King Lear AO3 and AO4

Original version of King Lear is called King Leir from Holinshed’s Chronicles
First performed 26th December 1606 – written during period of uncertainty surrounding Elizabeth’s throne (possible civil war imminent similar to the War of the Roses 1455-1485)
Competing against what other attraction for customers? Bear-baiting (tickets were the same price)
Goneril and Regan’s flattering of Lear follows what formula? Ernst Curtius’s “cedat-formula” for flattery
Sir Richard Eyre’s production of King Lear (1997) at the national theatreGoneril and Regan = highly strung and towards the end of their child bearing years
Peter Brook’s version of King Lear (1962) filmed in Denmark emphasizes the scale of Lear’s decision to split the kingdom (more primal, elemental epoch)
Japanese version of King Lear, Ran (1985) by Akira Kurosawa keeps the Fool with Lear throughout and does not kill him off (Fool is a comic and wise character)
Nahum Tate’s adaptation of King Lear called The History of King Lear (1681) ends with Lear regaining the throne and Cordelia surviving to marry Edgar “truth and virtue shall at last succeed.” (tragicomedy)
Fool occupies a similar role to that of Feste from Twelfth Night
Fool’s commentary on the splitting of the crown is similar to Poggio Bracciolini by Robert L’Estrange. The moral is that in trying to please all he pleases no noe
The Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae, is a concept in medieval and ancient philosophy referring to the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna
Bedlam refers to the Bethlem Royal Hospital which was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform.
stichomythic dialogue occurs between Cornwall, Regan and Goneril in Gloucester’s punishment highlighting how they are acting in accord with one another
Aristotle, The Poetics “tragedy must be “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude […] in the form of action, not of narrative” so that through “pity and fear” the “proper purgation of these emotions” would be affected
Peter Mortenson (Albany) “a fully developed guardian of order and natural law””Albany reiterates, on an independent level, the spiritual and moral growth of Lear and Gloucester””Albany, the more reticent but more enduring of the dukes””Albany is married to the primary mover of evil energy””Albany comes to stand for, as its simplest denominator, that state of government which adheres to proper form and justice and creates a climate which will nurture the forces of good”
Leo Kirschbaum (Albany) “Albany’s growth from nonentity to greatness in King Lear [was] not worth Gloucester’s eyes””Albany was meant by Shakespeare to be observed carefully”
Yan Brailowsky (Albany) “the traditional understanding of Albany as a ‘good’ character who provides a sense of moral closure to an otherwise bleak tragedy””the character taken from the annals of British mythical history, and the dukes of Albany of the early modern era”
William Ferguson Tamblyn (Lear and Albany) “the servants, Albany and Lear himself look for the hand of God in the punishment of wickedness; and indeed the wicked of this play come to grief”
William R. Elton (religion) “God does not trouble about human concerns”
G. Wilson Knight (religion) “we see a religion born of disillusionment, suffering and sympathy […] developing from nature magic to God”
Horace Howard Furness (Lear) “Lear is a genuine case of insanity from the beginning to the end […] it is a real case of insanity correctly reported”
Charles Lamb (Lear) “the explosions of his passions are terrible as a volcano; they are storms turning up and disclosing to the bottom that rich sea, his mind, with all its vast riches”
Charles Lamb “Lear is essentially impossible to be represented on a stage””To see Lear acted, to see an old man tottering about the stage with a walking-stick, turned out of doors by his daughters in a rainy night, has nothing in it but what is painful and disgusting”
Granville Barker “the intellectual denial of humanity to Goneril and Regan is instrumental to the psychological denial that they really are Lear’s daughters”
S. L. Goldberg “there is no supernatural justice – only human natural justice”
A. C. Bradley “King Lear is too huge for the stage””Lear’s words are monstrously unjust”
Helen Norris “the horror of Lear’s story is the unnatural behavior of Goneril and Regan […] not only personal sins but an upsetting of civilized values”
Kathleen McKluskie “women are made either to submit – Cordelia – or must be destroyed – Goneril and Regan””Family relations in this play are seen as fixed and determined, and any movement within them is portrayed as a destructive reversal of natural order”
Jan Kott “King Lear is a play about the disintegration of the world”
Charles Gildon “We rejoice at the death of the Bastard and the two sisters, as of Monsters in Nature under whom the very Earth must groan”
Irving Ribner (Lear) “King Lear is an affirmation of justice in the world, of a harmonious system ruled by a God who in his ultimate purposes is benevolent”
Frederik Bengtsson (Lear) “the monarch [is an] absolute ruler with divine right”
Frank Kermode (suffering and religion) “suffering […] can reduce humanity to a bestial condition, under an indifferent heaven”
Frank Kermode (Fool) “the Fool is both loyal and bitter; he is a perpetual reminder of carnival, of the commentary on grandees allowed by custom to the humble”
Frank Kermode (love) “the love he seeks is the sort that can be offered in formal and subservient expressions”
Frank Kermode (Goner and Regan flattery) Goneril and Regan are “using what rhetoricians called ‘the topic of inexpressibility'”
R. A. Zimbardo (Fool) “the indeterminate, innommable named Fool, names or determines the value of the determined King”
Nicholas Breton (Fool) the fool is “a kind of shadow of a […] substance or, like the vision of a dream, that yields nothing awake”
Hal Holbrook (Fool) “the fool is an intellectual […] the teacher trying to make the adult student understand what is happening, what is being done to him and what he is doing himself”

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