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King Lear Paperback – Jun 16 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (June 16 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486280586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486280585
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

From Library Journal

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 an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The rating of four stars is for the edition (R.A. Foakes's); the play is one of the greatest tragedies ever written, and of course deserves at least five stars.
It is not easy to find a a truly satisfactory edition of this play. An advantage of R.A. Foakes's is that he offers us a "conflated" text, i.e. one that aims to reconstruct something like what Shakespeare originally wrote by taking elements from the best two early printings rather than giving us those separately or by settling for the one rather than the other. I don't think, though, that Foakes's reconstruction is nearly as convincing as that of earlier editors who presented conflated texts. I am often unhappy about his glosses, too, and about his rather "trendy" introduction. Even so, the introduction and the notes do give us most of what we need, so long as we approach this material with independence of mind.
The PLAY is the thing, and whichever text we read it in (even, for example, in a text based just on that in the Folio), it is a great and moving work. Lear is an ageing king (about 80+), whose life has been sheltered and pampered. Although this equips him badly for "real" life, he is not intrinsically the evil tyrant that much current criticism tends to suggest - even his authoritarianism seems a matter of habit rather than anything else. At the beginning of the play he foolishly decides that he will give each of his three daughters a part of his kingdom. His intention had been to give the youngest daughter, Cordelia, with whom he planned to spend his "retirement", the biggest portion. However, rather than simply proceeding with his plan, he asks his daughters to declare the degree of their love for him, and this is where tangible trouble starts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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