Presentation on theme: "Shakespeare’s King Lear. A. Background on the story 1. Pre Christian King of good reputation – -- source was probably Holinshed’s Chronicles, a source."— Presentation transcript:
A. Background on the story 1. Pre Christian King of good reputation – -- source was probably Holinshed’s Chronicles, a source Shakespeare used for many of his plays 2. An earlier version of the play (King Leir, 1605 anon.) 3. Shakespeare’s changes (Gloucester subplot, final deaths)
A. Nature (the four levels) 1. God and Perfection (above the stars) 2. Higher Nature but imperfect civiliz., conscious. Morality) 3. Lower Nature (amoral, bestial, animal (reason w/o conscience)) 4. Evil – realm of the demons
2. Order vs. Chaos -- the question of Justice a. Lear (and we) learn that --life is awful --there is not always a happy ending --there’s nothing we can do about it b. Job’s question: why do bad things happen to good people
a. Can anything redeem this injustice / violence / suffering / meaninglessness of the world? 1. wisdom – this is the great gift of time and suffering (Lear finds wisdom when sees truth and stops valuing superficial (he seems mad but is wise the new Fool 2. Lear’s journey Pride rage suffering/humiliation madness wisdom death
3. the real answer is goodness and honesty are rewards in themselves – that is what redeems/ justifies life Stoicism – be good (beauty and grace); not one of “the many” (R and G)—choosing virtue may bring suffering but it is still better than being one of “the many” --Jesus and the adulterous woman --the meaning of virtue (morality and the gods come together
For example: Cordelia Cordelia chooses not to participate in a ridiculous and dishonest spectacle—this was not a flimsy decision when you realize what love means to Cordelia honesty duty loyalty
3. Good vs. Evil Good (the moral) is directly related to love, compassion, the soul Evil (the immoral) is directly realted to selfishness, the id, violence, the physical
The Higher World Lear Cordelia Kent Albany The Fool Edgar The Lower World Goneril Regan Edmund Cornwall Oswald
4. Loyalty vs. Blind Obedience KentOswald CordeliaGoneril / Regan The FoolEdmund (no honor)
5. Chaos and the Uncaring Universe a. Chaos results from DIVISION (the kingdom, families, brothers, sisters, etc.) b. King Lear as precursor to existentialism “There is, therefore, no preexistent spiritual realm, no soul…,no cosmic compassion for or interest in human life, no afterlife, no transcendence of worldly existence, no cosmic meta-narrative, no angels and devils…, no divine will, no preset destiny, no inevitable fate.”
Chaos and the Uncaring Universe In a sense Edmund is right—there are no stars to guide us. The play shows there to be no intrinsic meaning in the universe. However, humans and human consciousness, human virtue, human loyalty, and human love create a meaningful and caring universe.
Psychological Levels Kent Cordelia the Fool (reason) (love) (wits, intell., wisdom) Lear Gloucester Edgar Edmund (good) (evil)
The Evil Side Cornwall – Goneril Regan – Albany Edmund Oswaldthe guard who follows Edmund’s order to kill Lear and Cordelia
1. The Storm 2. Blindness and sight 3. The Fool
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