Saturday, December 19, 2009

King Lear by William Shakespeare

In this masterpiece by Shakepeare, King Lear decides to retire and divide his kingdom among his three daughters. Courting tragedy, the king decides to test his daughters by asking which loves him the most. The conniving Gonoril and Regan flatter their father, the king, with words of love, but Lear's youngest daughter, Cordelia, refuses to play along. For this she is disinherited and banished. When the Earl of Kent speaks up on Cordelia's behalf, King Lear banishes him too. Meanwhile, another plot is afoot. Edmund, the bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester schemes to have his legitimate brother, Edgar, disowned and thereby inherit his father's lands and title. These two different plot lines collide in an orgy of violence, death, and tragedy not to be missed by any serious reader.

Though Hamlet is still my favorite Shakespearean play, King Lear comes in a close second. I really enjoyed the two different plot lines that run through the play. The characters were all engaging. The only negative was the frequent lines of the play that I did not understand and apparently scholars are unable to explain But, those unintelligible lines are but a minor distraction in a great work of literature that everyone should read.


1 comment:

Andrea said...

I've never actually read King Lear, but it's one of those plays that I always meant to. Great review!