Drama. Fiction. HTML: King Lear is considered one of Shakespeare's greatest plays. King Lear decides to step down and divide his kingdom between his three daughters. When his youngest and favorite daughter refuses to compete and perform her love for him, he is enraged and disowns her. She remains loyal to him, however, though he slides into madness and his other children betray him..
And then Lear's madness has much too much of, like, an MRA drum circle meeting, with the Fool and Kent and Edgar/John o'Bedlam (that's a name, that) farting around the wastes going "Fuckin' bitches, can't live with em, can't smack em one like they deserve" (though of course this is a Shakespearean tragedy, so everyone pretty much gonna get smacked one sooner or later). Not tragic flaws, in other words, but just flaws, with only glimmers of the good, and all the more devastating for that because all the more real. It's haaard to keep it together for a whole lifetime and not degenerate into a sad caricature of you at your best, or you as you could have been, and I wonder how many families start out full of love and functional relations and wind up kind of hating each other in a low key way just because of the accretion of mental abrasions plus the occasional big wound and because life is long.
This seems like a family that just got tired of not hating each other, standing in for a social order that's gotten tired of basically working from day to day, and everyone's just itching to flip the table and ruin Thanksgiving. I have little faith, post-play, that Edgar or Albany in charge will salvage the day--historically, of course, their analogues did not--and it's gonna be a long hard road to a fresh start (we don't of course try to find one such in the actual history--I mean, 1066?--pretty sure fresh starts don't happen in actual history--but I trust the general point is clear). This seems like the most plausible/least arbitrary of Shakespeare's tragedies, I am saying here, and thus also the most desolate, and one with lessons for any family (cf., say, Hamlet, with its very important lessons for families where the mother kills the dad and marries his brother and the dad's ghost comes back to tell the son to kill his uncle, a niche market to say the least), and one that I'll revisit again and again.
*Side note, my friend Dan calls me "My favourite Hamartian," and I'm recording that here because we may grow apart and I may forget that but I never want to forget really and so, hope to find it here once more
This is a tragedy in every possibly way. The characters make horrible decisions, which lead to their inevitable downfall. The thing I found fascinating about this play is the family dynamics. Relationships between a father and his daughters, sisters, brothers, a father and his sons; these are the real heartbeat of the story. More than Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet or Othello, King Lear dives deep into families and wonders why we do these things to the people we're suppose to love.
I suppose this is Shakespeare's great (that's redundant, since "Sh" is mostly "great") assessment of homelessness. The undeservingly roofless. it is also his only play on retirement, which he recommends against. Or perhaps Lear should have had a condo in Florida? Of course, his hundred knights, a problem for the condominium board, as it was for his daughters. And Shakespeare, who says in a sonnet he was "lame by fortune's despite" also addresses the handicapped here, recommending tripping blind persons to cheer them up.
Of course, Lear has his personal Letterman-Colbert, the Fool, so he doesn't need a TV in the electrical storm on the heath. That's fortunate, because it would have been dangerous to turn on a TV with all that lightening. The play seems also to recommend serious disguises like Kent's dialects and Edgar's mud. Next time I go to a party I'll think about some mud, which reduces Edgar's likelihood of being killed by his former friends.
And finally, the play touches on senility, where Lear cannot be sure at first Cordelia is his daughter.
I'm not sure, but the author may be recommending senility as a palliative to tragedy--and to aging. A friend of mine once put it, "Who's to say the senile's not having the time of his life?"
-A classic tragedy in which almost everyone dies at the end.
-I really didn't have much sympathy for Lear. He acted incredibly foolishly, not just once in turning his back on Cordelia, but many times.
-At first, Goneral seemed to be acting reasonably. If Lear had restrained
-Edmund struck me as the villain, and he also acted as a catalyst for villainy. So I found the scene at near the end after he & Edgar had dueled a bit hard to believe - after everything, Edgar just forgives him!?!
-I was shocked when
The play itself is really good - not too depressing or cheesy for me compare to Hamlet. Even though this is about a royal family, anyone can relate it directly or indirectly whether they have rivalry with their siblings or a loyal assistant or having problems with their parents.
The cast and execution of the Naxos audiobook are also excellent. I would list the cast, but the combination of blurred lines between book and
Interesting fact: Snippets of the play can be heard laced through the end of The Beatles song "I Am the Walrus." A BBC broadcasting of the play was playing on the radio in the studio as the song was recorded.
I enjoyed the