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King Lear stands alongside Hamlet as one of the most profound expressions of tragic drama in literature. Written between 1604 and 1605, it represents Shakespeare at the height of his dramatic power. Drawing on ancient British history, Shakespeare constructs a plot that reads like a fable in its clear-sighted but terrifying simplicity. The ageing King Lear calls his daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia to witness that he wishes "to shake all cares and business from our age" and divide his kingdom between his three children. When Cordelia refuses to flatter her father with sycophantic words of love, her banishment leads to chaos and civil war as Lear's disastrous "division of the kingdom" gives free reign to the greed and ambition of his two remaining daughters.
As Lear sinks into rage and madness he is deserted by everyone except his "bitter" Fool, the loyal Kent and the exiled Cordelia. The play descends into a nighmarish theatre of cruelty and absurdity as Lear realises he has "ta'en / Too little care" of the poverty and corruption of his kingdom, and his loyal but foolish friend Gloucester has his eyes gouged out. Metaphors of monstrosity and perversions of nature structure the dramatic action, and the play's ending remains one of the most harrowing in all of Shakespeare. Many see a profound despair and nihilism in King Lear, and would agree with Kent's conclusion that "All's cheerless, dark and deadly". Other writers have identified a radical but pessimistic critique of contemporary conceptions of kingship and absolutist authority, yet it remains a remarkable tragedy of public misjudgement and intensely private grief and anguish. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This marvelous new installation to the revamped "Pelican Shakespeare" series contains both the original 1608 version as big Will wrote it and the 1623 scaled-down and reworked version with which we are all familiar. If that wasn't enough, this edition also sports a scholarly introduction and notes on the texts. All that for less than the price of lunch at McDonald's makes this a remarkable bargain for all academic and public libraries. Don't play the fool; buy this.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
You better get an edition with better footnotes. This one has poor information.
It doesn't even have the verses numbers, good luck quoting this edition in a paper.
Great condition; however note that this edition doesn't include line numbers.Published 13 months ago by Maggie
The play was interesting and interesting I enjoyed the time I spent reading it. It was enjoyable, interesting, and lovedPublished on May 29 2013 by sebastien fornari
I, like everybody else trying to sell this book at Amazon, read this because it was required for an English class at university. I'm better for having read it. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2011 by David Sabine
Can't complain about the price, but the cover illustration is wrong (wrong publisher), there are no 'notes' or 'further reading' etc. Read morePublished on July 14 2009 by Michael from Montreal
this is the tragedy of a king who grows old before he grows wise. it's a tragedy because old men don't have the time or the energy to right their wrongs; what's done is done. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2003
This edition is REALLY Helpful. While assisting to understand the unusual language, it still leaves room for the intelligent reader to figure out the plot without reading a... Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2003 by Jason Breen