5.0 out of 5 stars GILDED BUTTERFLIES in KING LEAR
If you read King Lear I hardly need talk about the play..its so well known..so copied..as to make the attempt superfluous? The political element is really sacrificed to the family dynamics losing the story. The Dover edition, and we can discuss this with many Shakespeare editions, the English for some, all have problems with many words, as we decipher translate the...
Published 6 months ago by Anthony Marinelli
3.0 out of 5 stars King Lear was an annoying character
Quite frankly, I can't understand why many people today consider 'King Lear' to be Shakespeare's greatest Tragedy. I found the play to be somewhat interesting and somewhat entertaining, especially when the Fool constantly called Lear 'Nuncle', but for the most part I found the play to be rather annoying. How Lear divided his kingdom among his daughters was very foolish...
Published on Jan. 18 2002 by kenamat
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5.0 out of 5 stars GILDED BUTTERFLIES in KING LEAR,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you read King Lear I hardly need talk about the play..its so well known..so copied..as to make the attempt superfluous? The political element is really sacrificed to the family dynamics losing the story. The Dover edition, and we can discuss this with many Shakespeare editions, the English for some, all have problems with many words, as we decipher translate the English from yesterday to today? In this case..the translations of difficult words..are highlighted on the bottom of the page..for the general reader..the editor serves as a translator against the backdrop of the play..the three sisters and king..France and England at war..the word..is made sense of? "lawful sheets to 't luxury"(p 93) in this sense the translator changes luxury to lust? Later on the page we have.."apothecary..sweeten my imagination" is that the tie or link?
On p 98 "rake up" is cover?..here is the tie "murderous lechers" on the same line?..
As a help to understand the later play..the biblical weeds..a famous motif from the gospels "weeds are memories of those worser hours"(p 99)..later on p 105.."wretched..I can produce a champion..miscarry" here the biblical wretch..a key way to understand the play
"both these sisters..sworn my love..each jealous of the other..which..shall I take..
both..one..neither..neither can be enjoyed..both remain alive..widow..
exasperates..carry out my side..never see his pardon"
Here Side according to the notes..partners or play..but I find the biblical motif..the crucifixion..the implied madness of Lear..more relevant?..later "instruments to plague..wheel is come full circle..bleeding rings.." the wheel the ancient torture.here the translation of "bleeding rings" is eyes. Is that correct?..At the end.."daughters..prisons..sing like birds..cage..GILDED BUTTERFLIES" here the translation is fashionable courtiers. The immense difficulty in translating Shakespeare..this is the whole of the play..what are these sisters..in olden days to pick among two sisters..was an old custom..the father of the bride..the play is also about madness and traitors..here as I read the play..Shakespeare at his best..do we as usual have our own translation..or accept what we are given..in this good reproduction of the ancient play..which has a depth..as in the three stooges episode Dizzy Pilots..the Kings English?
5.0 out of 5 stars A father's folly and a daugther's devotion,
After you begin to read a few of Shakespeare's plays in their original language you begin to develop an understanding of the structure of the language and the expressions used in that time. The trick I believe is to persevere; like any good thing, once you have mastered it, you begin to feel a sense of accomplishment. This greatly enhances your enjoyment of the plays.
King Lear is a play about honoring one's parents, a very relevant lesson for those of us in the modern world. As with many of Shakespeare's other plays, the language may be old but the lessons are still as relevant as ever. Lear, the King of England gives his blessing and lands to two of his daughters based on their outward show of affection for him, while neglecting his third; Cordelia, because she would rather show her love than make an outward display " my love's more richer than my tongue". It turns out that her two daughters deeds are contrary to their words and the rest of the play deals with Lear almost going mad at the ingratitude and lack of respect shown to him by his two daughters.
There is another subplot with the earl of Gloucester being deceived by his illegitimate son into wanting to kill his other son, Edgar. The story unfolds with two of these men, Lear and Gloucester being mistreated by their children who outwardly show love but inwardly have cold and calculating hearts. As with other tragedies, there must be deaths and disappointment, and King Lear is full of them. Unlike Othello however, King Lear does not have a very depressing ending and there is a feeling that everything will be alright, life goes on in other words.
I have tried to outline very briefly what this play is about and hopefully have shown a little of what is inside this very rich play. I would recommend King Lear to anyone wanting to read Shakespeare, I would also recommend you read it in the original language because even though it may be more difficult to comprehend, the language is richer and you will be reading Shakespeare and not some modern editor's idea of him.
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Writing,
Shakespeare historian A.L. Rowse, authors of the Readers Companion to World Literature, and others explain that the author of King Lear combined two already existing stories and created something greater than the sum of its parts. Apparently, at the time it was written King Lear was perceived as a tale might be perceived today if a writer combined the old fable about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree with the story of the sinking of the Titanic and wove a familiar but new and surprising tragedy.
Most critics agree that Shakespeare's King Lear is great writing; Isaac Asimov said that King Lear was the best thing ever written. I am glad that more than twenty years ago I was required to read it in college. It took time to capture me but I have revisited King Lear several times since. Although written for actors on the stage it is top reading that is well worth working through language difficulties for the value of the emotional experience and intellectual contemplation.
4.0 out of 5 stars King Lear:,
When rating Shakespeare, I always rate his works as compared to other Shakespearean works; otherwise, the consistently high marks wouldn't be very informative. For instance, if this were to be rated against the general run of literature extant, it would certainly rate five stars. Even by the standard I'm using, it's close.
Like "Hamlet", this is a tragedy that still manages to have some very funny lines; as in "Hamlet", this is generally due to characters either pretending to be crazy, or truly being crazy, so it's something of a dark humor, but humorous it still is. Lear's jester has some great lines doing what only a jester could get away with (and what the reader wants to do): telling the King that he's an idiot when he's done something ignorant beyond belief. Edgar, son of Gloucester, banished by his father for supposed treason, plays the part of a mad beggar to save his life, and when Lear, honestly crazy from grief, meets up with him, their conversations rival anything in Hamlet for manic nonsense that still manages to make a certain warped and poigniant sense.
It's a shame that the language has changed so much since Shakespeare's time, so that the masses are unable to enjoy and appreciate his wit; his plays were not written to be enjoyed only by the literati; they were intended to entertain and, yes, enlighten the masses as well as the educated; his plots seem to be right in line with either modern romantic comedies (in his comedies) or modern soap operas (in his tragedies). Modern audiences would love him, if only they could understand him; unfortunately, when one "modernizes" the language in a Shakespearean play, what one is left with is no longer Shakespeare, but simply a modern adaptation. Which, if done well, is not without value, but is still far short of the original.
4.0 out of 5 stars Not at All Lacking in Blood and Gore,
It's a shame Shakespeare has such a bad rap among young adults. The same people who play violent video games and listen to violent music would love this play(I know, I know, I'm stereotyping, but more young adults do this than seventy-year-olds). In King Lear, people's eyes are gouged out and other people are impaled on swords.
At the beginning, King Lear decides to step down from the throne and divide the kingdom amongst his three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. First, he asks each of them how much she loves him. Goneril and Regan suck up grandly to their father, but Cordelia says that her love cannot be described, and says nothing. King Lear disowns Cordelia, who then flees to the king of France, who says that, despite the fact that she is disowned, he wants to marry her.
As soon as Cordelia leaves, Goneril and Regan betray their father, who leaves, saddened that the two daughters he thought loved him turned against him.
Meanwhile, the Earl of Gloucester is also tricked by his "bad" son Edmund into thinking that his "good" son Edgar is "bad", and Gloucester tries to kill Edgar. Eventually, Edgar is the one who leads the earl after Lear's daughter gouges his eyes out.
Shakespeare is the original soap-opera writer, but usually, there is a theme or themes to his stories, in this case, don't trust heresy and flattery.
Of course, all of this results in tragedy: most the "bad guys" and the "good guys" end up dying...King Lear dies, heartbroken, after Cordelia is executed.
4.0 out of 5 stars A king brings tragedy unto himself,
This star-rating system has one important flaw: you have to rank books only in relation to its peers, its genre. So you must put five stars in a great light-humor book, as compared to other ones of those. Well, I am giving this book four stars in relation to other Shakespeare's works and similar great books.
Of course, it's all in the writing. Shakespeare has this genius to come up with magnificent, superb sentences as well as wise utterings even if the plot is not that good.
This is the case with Lear. I would read it again only to recreate the pleasure of simply reading it, but quite frankly the story is very strange. It is hard to call it a tragedy when you foolishly bring it about on yourself. Here, Lear stupidly and unnecessarily divides his kingdom among his three daughters, at least two of them spectacularly treacherous and mean, and then behaves exactly in the way that will make them mad and give them an excuse to dispose of him. What follows is, of course, a mess, with people showing their worst, except for poor Edgar, who suffers a lot while being innocent.
Don't get me wrong: the play is excellent and the literary quality of Shakespeare is well beyond praise. If you have never read him, do it and you'll see that people do not praise him only because everybody else does, but because he was truly good.
The plot is well known: Lear divides the kingdom, then puts up a stupid contest to see which one of his daughters expresses more love for him, and when Cordelia refuses to play the game, a set of horrible treasons and violent acts begins, until in the end bad guys die and good guys get some prize, at a terrible cost.
As a reading experience, it's one of the strongest you may find, and the plot is just an excuse for great writing.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's finest tragedy,
King Lear is perhaps Shakespeare's most psychologically dark tragedy, though many may argue for Macbeth. The central theme is that of the family and the emotional and physical exile that can be brought about for simple material gain. The naive and pitiable Lear with his Cinderella-esque children, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia present all that is right and wrong with a father's relationship with his children. From his opening gambit:
"What will thoust say to gain
A third more opulent than thine sisters?"
We see exactly why the terrible tragedy must unfold. The side plot between Edmund and Edgar, the donning of the garb of the madman whilst Lear descends in to madness mirrored by his dying Fool is one of humanity's greatest literary tragedies. Whilst the 'baddies' lose in the end, there is no victory, only self-realisation and, ultimately, death. Lear's supporting cast of characters can only dance to the tune he sets in slow, unalterable motion, and there can be no silver lining at the end. Only a deep and terrible understanding of the destruction of the human psyche.
'Lear' drives home the failings of the human soul but ensures that inner understanding and remorse is attainable at a great price. It is Shakespeare's finest tragedy.
3.0 out of 5 stars King Lear was an annoying character,
Quite frankly, I can't understand why many people today consider 'King Lear' to be Shakespeare's greatest Tragedy. I found the play to be somewhat interesting and somewhat entertaining, especially when the Fool constantly called Lear 'Nuncle', but for the most part I found the play to be rather annoying. How Lear divided his kingdom among his daughters was very foolish. Lear acted like a senile, immature, mentally-disturbed, foolish old man throughout the entire play. Lear would have been much more of a truly tragic figure like Coriolanus if Lear was purely brought down by the treachery of others, but I think Lear's stupidity and foolishness mostly caused his own downfall.
"Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise" is a quote from the Fool to Lear, which basically sums up the entire play. Don't get me wrong. This play was well-written, it has many good quotes, and I recommend it, but the annoying nature of Lear forces me to rank it among the middle tier of Shakespeare's Tragedies.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing will come of nothing,
"Nothing will come of nothing" the fatal line Lear utters to Cordelia sums up the entire play. The wizened king believes he is urging Cordelia not to refrain from expressing her love for him when in fact he is unwittingly prompting her to use the same insincere flattery as her sisters. When Cordelia refuses to acquiesce to Lear's wishes, he banishes her from the kingdom and divides it among her nefarious sisters Goneril and Reagan. In doing this Lear accepts their empty flattery instead of Cordelia's austere profession of paternal love. Goneril and Reagan quickly betray Lear and then turn against each other. Thus Lear's preference for empty flattery (nothing) destroys his authority and embroils his kingdom in civil strife (generates nothing).
This theme runs like a thread through other parts of the play. Gloucester's blindness toward the nature of his sons results in his literal blindness later in the play. Metaphorical blindness generates physical blindness (nothing comes of nothing). Similarly, after Edgar is banished he avoids further harm by shedding his identity and disguising himself as a vagrant. In the new order of things eliminating one's status results in no harm (another version of nothing coming from nothing).
The motif of nothing coming from nothing has psychological and political ramifications for the play. From a psychological point of view Lear fails to realize that the type of adulating love he wants from Cordelia no longer exists because Cordelia is no longer a child. Her refusal to flatter Lear is, in a sense, an act of adolescent rebellion. Lear's failure to recognize the fact that Cordelia still loves him but not with the totality of a child proves to be his undoing. From a political point of view the fact that Lear divides his kingdom on the basis of protocol (who is the most flattering) instead of reality (whose words can he really trust) also proves to be his undoing. The fact that Lear sees what he wants to see instead of what he should see is the fulcrum of destruction throughout the play.
It is interesting to note that "King Lear" was staged barely one generation after England endured a bitter war of succession (The War of the Roses). The sight of Lear proclaiming his intention to divide his kingdom must have shocked contemporary audiences in the same manner that a play about appeasing fascists might disturb us today.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's tale of trust gone bad...,
One of literature's classic dysfunctional families shows itself in <i>King Lear</i> by William Shakespeare. King Lear implicity trusts his three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, but when the third wishes to marry for love rather than money, he banishes her. The two elder ones never felt Lear as a father; they simply did his bidding in an attempt to win his favor to get the kingdom upon his death. Cordelia, on the other hand, always cared for him, but tried to be honest, doing what she felt was right. As Lear realizes this through one betrayal after another, he loses his kingdom -- and what's more, his sanity...
The New Folger Library edition has to be among the best representations of Shakespeare I've seen. The text is printed as it should be on the right page of each two-page set, while footnotes, translations, and explanations are on the left page. Also, many drawings and illustrations from other period books help the reader to understand exactly what is meant with each word and hidden between each line.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
King Lear Cass by William Shakespeare (Audio Cassette - April 12 1995)
Used & New from: CDN$ 19.98