March Books 3) King Lear, by William Shakespeare

This is another one of the great Shakespeare plays which I did not know at all before starting this project. (I thought I might have seen a school production but must have been mistaken.) It’s a bleak piece of work, two dysfunctional families (Lear and his daughters, Gloster and his sons) who are each capable of private disaster and combine to make public catastrophe. Lear in particular is a walking emotional trainwreck. Shakespeare’s triumph here is that although Lear behaves incredibly badly in the very first scene, we still sympathise enough to want to know what happens to him. Edmuind is a much smoother baddie, who is worthy of a play of his own. The plot is a wee bit wobbly at the edges, but that’s not the point: this is a play about strong characters and their families.

The bit with Gloster’s eyes being pulled out and jumped on is pretty repulsive – I don’t recall anything this gruesome in Shakespeare since Titus Andronicus

Henry VI, Part I | Henry VI, Part II | Henry VI, Part III | Richard III | Comedy of Errors | Titus Andronicus | Taming of the Shrew | Two Gentlemen of Verona | Love’s Labour’s Lost | Romeo and Juliet | Richard II | A Midsummer Night’s Dream | King John | The Merchant of Venice | Henry IV, Part I | Henry IV, Part II | Henry V | Julius Caesar | Much Ado About Nothing | As You Like It | Merry Wives of Windsor | Hamlet | Twelfth Night | Troilus and Cressida | All’s Well That Ends Well | Measure for Measure | Othello | King Lear | Macbeth | Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Timon of Athens | Pericles | Cymbeline | The Winter’s Tale | The Tempest | Henry VIII | The Two Noble Kinsmen | Edward III | Sir Thomas More (fragment)

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1 Response to March Books 3) King Lear, by William Shakespeare

  1. gareth_rees says:

    I disagree: if the cap doesn’t fit, you don’t have to wear it. It’s not a reflection on you if you like a work that has flaws: every work has flaws.

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