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Mass Market Paperback King Lear Book

ISBN: 074348276X

ISBN13: 9780743482769

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

The authoritative edition of King Lear from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers.

Shakespeare's King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. What,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Classic I Need Help Appreciating

I read this for my law school Great Books program. I'd wanted to read this as it's a monumental classic, but just never got to it. I give it five stars because who am I to say Shakespeare deserves less. (But I'd much rather read "In Search of Lost Time," "The Tempest" or something like "Paradise Lost." Now I have. I dragged myself through it. I had no sympathy for Lear. He just drove me to distraction. He was so blind to the relationships and the predictable effects of his own decisions. God help those who had him for a king. Yet, the essays in the back of the book, helped me appreciate the play as did our first discussion.

A tragic action without possible return!

King Lear`s fatality cannot be invocated as a divine curse. When Lear renounces to be at charge of his kingdom wrought with the ferocity of his soldiers and irrigated with the blood of his troops, begins his own fall, because you cannot be king without a kingdom. The nature denied Lear the possibility of a male inheritor, so under the perspective of his imminent death, decides to bet in the unpredictable roulette of the emotions a test of love to find out which one of his daughters loves him more. Betrayal and deception because his favourite daughter replies him with flippancy and without any signal of sincere gratitude. This fact will untie his repressed anger, proceeding to disinherit her. This is the decisive spark that will ignite the stage in the primary plot. In the secondary but no least important dramatic tie, Gloucester will believe in Edmund's eloquence and juridical device supported by a false letter in which Edgar claims unsaid ambitions. Gloucester will lose himself at the moment he has preferred to believe his illegitimate son instead his legitimate Edgar. Betrayal and distrust; jealous and rivalries; perversion and immorality will convey to all these personages into a fatidic whirlwind of predictable consequences. All tragedy traduces and reaffirms the aspiration of the human being to enhance himself through an act of unexpected valour, to acquire a new level of his grandness in front of the obstacles, the unknown that finds in the world as well as the society of his time. Andre Bonnard One of the most important works of this colossus of the dramaturgy. A must - read.


The OXFORD is a great source. What the ARDEN'S may not touch on, these do, and thus, shed more light on the subject at hand.

blood isn't thicker than water

This great work is immense so I will just mention two themes that had an impact on me. This play shows both the self-destruction that unrestrained greed can lead to and also how someone who loves his or her sons or daughters can easily be exploited by them. In addition, this play made me think about the relationship I have with my parents. This play describes how unchecked human desires for prestige and land lead to a life full of suspicion and unhappiness. Goneril and Regan, immediately after acquiring their father's kingdom, begin to treat him with less and less respect because he isn't rich anymore. For instance, neither sister allows King Lear to stay in the castles of their respective husbands to provide him with shelter from a violent storm. In another example, both Goneril and Regan have the Earl of Kent, a high ranking dignitary who is openly a loyal supporter of King Lear, put out in the stocks without King Lear's permission. Again, this is symbolically an act of disrespect against Lear. But, this unrestrained and unprincipled selfish attitude catches up with the two sisters, Goneril and Regan. They eventually turn against each other when they both compete for the handsome Edmund. Maybe what Shakespeare is saying here is that if one seeks happiness through material wealth or status, then that individual is doomed to always feel jealous of others who are more wealthy or who have more prestige in some way. Another theme I found in this play relates to how a loving parent can easily let him or herself be manipulated by his or her own children. In the beginning of the play, King Lear was basically controlled by his two daughters, Goneril and Regan. King Lear strikes me as a capricious person because he makes important decisions based on a whim. For example, Goneril and Regan, knowing that King Lear both loves them and that he is impetuous, give him what he wants -- approval and attention. By contrast, King Lear becomes exasperated with Cordelia when she refuses to feed his ego with flattery. King Lear, in a subsequent fit of rage, decides to bequeath his entire kingdom to Goneril, Regan and their respective husbands with nothing remaining for Cordelia. Perhaps what the author is trying to get across is that if we are to ever entrust a daughter, son or friend with land or a large sum of money, then what we feel for that person can prevent us from properly evaluating whether that daughter, son or friend is really responsible and loyal. Thirdly, this situation between King Lear and his three daughters made me think about what will happen to the relationship I have with my parents. My mom and dad raised, fed and clothed me. Eventually, however, my parents will become weak, infirm and forgetful of what they say or do. So, will I ditch my parents and leave them to fend for themselves in an elderly home? Or will I remain by their side even if they may no longer be in a position to provide me with money or property? In other w

Excellent, Excellent Excellent!!! Great intro to Shakespeare

I am a theatre arts instructor and I feel that this book is an excellent introduction to Shakespeare's plays. I feel, as do many other people in my field, that the plays of William Shakespeare are meant to be seen as opposed to read. The comic book format gives you the best of both worlds. I have given this book to students who claim not to be able to understand Shakespeare and they literally tear through this book. Very high marks as far as this Professor is concerned!!!

King Lear Mentions in Our Blog

King Lear in 10 Classic Books that Sum Up 2023
10 Classic Books that Sum Up 2023
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 28, 2023

From Taylor Swift's world domination to Barbenheimer, it's been a year of big stories. As a fun twist on the New Year's tradition of a retrospective on the events of the previous twelve months, we have gathered a collection of ten classic books that sum up 2023.

King Lear in Modern Novels Based on Shakespearean Plays
Modern Novels Based on Shakespearean Plays
Published by Bianca Smith • April 23, 2018
All the Thee and Thou can make it hard to enjoy Shakespearean plays, but these novels make it easier.
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