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King Lear, William ShakespeareKing 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 King Lear, William ShakespeareKing 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 1973 1995 1339 200 1347 296 1373 1375 9644452518 1379 1380 1381 1382 1387 9789644452512 1391 17 1382 144 9647656408 1355 222 9789642131631 1393 58 9789642131631 1394 240 9786002531919 1394 64 9786008175170 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 himGoneril, 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 nobilitywithout 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 fitsthan 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, getelaborate, making love to Goneril and Regan, maneuvering forward to accomplish his desires and the contemptible goals, he wantsIn 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 King Lear can be read in various ways as a theological drama, as a philosophical one, as a supreme example of Shakespeare s intuitive egalitarianism or even as a melodrama lifted towards tragedy only by its superb poetry It is the most titanic of Shakespeare s tragedy. Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise There is a hope, of course, for many of us to become wiser as we become older In most cases, this does work, but sometimes we exchange naivete for senility, with too few years of graceful wisdom in between King Lear with his daughters The cast of the 2018 movie.King Lear makes the decision to split his kingdom between his three daughters A magnanimous decision if viewed one way, but a very foolish decision if one considers the Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise There is a hope, of course, for many of us to become wiser as we become older In most cases, this does work, but sometimes we exchange naivete for senility, with too few years of graceful wisdom in between King Lear with his daughters The cast of the 2018 movie.King Lear makes the decision to split his kingdom between his three daughters A magnanimous decision if viewed one way, but a very foolish decision if one considers the normal course of human behavior when a vacuum of power occurs Lear s Fool states the situation very clearlyLear Dost thou call me a fool, boy Fool All the other titles thou hast given away that thou wast born withWhen thy Fool is calling thy a fool, thy should probably ponder thy actions a while longer There is a part of me that feels that Lear may have felt the gears of his mind begin to slip in the worn out grooves of their passage He may have believed he was doing his kingdom a favor by stepping down in favor of the youth of his loins I m sure he imagines aidyllic life, riding, hunting, joking, eating, and doing whatever else he chooses to do at any given time in the company of his stipulated 100 knights who are his entourage of chaos Of course, there is a rub from the very opening of the play Cordelia, his youngest daughter and most precious, does not give him the reassuring answers he wishes to hear In a fit of madness, he banishes her The two older daughters, Goneril and Regan, areastute in their proclamations of love and devotion, telling their father what they know he wants to hear Early on, despite the sisters obvious duplicity in the face of Cordelia s honesty, I find myself sympathetic to them It is obvious that they, too, have suffered under the increasinglyunpredictable madness of King Lear The theme of the play revolves around madness and blindness The kissing cousins of afflictions Lear may have suffered first from madness, but his blindness to Cordelia s devotion sets off a cascade of horrific events that only can ever be set right if he finds his sanity He is not alone The Earl of Gloucester proves equally blind in the assessment of his two sons, Edgar and Edmund Edgar is the dutiful son Edmund, the bastard, is suffering from numerous resentments which are, unfortunately, being fed by his naked ambition Edmund I do serve you in this business.A credulous father, and a brother noble,Whose nature is so far from doing harmsThat he suspects none on whose foolish honestyMy practices ride easy I see the business.Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit All with me s meet that I can fashion fitIf not for the trustful natures of his father and brother, Edmund would not have attempted to undermine and destroy them It is their fault for being so gullible sigh Gloucester was never shy about how Edmund came to be his son He proclaimed his pleasure in his making to anyone who cared to listen Gloucester But I have a son, Sir, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account though this knave came something saucily to the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged My sympathy for Goneril and Regan quickly evaporates as Edmund, in his deception and aspirations, creates a wedge between the sisters that destroys what I once found so likeable about themtheir loyalty to one another For me, what makes this play so brilliant is the shifting sympathies I feel as the plot progresses What I once believed is revealed to be untrue Characters prove unreliable even to the point that several are going around disguising their identities Those most true are those most reviled This play is a tragedy, and as the dominos begin to fall, Lear s madness seems to have infected all Who is responsible for all of this Well, we could say Lear, but really it is his wisdom eroded by madness that causes such dreadful devastation to the kingdom I paired reading this play with watching the 2018 Anthony Hopkins s King Lear, which has been set in amodern society, much like Ian McKellen s masterful version of Richard III 1995 This adaptation of Lear, available onPrime, has an all star cast, including Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, Jim Broadbent, Tobias Menzies, and Florence Pugh, whom I absolutely loved in Lady Macbeth, based on the Nikolai Leskov story I m sure that role allowed her the opportunity to work with the Hollywood greats who were cast for this movieEdgar The weight of this sad time we must obey Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.The oldest hath borne most we that are youngShall never see so much nor live so longIf you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Shakespeare s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks What, then, keeps bringing us back to King Lear For all the force of its language, King Lear is almost equally powerful when translated, suggesting that it is the story, in large part, that draws us to the playThe play tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty, on the one hand, and support and consolation, on the other Emotions are extreme, magnified to gigantic proportions We also see old age portrayed in all its vulnerability, pride, and, perhaps, wisdom one reason this most devastating of Shakespeare s tragedies is also perhaps his most movingThe authoritative edition of King Lear from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play Scene by scene plot summaries A key to the play s famous lines and phrases An introduction to reading Shakespeare s language An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library s vast holdings of rare books An annotated guide to further readingEssay by Susan SnyderThe Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world s largest collection of Shakespeare s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs For information, visit Folger 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 eyesclearly 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 purposeAs flies to wanton boys are we to the gods They kill us for their sportIs the blind or deranged man the Fool or else the Sage that illuminates the audience with sporadic lucidityO, 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 butforked animalstrapped 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 possibleSo we ll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laughAt 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 demandslove than can be given and so he scarcely can speak without crossing the realms of the unsayable When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeitof our own behavior, we make guilty of ourdisasters the sun, the moon, and the stars asif we were villains by necessity fools byheavenly compulsion knaves, thieves, andtreachers, by spherical predominance drunkards,liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience ofplanetary influence and all that we are evil in,by aWhen we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeitof our own behavior, we make guilty of ourdisasters the sun, the moon, and the stars asif we were villains by necessity fools byheavenly compulsion knaves, thieves, andtreachers, by spherical predominance drunkards,liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience ofplanetary influence and all that we are evil in,by a divine thrusting on an admirable evasionof whoremaster man, to lay his goatishdisposition to the charge of a star 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 sometimessense 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 sometimessense 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 mansinned 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 surfeitof our own behavior, we make guilty of ourdisasters the sun, the moon, and the stars asif we were villains by necessity fools byheavenly compulsion knaves, thieves, andtreachers, by spherical predominance drunkards,liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience ofplanetary influence and all that we are evil in,by a divine thrusting on an admirable evasionof whoremaster man, to lay his goatishdisposition to the charge of a star 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 Book Review3 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 WhenBook Review3 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 nothan 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 cannotAbout MeFor 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 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