Destruction of the Old Order in King Lear Act I

In the first act of King Lear Shakespeare turns the order of world of the play upside down. By the end of the first act virtually every character’s station in life has been changed significantly. Lear has given away his power, he has destroyed his family by disowning one daughter and angered another, and he […]

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Is King Lear Nihilistic or Hopeful?

Is King Lear nihilistic or hopeful? Satisfying, hopeful, and redemptive: some critics would say that these adjectives belong nowhere near a description of King Lear. One critic, Thomas Roche, even states that the play’s ending is “as bleak and unrewarding as man can reach outside the gates of hell” (164). Certainly, Roche’s pessimistic interpretation has […]

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The King’s Storm- A Point of No Return

Shakespeare’s King Lear examines the politics of betrayal and the awful costs paid by its victims.  Nowhere in the play are these costs more apparent than in those scenes in which Lear and his exiled companions find themselves caught in the midst of a thunderstorm unsheltered.  As King, Lear embodied the basic assumptions of monarchy, […]

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Parallel Situations Drawn Between King Lear and Gloucester

In what ways does Shakespeare draw parallel situations between King Lear and Earl of Gloucester, and how are the characters similar in the play (specifically Act 1)? While examining Lear and Gloucester, there are obvious similarities, such as that they are both of an older generation with evident power and authority. Both have children wishing […]

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