Most helpful critical review
King Lear was an annoying character
on January 18, 2002
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.