, all - but reader beware: this might be my darkest vision yet. I will exalt you; and in death’s throngs. Have you heard of Cinderella, of King Leir, of Arcadia’s Kings, and all such happy and sad tales of old? Have you laughed with relief at their ends? Well, let me show the real end of tales. Have you hated the Villains and prayed for the Heroes? Let me show you how, each to himself and to the other, they only plough despair on themselves! Let me show you of good and evil and the intermingled confusion of their origins. Let me show you the face of the Gods, mocking and crying, the mad Gods that rule us. Note now my words well, and note the tales I tell. You have heard them before, so note most where I differ! Note how it is Leir and his daughters, who are mixed with the Paphlagonian King of Sidney’s Arcadia. Pay your most special heed to those special introductions of mine: to the Storm and to the Madness; to the Fool and to poor Tom; to the faithful and noble servant and to the slimy one; and most of all to the Protean one. See all this in me, be not blind! See also what I leave out, see the plot tightened and stripped off base plottings and machinations, and the happy endings! See my sources condensed and expanded and kneaded into a potent brew for your vision’s improvement. But most important of all, see the mixing of the tales: all themes from all stories pour into my cup, I raise them from mere tales to be an epic, to cosmic proportions. Watch on, as Leir’s small world becomes my Lear’s world - and then becomes the world entire. Is it clear to you that my Lear’s fate may indeed be the fate of any man, of Yours? Never mind, it is a mystery you can fathom not! [Aside] Alack, the future shall find this impossible to bear, and just as I mutilate the happy myths, my sad tragedy too shall be undone so, by Nates and nit-wits! Actors and audiences will then prefer this mutant version of my play. Oh, how then its happy ending will comfort them, for a century and a half! Not for much longer - You will be back to me. Comforting endings, all fictions, are only there to mock, as ever. Finally see the ending I have stored specially for you, see how I have left no consolations for you. See how I raise your hopes at every turn and shatter them like boys playing with insects. See through these windows I make for you, before you erect your mirrors all over again. You must see that beyond the apparent ‘worst’ that I let you imagine, there is a worse suffering, and when it comes in with a rush, it will be a mere image of that horror, not the thing itself. Ha! and yet, it will be more appalling than anything you could expect, than the very worst nightmares this stage can conjure! See! See if for a moment, before you leave me and slip back into cozy habits again, into your own blindness of self-absorption. Alack, it is for me to shatter your expectations, for only in the cracking of the mirror can you see through that window-that-was and into the truth beyond. Let me be your guest and enter your very homes and crack all the mirrors fixed where windows ought be, and let in the world, full wild and gorgeous! A difficult play to stage my hands said to me! Indeed, I meant it to be thus and naught else - ‘only the imagination can encompass it’ (which might serve quite well in a day when reading supplants all staging in reach) but stage it I shall, watch it you shall, break the mirrors I shall, and rush in the World shall. Flourish. Exeunt [The Bard, and Attendants] Enter [World] [You remain on stage] [ Inspired by: Kermode ]

  12. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    I was lucky enough to be living in Stockholm when Ingmar Bergman staged Lear at the Swedish National Theatre in the late 80s, and I saw it twice. Bergman's take on the play was very interesting and unusual; he interpreted it as fundamentally optimistic. Obviously, you're wondering why, and in the hands of a lesser director it would probably just have been a piece of unnecessary perversity. Bergman's reasoning was, in fact, not bizarre. He saw the key scene of the play as the reconciliation betwee I was lucky enough to be living in Stockholm when Ingmar Bergman staged Lear at the Swedish National Theatre in the late 80s, and I saw it twice. Bergman's take on the play was very interesting and unusual; he interpreted it as fundamentally optimistic. Obviously, you're wondering why, and in the hands of a lesser director it would probably just have been a piece of unnecessary perversity. Bergman's reasoning was, in fact, not bizarre. He saw the key scene of the play as the reconciliation between Lear and Cordelia; this was the one shown on the poster, which was plastered all over town. Everywhere you looked, you could see Lear and his daughter kneeling, holding hands, and looking into each other's eyes, with relief and joy streaming from their faces. What Bergman was saying was that everyone, like Lear, has done horrible things to the people who love them most. Usually they never have a chance to say sorry, or receive forgiveness from the people they have wronged. Lear got that chance, just before he and Cordelia died, so we should be happy for him. Bergman directed the play when he was about 70. If you know anything about his life, you will readily understand why he might have interpreted it this way. It was an extremely moving production.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed-Makram

    حكاية بسيطة جدا عن ملك عجوز يريد توريث ملكه لبناته الثلاث و يسأل كل منهن سؤالا ساذجا: من منكن تحبني أكثر؟ الأكثر نفاقا كانتا غونيريل وريجان فحاذتا رضا والدهما أما الصغيرة كورديليا فلم تستطع تملق والدها و غضب عليها و طردها من رحمته و لولا ملك فرنسا الذي تزوجها لكانت ملقاة في الشارع. تدور الأيام و تنقلب الإبنتان على والدهما و تنقذه الإبنة الصغرى إلا أن الأمور تتبدل و ينتهي الأمر بمأساة تموت فيها البنات الثلاث و يبقى لير العجوز المخرف الذي لم يقدر الصدق و الإخلاص و نصر عليهما النفاق و الكذب فخسر كل ش حكاية بسيطة جدا عن ملك عجوز يريد توريث ملكه لبناته الثلاث و يسأل كل منهن سؤالا ساذجا: من منكن تحبني أكثر؟ الأكثر نفاقا كانتا غونيريل وريجان فحاذتا رضا والدهما أما الصغيرة كورديليا فلم تستطع تملق والدها و غضب عليها و طردها من رحمته و لولا ملك فرنسا الذي تزوجها لكانت ملقاة في الشارع. تدور الأيام و تنقلب الإبنتان على والدهما و تنقذه الإبنة الصغرى إلا أن الأمور تتبدل و ينتهي الأمر بمأساة تموت فيها البنات الثلاث و يبقى لير العجوز المخرف الذي لم يقدر الصدق و الإخلاص و نصر عليهما النفاق و الكذب فخسر كل شيء استمتعت بالمسرحية الرائعة التي مثلها يحي الفخراني و أعاد بها الجمهور البسيط لمسرح هادف و لا يخلو أيضا من الدعابة

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    Honestly didn't enjoy this as much as I had expected to. I think my expectations were too high. But, it was still an enjoyable play!

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is where Shakespeare takes off the gloves. He brings us right to the edge of the abyss, then kicks us over that edge. King Lear is the most devastating by far of the Shakespeare tragedies -- this is a play which leaves the reader shattered as the curtain falls. The play has a kind of primal power, which I find hard to explain. The plot is fairly typically Shakespeare, perhaps a little more complicated than usual, mixing elements taken from legend and from the historical record. At the outse This is where Shakespeare takes off the gloves. He brings us right to the edge of the abyss, then kicks us over that edge. King Lear is the most devastating by far of the Shakespeare tragedies -- this is a play which leaves the reader shattered as the curtain falls. The play has a kind of primal power, which I find hard to explain. The plot is fairly typically Shakespeare, perhaps a little more complicated than usual, mixing elements taken from legend and from the historical record. At the outset, Lear is a narcissistic, bullying despot. His two older daughters, Regan and Goneril, are a couple of bad seed cougars, both of whom lust after Edmund, an equally amoral hyena. Their goody-two-shoes sister Cordelia behaves with such one-note pointless stubbornness, it almost seems like she's not playing with a full deck. Over in the Gloucester household, Edmund (the bastard hyena) is plotting against both his brother Edgar and his father. Lear’s court is filled with lickspittle sycophants. Only two people have the guts to speak truth to power, and one of them wears the costume of a Fool. There's a nasty storm brewing on the heath. Fasten your seatbelts - it's going to be a bumpy ride. Characters in “King Lear” pay dearly for their weaknesses. Gloucester is blinded in order that he might see, but is denied any lasting happiness; after reconciling with Edgar, he dies. Lear will be driven insane before he finally learns to empathize with the poor and the meek. We watch him return from the brink of madness only to discover that’s not enough. Before the curtain falls, Shakespeare gives us what is arguably the most brutal scene in his entire work. Enter Lear with Cordelia (dead) in his arms – Howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stone! Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so That heavens vault should crack. She’s gone forever. Even if, like me, you find Cordelia a saccharine, two-dimensional character*, this scene is shattering. Two pages later, after learning that his fool has hanged himself, Lear dies, broken-hearted. Edgar, Kent and Albany – literally the only characters still standing – are left to bury the dead and move on, as best they can. Why do I find this the most affecting of Shakespeare’s plays? (I’ve seen seven different stage productions**, and two on TV, and it only gets more powerful upon repeated exposure.) I can’t really pin it down – it’s a combination of various elements. The characters are idiosyncratic, fully realised, and their behavior is highly relatable, so the play is convincing at the level of the individual protagonists. But the fable-like nature of the opening scene also confers a kind of universal quality to its message, and the themes explored within the play – abuse of power, relationships within families, responsibilities of parents and children, the breakdown of the natural order and its consequences, the human capacity for enormous cruelty – are no less relevant today than in Shakespeare’s time. The skillfully constructed parallel plotting of the Lear and Gloucester arcs adds to the power of the story, the breakdown in natural human behavior is further accentuated by the raw fury of the elements during the storm scenes, where Nature echoes Lear’s fury. Ultimately, there’s no getting away from the uncompromising bleakness of the play’s message. In Gloucester’s words – “as flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport”. The nihilism of “King Lear” has always disturbed audiences, and it was common during the 18th and 19th centuries to stage an altered version, in which Cordelia was allowed to live, implying a more upbeat view of human nature. But, given what the events of the last century demonstrate about mankind’s vicious capacity for self-destruction, one has to think that Shakespeare got it right first time. As usual. *: the character that Cordelia most reminds me of is the slave-girl, Liu, in Puccini’s “Turandot”. Neither is realised in any great depth, but each serves an important function in the way that their death effects a crucial change in one of the other protagonists. **: including one particularly memorable performance in Mönchen-Gladbach, Germany, where Regan and Goneril were decked out like biker chicks and roared on stage riding what appeared to be Harleys.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Here is Shakespeare's biggest bummer in a long career of bummers. Remember that catch phrase kids thought was clever in like 7th grade as they were discovering the joys of nihilism: "Life sucks, then you die"? That's the actual and entire message of King Lear. "Nothing will come of nothing," rages the doddering King, and there is nothing, and nothing comes of it. And along the way, don't forget, we get maybe Shakespeare's most disturbing scene, the outing of the vile jelly, Marlovian in its grues Here is Shakespeare's biggest bummer in a long career of bummers. Remember that catch phrase kids thought was clever in like 7th grade as they were discovering the joys of nihilism: "Life sucks, then you die"? That's the actual and entire message of King Lear. "Nothing will come of nothing," rages the doddering King, and there is nothing, and nothing comes of it. And along the way, don't forget, we get maybe Shakespeare's most disturbing scene, the outing of the vile jelly, Marlovian in its gruesomeness. Shakespeare liked the word "nothing", only partly because it's vaginas. He has some dark fun with it in Lear - check him out as he offers the disinherited Cordelia to Burgundy in marriage:If aught within that little seeming substance, Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced, And nothing more, may fitly like your grace, She's there, and she is yours.Burgundy's like nah, I'm good. But this play is about something less pleasant than vaginas: it's about the real nothing, entropy, death. Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World points out that Shakespeare has this weird tendency to excise the motive from his plots, which is part of what makes them so endlessly interesting and open to interpretation. Shakespeare's source for Othello has Iago acting out of jealousy, because he has a crush on Desdemona. But Shakespeare more or less chops that out; Iago's motives are left murky. "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know," he says as he leaves the stage, and there's that word again. And Shakespeare mucks with his source again in Lear. His main source (this is an oft-told tale) has Lear staging the whole "Who loves me?" thing so as to get Cordelia to marry who he wants. (It sortof makes sense in context.) Shakespeare once again trims it out; in his version, the game seems like no more than an old asshole who likes to be flattered. He changes the ending, too, which is happy in most of the sources. His Lear starts and ends in chaos and meaningless tragedy: nothing from nothing. Lear isn't perfect. That fake suicide scene has never worked for me, and the mock trial doesn't really either, and frankly there's less in the way of glorious wordplay than there is in Hamlet or Tempest, and the parallel plots work together but also make it seem less focused than Macbeth or Othello. But it's a storm of nihilism, a dark night of literature, a virtuoso depiction of despair without glimmer. As an exploration of the emptiest corners of the world, the bleak and barren heath of your soul...nothing beats it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bram

    In a world where every king must give up his crown, where tragedies end in death and all comes to dust, this is a hopeful tale. This hope won’t appear in a plot summary or in the morbid sum of deaths by play’s end, and yet there are key moments of reconciliation for both of the aged, long-suffering characters. After experiencing little but anguish for much of the play, Lear and Gloucester are granted a reprieve from the darkest of fates. Granted, these 11th hour reprieves are short-lived, but in In a world where every king must give up his crown, where tragedies end in death and all comes to dust, this is a hopeful tale. This hope won’t appear in a plot summary or in the morbid sum of deaths by play’s end, and yet there are key moments of reconciliation for both of the aged, long-suffering characters. After experiencing little but anguish for much of the play, Lear and Gloucester are granted a reprieve from the darkest of fates. Granted, these 11th hour reprieves are short-lived, but in a mortal world where all must end in the scandalous tragedy of death, what isn’t? Viewing the game of life* with a wide lens, there’s perhaps no greater victory than that of achieving a full and loving reconciliation with those whom one loves most and whom one has most wronged. How strange and sad that these two objects are so often the same person. Despite the sorrow that innervates the play from the opening pages, Shakespeare reminds us, particularly with the character arc of Edgar, that things are never quite as bad as they might be. If you’re able to say ‘this is the worst’ then you haven’t gotten there yet, as Edgar tells himself at one point. At another, he considers the bottom has one major advantage over the top: in a world of perpetual motion, there’s only one direction to travel from each of these locales. This sort of thinking, which can easily fall into tired cliché, provides the reader with a glimmer of hope that leads to one of the most affecting climaxes I’ve encountered, in Shakespeare or anywhere. Partially responsible are Edgar and Kent, the guardian angels of Gloucester and Lear respectively, whose unflagging, thankless, and disguised service must invariably make them audience favorites. I’ve said before that Shakespeare never seems to make spotless characters, but I’d be hard-pressed to come up with flaws for these two, excepting a little hotheadedness (Kent) and some initial naivety (Edgar). When Edgar finally reveals himself to his father, Gloucester, the overwhelming and joyful significance of this kills the blind man instantly. After he was wronged by a hoodwinked Gloucester, Edgar saves him from suicide and stays by his side (in disguise) until he can emphatically convince his father that his error in trusting Edmund has not led to completely irredeemable evil. Perhaps this is the perfect death, to realize in your last moment that the consequences of your life’s most painful mistake have not been as horrible as you’ve imagined, and that the person on the receiving end of that wrong has not only forgiven you, but has taken it upon himself to take care of you and to fix your wrong to the best of his abilities. The death of the title character is not as happy, and yet it’s ultimately more affecting and satisfying. King Lear collapses upon delivering an impassioned speech hoping beyond hope that his youngest daughter might yet draw breath, after spending his last few moments mourning her painfully and refusing to acknowledge her demise. The latter reaction, which perhaps can be understood as part of the madness that’s gripped him for the last couple of acts, is somehow the most heartrending. As with Macduff’s inability to come to grips with the news that his entire family has been murdered in Macbeth (he asks disbelievingly of Ross, “My children too?”, “My wife kill'd too?” even after receiving the news in full), Lear seeks to escape that which his senses tell him must be true. But for a man who’s lived over 80 years, and who’s just experienced a beautiful reconciliation that’s allowed him a return to sanity, is there a life ahead worth living? He swoons over the lifeless body of his daughter, and in addition to its inevitability, this death feels right—after all, Lear’s living up to his promise to Cordelia that the two of them will stay together from now on: Have I caught thee? / He that parts us shall bring a brand from heaven, / And fire us hence like foxes. The early acts of the play revolve around the question of duty and respect and, unfortunately, Lear concerns himself mostly with the outward (and therefore potentially insincere) demonstration of these things. He wants what’s owed him as a father and as a king, but the very fact that he must demand it and punish its lack so severely is a sign that something at some point has gone terribly awry. We assume that he must not be earning it—that he’s not giving what he needs to give as a father or doing what he needs to do as a king in order to receive love, respect, and obedience in turn. He thinks that the sole fact of his position will earn him respect and duty regardless, but he ends up getting just an outward show and a lack of sincerity that haunts him to the end. And as an old man stepping down from active duty, he quickly loses even this false demonstration. Part of the reason Lear’s so desperately obsessed with retaining respect is that he’s dealing with the inevitable impotence in mind and body that comes with advanced aging. He sees that this impotence is also extending to his power and authority, and it literally drives him mad. The specific areas of tension involving these issues are not important in and of themselves. Does anyone think Lear really cares whether he has 50 or 100 hundred soldiers following him around? The real question is: should Lear still be allowed to give orders and do as he pleases as his judgment begins to wane and his ability to adequately care for himself follows suit? He wants independence, but can he still handle the responsibility? This conundrum actually seems quite transferable to modern times as we grapple with questions of how to best provide for our elderly parents and grandparents. Do we leave them independent but with no one to look after them (i.e. sacrifice safety/health to independence)? Do we try to convince them to enter (or even to commit them against their will) an ‘active adult community’ or an assisted-living home? How do we decide how much of the family resources—time, money, energy—to provide for any of these options? At each stage of the story, King Lear encourages the reader or audience to grapple with those most fundamental of human questions: What’s most important in life? And why? Yesterday, Donald suggested that ‘King Lear might be the wisest thing ever written by a human being.’ And I think he might be right. *Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. --Macbeth

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    As the bright red firament of stars above might give away, I really responded to this play. I may have done so in both negative and positive ways, but this story made a really lasting impression on me. It did for me what Macbeth could not- gave me genuinely tragic characters who earned the tears and compassion that I gave for them by the end of the journey. Thinking about it in retrospect, a useful guide for King Lear is provided by another of Shakespeare's characters, Jacques, and his Ages of Ma As the bright red firament of stars above might give away, I really responded to this play. I may have done so in both negative and positive ways, but this story made a really lasting impression on me. It did for me what Macbeth could not- gave me genuinely tragic characters who earned the tears and compassion that I gave for them by the end of the journey. Thinking about it in retrospect, a useful guide for King Lear is provided by another of Shakespeare's characters, Jacques, and his Ages of Man speech from As You Like It, the bit that ends in "second childishness": "The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness..." King Lear's story takes place in these tragic, declining last two ages of man. As the description of the sixth age suggests, King Lear starts off a figure easy to ridicule. A selfish, rather self centered old man, used to a life full of power, with all the sycophants and alternate reality that that entails, now wants to retire, expressed in a way that manages to make it seem even more selfish than it really should be: "shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburthen'd crawl toward death.". In other words, time to man-child it up, some serious Will Ferrell style! He goes to to demand that his children fawn all over him one last time before he gives up his power to them- if you take that for a flicker of recognition that he might have to store it up after that given that there are other people to suck up to now, think again- and then makes his last act of power disowning and rejecting the only child who understands what love is. Her bitchy older sisters take over, and things fall out about as you would expect after that from a strict main plot perspective. King Lear and his serious lack of foresight get fucked over by both of his power hungry daughters, who then start to turn on each other, one insufficiently evil husband, and anyone else around them who might be termed a decent human being- all this would make it so easy to just scream "YOU FOOL!" and dismiss the whole mess. But I can't- because I recognize the truth of all of it, and the heartbreakingly, unbelievably amazing way that Shakespeare was able to draw the psychology of this aging man. Does he have faults? Of course he does, scads, but if you think about those faults, what could be more understandable? Anyway, I'll get to the meat of it: There's so much to deal with in here, about family, power, government, class and gender, but here I'll focus on my favorite thing about the play: the ideas about perception. I loved the agonizing depiction of what can happen when you create an unrealistic world for yourself, and then suddenly, the real world interferes with it. If you think about it, all the trouble starts and continues and ultimately snowballs into that clusterfuck of a tragic ending because everyone refuses to play the roles given to them: Cordelia starts it all with her refusal to be a dutiful daughter in just precisely the way her father wishes her to express it. She doesn't even refuse the essence of the role- she just does not embody his vision of it. The sisters continue it with their refusal to actually be what King Lear wanted them to be- his ever loving dutiful and sycophantic fawning young women, his illusion of his youthful attractivenss come to life. Both sisters choose power, they choose agency, they seize what is given to them with both hands. And in some ways, the audience can understand this, at least at first- it is hard for Lear to let go of his power, the next generation has to be clear about the change of command. Kent is not the ideal (in Lear's mind) courtier for one moment, daring to question the King, and he is banished. Edgar appears not to be an ideal son, Gloucester tries to have him chased down, likewise. Edmund, (in what starts out as a very tragic, relatable way) refuses to be merely the bastard son, and his ambition to be more nearly destroys his family. It gets to the poignant point where people can't recognize their close relatives standing right in front of them because they are not who they expect them to be, and in Gloucester's case, the inability to see becomes quite literal. It was so painful, I found myself misting up and crying as half the cast realizes what they've been missing right under their very noses, and the other half finally, desperately- and at great cost to their soul or body (even to the point of death)- makes them see it. King Lear's journey is especially poignant, of course. He's having his entire world destroyed not long before he could have left it, in utterly blissful ignorance, never knowing a single truth about the world. A fool, but a happy fool, and who, in compassion, would have wished otherwise upon him? But he does learn, while also being punished for the life he's lead, and that redeems it for me. Is some of it in madness? Yes, of course it is. Because for a man of that age, suddenly seeing everything he never did before, of course he would have to find sense in madness and believe himself out of his mind in order to make some sense of a world he thought he knew. He does learn, though, I have to reiterate that- he learns what his two older daughters are, what Cordelia is, he learns what love and loyalty really mean, and ultimately, he learns what a selfish fucking bastard he's been. The speech where he speaks of the poor wretches who always have to weather storms- he's finally given up the selfishness that utterly ruined his life. And if this feels inadequate, he is punished by the deaths of all of his children, the loss of his sanity and his health, and ultimately by his death. What bigger price do you want the man to pay? He ends just as Jacques would mercilessly predict, in: "...mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    El teatro, el drama, es un género que no acostumbro a leer muy a menudo, pero cada vez que me acerco a este tipo de clásicos, lo hago a partir de William Shakespeare. Sólo tengo cuatro libros del genial bardo, a saber y en orden de predilección: Macbeth, Hamlet, La Tempestad y este, que me ha agradado en buena manera. Los dos primeros que enumero siguen siendo mis predilectos, especialmente Macbeth, por ser la obra más oscura y malvada de Shakespeare. Respecto de El Rey Lear, y como en la mayoría El teatro, el drama, es un género que no acostumbro a leer muy a menudo, pero cada vez que me acerco a este tipo de clásicos, lo hago a partir de William Shakespeare. Sólo tengo cuatro libros del genial bardo, a saber y en orden de predilección: Macbeth, Hamlet, La Tempestad y este, que me ha agradado en buena manera. Los dos primeros que enumero siguen siendo mis predilectos, especialmente Macbeth, por ser la obra más oscura y malvada de Shakespeare. Respecto de El Rey Lear, y como en la mayoría de las tragedias shakesperianas, es ya clásico en sus obras encontrarnos con un reguero de muertos, batallas, amores y odios y sobre todo un elemento que Shakespeare solía manejar a la perfección: el de las traiciones. Y es en base a estas traiciones (las cuales, por otro lado, generan que ciertos personajes se mantengan fieles y leales al Rey, como es el caso de Kent y Gloucester), lo que mantienen al lector atento al desarrollo del drama. Puedo percibir ciertos pasajes que me hicieron recordar a Edipo Rey, sobre todo en los personajes del viejo Gloucester y de Cordelia. En líneas generales ha logrado que me interesara en saber cómo terminaba esta tragedia aunque repito: no hay obra de Shakespeare que no me apasione tanto como la maravillosa Macbeth. Cinco estrellas porque la obra de de uno de los cinco escritores más grandes de la historia como lo es Shakespeare no merece menor calificación.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

    2109 fellow Goodreaders [can’t be wrong] gave it 1 star. Many call it boring. Some even say it is predictable and has no moral lesson. That these people have the right to vote and to procreate is frightening to me. I am NOT ranking the play itself here, only the Norton Critical Edition version (2007). Shakespeare’s Lear is, duh, one of western culture’s great achievements and personally I think it has become my favorite Shakespeare play. I won't lie... I didn't even finish this one. All of the fal 2109 fellow Goodreaders [can’t be wrong] gave it 1 star. Many call it boring. Some even say it is predictable and has no moral lesson. That these people have the right to vote and to procreate is frightening to me. I am NOT ranking the play itself here, only the Norton Critical Edition version (2007). Shakespeare’s Lear is, duh, one of western culture’s great achievements and personally I think it has become my favorite Shakespeare play. I won't lie... I didn't even finish this one. All of the false identity business was giving me a headache. I decided to reread this book because I remembered very little of the original, perhaps because some years ago I adapted it to make a small play and from then on only remembered my own version of history. Incidentally, I much preferred my version. Kindled for free: This must be the most boring and convoluted Shakespeare play I have ever read. A large proportion of it is the king, his fool, and another lord pretending to be mad wandering round saying mad things. I have not read Shakespeare for only three plays: The Merchant of Venice and King Lear and the storm ... The Merchant of Venice perhaps the best of what you have read between .. I can not develop a mature opinion about its culture .. but generally do not Astassig theatrical literature .. I think it covers issues superficially naive No delves into the inner worlds of the characters, unlike literature novelist .. So in the tragedies everyone dies, which has the effect of diluting the tragedy of death. Whoops? I read this as the frustration of a family dealing with a dementia patient who thinks he's a king. The three sisters are one dimensional ciphers for evil, seduction and virtue. The most blithely misogynist piece I've read for a while. Read this as part of a course at college. Did not like it. Shakespeare is not for me. Just.. I hate Shakespeare okay? Don't judge me. Had to study it for English Lit in college. Dire. [!] Totally disappointed. Everybody just died??? That's it? I have nothing to say. Since I rate by what entertains me best, I will give this play one star. The story seemed predicatable [sic] and unoriginal, though that might be a given, as it was an adaptation of a folktale. The "tragedy" [scare!!] of senile King Lear is difficult to sympathize with, for a man born into a life of power and luxury has lost everything due to his ineptness, and was probably a bad ruler to begin with. This read was not entertaining, and it offered no moral lessons. he killed himself out of pure cowardice. don't see a point in the whole story in the first place. so what, people lie all the time just like his daughters lied to him about how much they love him, and when people do that of cource [off course!] they do it in order to get something in return, in this case it's money and power. a cliché banalized. [right there; that’s it!] I found this book a struggle to understand, not just because of the archaic language but also due to the strange and ugly illustrations which accompany it and make it hard to distinguish the characters from one another. A complex and sluggish storyline, I won't be re-reading this in a hurry. A typical Shakespeare with an overabundance of dead people and overdramatisation [sic] of everything. Moreover, in that play I just couldn't differentiate between the two husbands of Regan and Goneril, and between the two sons of Gloucestershire; Shakespeare is definitely not for me! Hard to sympathize with Lear, even if he is a senile old man. The daughters aren't any better, and it's hard to keep the Edmund/Edward/Edgar characters straight. Some very famous lines, but not a favorite of mine. It is Shakespeare and all that you want, and have very good dialogue. But I was pretty heavy. May have influenced the must have read (ie, per study). One star. One star, and ONLY one star. Dock as many points off of my IQ as you wish, this play left me cold [emotional IQ?]. Brilliant works of Shakespeare tend to do that Dark and moody, not for fans of a light and entertaining read. I felt incredibly depressed and unsatisfied after I finished this one. I think I can only review to explain my one star...I know this is a great piece of literature. But as a piece of theatre? [the crux of the question, the heart of the biscuit] Not my taste. As with every Shakespeare play...I despise them all. If it weren't for the damn class, I wouldn't even have read such crap! read it twice and I really really [twice!] do not like it. I tried to keep a more open mind the second time... I really don't like it I just did not find this engrossing at all. I mostly just wanted everyone to hurry up and die so that it would end. Hated it in college. The intervening years have done nothing to improve it. Much bigger fan of Shakespeare's comedies. boooooooooooooooooooooooooooo almost as boring as the modernized version that I also watched [?] BORING(coming straight from a seventh-grader who read this as her school novel). This book Mahbch sincere and I think that Shakespeare is Mouselh Elly Want to say through this book [honestly? googl ate her] I love Shakespeare...but I really disliked this play. I thought the plot dragged. [plots are for...] I hate reading Shakespeare to death. All I remember is that he has his eyes gouged out. Just because it's Shakespeare doesn't mean it's awesome. I did not enjoy this one bit. Ok. Not the worst Shakespear I've read, but not really worth reading. I really like Shakespeares work. However this was not one of my favorites. i learned that i will never understand Shakespeare no matter how hard i try :D Blah-a disappointment. Doesn't come close to Macbeth or Hamlet. http://touchingpaper.blaaaaaaaaahgspo... i have taken turds that could write better than this. I know it's a tragedy but this is stupidly sad [alliterate!] My all time LEAST favorite piece of Shakespeare. My least favourite Shakespearean play. [redund] Horrible. Historical and horrible. [a lit a lit, we’ve got a clit!] I can't stand william shakespears style [style? yes, style. sic!] This book was very... odd... i love the language..... I HATED this play. I didn't enjoy it Leaving cert! NICE STORY (view spoiler)[all html & [], the editor ; else, sic! (hide spoiler)]

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    This year I made it my goal to increase the amount of Shakespeare plays I have read and this included revisiting some of my favourites. I first read King Lear whilst in school, and can remember relatively little about my experience of reading it but could recall the most significant moments of the plot. This focuses on the family drama that ensues after King Lear requests his three daughters to pronounce their love for their father. The two eldest daughters freely proclaim their love whilst young This year I made it my goal to increase the amount of Shakespeare plays I have read and this included revisiting some of my favourites. I first read King Lear whilst in school, and can remember relatively little about my experience of reading it but could recall the most significant moments of the plot. This focuses on the family drama that ensues after King Lear requests his three daughters to pronounce their love for their father. The two eldest daughters freely proclaim their love whilst younger and most favoured daughter, Cordelia, states little of her affections. Due to this recalcitrance her portion of her father's land is split between the other two sisters and Cordelia is cast out. Little does Lear know of the self-serving nature of his remaining two daughters, and how their pretty words to do not reflect their heart's true desires. Perhaps it is due to this being my second reading or maybe it is the increase of Shakespeare I have read recently, but I found the readibility of this piece flowed far smoother than with other of his plays. There was little I struggled with and I absorbed the entire drama in one sitting. I have found other of the bard's plays to be so renowned as they primarily dealt with timeless concepts. This can be evidenced, again, here in the focus of the conflicts between parents and their children, which is also evident in the clever mirroring of sub-plot with central plot. This is actually quite infuriating as the reader is made aware of who the 'good' characters are before the other characters themselves do. With both their suffering and the reader's intensified because of this. Shakespeare has created some classically-structured, villainous characters and yet managed to make them not seem two-dimensional to the modern-day reader, who can clearly identify them. That, and the timeless and still-relevant topics covered, as well the the sublime prose used to depict them, makes this another example of exactly why Shakespeare is still so beloved.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    To call King Lear a tragedy somehow seems lacking. I don't know where in literature (let alone in real life) you could find a greater succession of calamities, all coming to a bad end. It's generally regarded as one of Shakespeare's greatest works, right along with Hamlet and Macbeth. 4.5 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    peiman-mir5 rezakhani

    دوستان گرانقدر، این نمایشنامه بدرستی شاهکاری بینظیر از زنده یاد «شکسپیر» است به نظر من تأثیرگذارترین قسمت، زمانی است که مردِ پاسبان در حال تازیانه و شلاق زدن به زنِ روسپی است ... به گفتۀ «شکسپیر بزرگ»، آن مرد پاسبان هنگامی که زن روسپی را تازیانه میزد، به سختی نیاز داشت که با زنِ روسپی همان کاری را انجام دهد که بخاطرِ مجازاتِ همان کار تازیانه را بالا و پایین میبرد... پاسبان با تمام وجود نیاز به سکس با زن روسپی را داشت عزیزانم، این بخش از نمایشنامه، نشان دهندۀ این حقیقت است که: همیشه افراد تابعِ آن دوستان گرانقدر، این نمایشنامه بدرستی شاهکاری بینظیر از زنده یاد «شکسپیر» است به نظر من تأثیرگذارترین قسمت، زمانی است که مردِ پاسبان در حال تازیانه و شلاق زدن به زنِ روسپی است ... به گفتۀ «شکسپیر بزرگ»، آن مرد پاسبان هنگامی که زن روسپی را تازیانه میزد، به سختی نیاز داشت که با زنِ روسپی همان کاری را انجام دهد که بخاطرِ مجازاتِ همان کار تازیانه را بالا و پایین میبرد... پاسبان با تمام وجود نیاز به سکس با زن روسپی را داشت عزیزانم، این بخش از نمایشنامه، نشان دهندۀ این حقیقت است که: همیشه افراد تابعِ آن قانون، خواستی سرکوب شده برای انجام آن کاری را دارند که بخاطرش فرد خاطی را مجازات میکنند ---------------------------------------- امیدوارم از خواندن این نمایشنامه لذت ببرید «پیروز باشید و ایرانی»

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Second Reading: Just as amazing as I remembered (: ********** First Reading: Tonight is opening night for my school's extracurricular performance of this wonderful play. I've read it probably a minimum of 20 times over these past 10 weeks and just fell in love with this entire story. I adore all my cast mates and just can't get over how excited I am to perform this! And I cannot be grateful enough to be playing such a strong, powerful, wicked character like Regan. She was so fun to get to know and Second Reading: Just as amazing as I remembered (: ********** First Reading: Tonight is opening night for my school's extracurricular performance of this wonderful play. I've read it probably a minimum of 20 times over these past 10 weeks and just fell in love with this entire story. I adore all my cast mates and just can't get over how excited I am to perform this! And I cannot be grateful enough to be playing such a strong, powerful, wicked character like Regan. She was so fun to get to know and I hope I do her justice. (: Alright, let's do this :D

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mahdi Lotfi

    شاه لیر دردناکترین تراژدی شکسپیر است. شکسپیر نمایشنامهی شاه لیر را در سال ۱۶۰۶ مینویسد. برادلی، شکسپیر شناس و ادیب بزرگ انگلیسی، در باره این سوگنمایش چنین میگوید: «شاه لیر همواره بعنوان بزرگترین اثر شکسپیر شناخته شده است. اثری که در آن مهمترین تواناییهای درام نویسی شکسپیر شکوفا میشود. و اگر زمانی ما مجبور شویم تمامی نمایشنامههای شکسپیر را دور بریزیم و تنها یکی از آنها را نگاه داریم، اکثریت کسانی که شکسپیر را عمیقا" میشناسند و عمیقا" به او ارج میگذارند، شاه لیر را بعنوان بهترین نمایشنامهی او برخوا شاه لیر دردناک‌ترین تراژدی شکسپیر است. شکسپیر نمایشنامه‌ی شاه لیر را در سال ۱۶۰۶ می‌نویسد. برادلی، شکسپیر شناس و ادیب بزرگ انگلیسی، در باره این سوگنمایش چنین می‌گوید: «شاه لیر همواره بعنوان بزرگترین اثر شکسپیر شناخته شده است. اثری که در آن مهمترین توانایی‌های درام نویسی شکسپیر شکوفا می‌شود. و اگر زمانی ما مجبور شویم تمامی نمایشنامه‌های شکسپیر را دور بریزیم و تنها یکی از آنها را نگاه داریم، اکثریت کسانی که شکسپیر را عمیقا" می‌شناسند و عمیقا" به او ارج می‌گذارند، شاه لیر را بعنوان بهترین نمایشنامه‌ی او برخواهند گزید».

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nikos Tsentemeidis

    "Πρέπει να αντέξουμε το βάρος της θλιβερής μας εποχής: τα λόγια μας να μην τα επιβάλλει χρέος, αλλά κατάθεση ψυχής. Οι πρόγονοί μας είχαν βάσανα χειρότερα. Κι εμείς, που τώρα ζούμε, ούτε στα χρόνια τους θα φτάσουμε, ούτε τόσα πολλά θα δούμε." Συγκλονιστικό έργο. Το τρίτο και καλύτερο που διαβάζω του Shakespeare, μετά τον Άμλετ και τον Μακμπέθ. Άξιος απόγονος των τριών αρχαίων Ελλήνων τραγικών. Δεν έχω κάτι πιο συγκεκριμένο να πω, κάθε φράση είναι ένα δίδαγμα.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James

    One day I may find the time and the energy to prepare some well thought out, elegantly composed, insightful and informative reviews of Shakespeare’s greatest plays – affording them with at least a modicum of the respect that they justly deserve. In the meantime – I am offering a few very quickly thought through ideas on what are undoubtedly the greatest (English language) literary works for the stage ever written. The majority of Shakespeare’s 37 or 38 plays (depending on who you ask) are imbued One day I may find the time and the energy to prepare some well thought out, elegantly composed, insightful and informative reviews of Shakespeare’s greatest plays – affording them with at least a modicum of the respect that they justly deserve. In the meantime – I am offering a few very quickly thought through ideas on what are undoubtedly the greatest (English language) literary works for the stage ever written. The majority of Shakespeare’s 37 or 38 plays (depending on who you ask) are imbued with brilliance, but if asked to select the greatest, I would proffer the following: Hamlet King Lear Richard III Macbeth Much Ado About Nothing Othello Merchant of Venice These are plays that are all transcendent in their brilliance – and should be seen by all. I stress the word ‘seen’ as although these plays are widely read, studied, analysed and pored over - ultimately all works for the stage are not written to be read, but to be performed and watched and enjoyed. So why are these plays great? All human thought is here; everything concerning the nuances of the human condition in all its majestic glory and awful hideousness is captured, expressed and delineated here. Shakespeare runs the gamut from love to hate, from life to death and absolutely everything else in between – revenge, jealousy, avariciousness, ambition, vanity, mercy, passion, lust, deceit, humour, gluttony, pride, sorrow, despair, wrath, sloth, vainglory, religion, superstition, bravery and cowardice…to name but a few – and he does it with such clarity, such power, such poetry, such perfection. When ‘taught’ or rather ‘force-fed’ Shakespeare at school, I understood little and enjoyed even less. To give one small example – the purpose and effect of the iambic pentameter only becomes clear in performance and when performed well, as opposed to being read badly and taught tediously in the clinical confines of the English literature classroom. To enjoy and to be propelled by the rhythm and poetry of Shakespeare, one does not need to even be aware of the concept of the iambic pentameter. Neither does the learning and reciting of oft quoted (and misquoted) stock Shakespearian lines serve any real purpose – other than as a memory test. Whilst this is I’m sure not everyone’s experience of Shakespeare at school, but for me it certainly had the result of completely alienating me from, not only Shakespeare, but from any classical literature / drama whatsoever. It was only when I found myself at the age of 18 and unaccountably in the theatre at Stratford upon Avon, watching the RSC brilliantly perform ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ – where I was utterly absorbed and transported to I knew not where, that my outlook was utterly transformed. Since then (and it has taken me around 30 years) I have now finally watched all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays – some as many as a dozen or more times. The utter perfection of a play such as ‘Hamlet’ means that it can be seen endless times in endless ways and can be so very different dependent on the direction, the actors, the interpretation – and yet still remain faithful to the original brilliant play that Shakespeare wrote. There is quite simply just so much life in all of Shakespeare’s plays – as timeless and relevant today as they were when first written so very long ago. Shakespeare holds up a mirror to our very existence and challenges us to look, to see, to feel, to hear, to think, to enjoy, to be transported, to be part of something, to laugh, to cry, to be excited, to be invigorated, to wonder… To anyone who has had a similarly discouraging and alienating experience of Shakespeare’s written word – don’t give up, try again, go and watch a live performance if you possibly can do. Quite simply: These plays are towering poetic works of truly unassailable and staggering artistic and literary genius.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hend

    أفضل مسرحيات شكسبير من وجهة نظري، ملحمة عن الولاء و التضحية و الخداع و الغرور، أجاد شكسبير رسم شخصياته ببراعة و بخاصة الملك لير بشكل يجبر القارئ على التعاطف معها في النهاية رغم تحفظه عليها في بداية العمل، و يقدم من خلالها درساً لا ينسى عن طبيعة النفس البشرية بكل ضعفها و غرورها

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    This was something that I read as an A-level set text in English Literature at the age of seventeen or so. It's only many years later that it is slowly dawning on me just how shocking a play it is. Not simply because of the ultra violence on and off stage (and for well over a hundred years theatre goers saw a version with a happy ending in which Cordelia wasn't hanged by the neck until dead) but the device of concurrent monologues with actors on stage not engaged in dialogue and the pre-Christia This was something that I read as an A-level set text in English Literature at the age of seventeen or so. It's only many years later that it is slowly dawning on me just how shocking a play it is. Not simply because of the ultra violence on and off stage (and for well over a hundred years theatre goers saw a version with a happy ending in which Cordelia wasn't hanged by the neck until dead) but the device of concurrent monologues with actors on stage not engaged in dialogue and the pre-Christian setting in the context of James I as supreme governor of a still virtually brand new Church of England. Recently in hospital King Lear was much on my mind, not on account of daughters depriving me of my knights but Lear's conviction towards the end, actually probably that of the doctor that if only he could sleep his mind would be restored and all would be well haunted me too and in fact I found after the two nights in which I managed a good six hours I did find my left arm mysteriously much improved - not that going on from this I would universally endorse old bill shakespeare's medical advice, but this time it worked well for me!

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    A Story of a Man who just wants to be Loved 16 April 2009 This is by far and away my favourite Shakespeare play. It is a very dark and brooding play that is not only incredibly violent, but also ends very badly for most of the main characters. King Lear is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies (along with the Scottish Play and Hamlet) though I find that Hamlet is a lot tighter and the plots are a lot more intertwined than King Lear. What I mean by this is that there are, I'll say two, plots runnin A Story of a Man who just wants to be Loved 16 April 2009 This is by far and away my favourite Shakespeare play. It is a very dark and brooding play that is not only incredibly violent, but also ends very badly for most of the main characters. King Lear is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies (along with the Scottish Play and Hamlet) though I find that Hamlet is a lot tighter and the plots are a lot more intertwined than King Lear. What I mean by this is that there are, I'll say two, plots running side by side and then merge at the end of the play. It is noticeable that both of these plots deal with the same theme, and that is of love. This first plot involves King Lear and the second involves Edgar, his bastard half-brother Edmund, and their father the duke of Gloucester. Lear believes that he has become too old to be a king and decides to divide his kingdom between his daughters, and the biggest portion will go to the one who loves him the most. Two of the daughters put on a song and dance about how much they love him, while the third, who truly loves him, can only be honest. Lear is angered at what he considers a pathetic response, and banishes her from the Kingdom, and divides it between his remaining two daughters. Lord Kent rebukes Lear for this, and Lear banishes him as well. The Edgar/Edmund plot involves the villain Edmund, who is bitter at being a bastard and schemes to destroy his legitimate brother and take his place. He deceives his father, and Edgar flees to the moors where he disguises himself as Mad Tom, and then brands his father as a traitor (he is aware that the King of France is landing an army in England to restore Lear's third daughter, Cordielia, to the throne, particularly since her sisters have stripped Lear of his kingdom), and then strips him of his dignity by blinding him, and then banishes him to the moors. As mentioned, the theme of this play is about love. King Lear simply wants to be loved, but does not understand that love is defined by actions not words. This is very clear with Lord Kent who, despite being banished, disguises himself and returns to serve Lear, and despite Lear being stripped of his authority, still recognises him as the true King of England. It is interesting to note that at the close of the play, once Lear has died and Kent is offered the crown, he refuses it, and instead hands it to Edgar, who has been vindicated (and was also the one to defeat Edmund in an epic sword fight). We see a similar theme with Edgar and Gloucester who he finds wondering the moors as a blind man, and assists him to return to his glory (before he dies). While there is a lot more to this play, another interesting aspect is the division of the kingdom. It is quite anachronistic for the period in which the play was written (or when it was set, in a mythological pre-Roman era – the sources for the play would be Monmouth's Kings of Britain), however during the era of Charlegmaine, this was something that would happen. One's kingdom, and property, were not handed down to the first born, but divided between the male heirs to the throne. This is probably the main reason why Charlegmaine's empire did not last much beyond his lifetime. I have written a much more detailed analysis, for those who are interested, on my Blog (though this was after watching the Ian McKellan version of the play).

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