Shakespeare - King Lear


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Shakespeare - King Lear

  1. 1. • King Lear is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare. • Shakespeare authored King Lear around 1605, between Othello and Macbeth, and it is usually ranked with Hamlet as one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. • King Lear was first printed in 1608. This initial printing is now referred to as the First Quarto. • Another Quarto version was printed in 1619, and King Lear appeared again in a 1623 Folio edition. The First Quarto contains 300 lines not found in the Folio, and the Folio contains 100 lines not found in the First Quarto. • The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king.
  2. 2. • Lear, King of Britain • Goneral, eldest daughter of Lear • Regan, second daughter of Lear • Cordelia, youngest daughter of Lear • Duke of Albany, husband to Goneril • Duke of Cornwall, husband to Regan • Earl of Gloucester (sometimes written as Gloster) • Earl of Kent, often appearing under the guise of Caius • Edgar, son of Gloucester • Edmund, illegitimate son of Gloucester • Fool, Lear's fool or court jester
  3. 3. • The setting of King Lear is as far removed from Shakespeare’s time as the setting of any of his other plays, dramatizing events from the eighth century B.C. • But the parallel stories of Lear’s and Gloucester’s sufferings at the hands of their own children reflect anxieties that would have been close to home for Shakespeare’s audience. • One possible event that may have influenced this play is a lawsuit that occurred not long before King Lear was written, in which the eldest of three sisters tried to have her elderly father, Sir Brian Annesley, declared insane so that she could take control of his property.
  4. 4. • King Lear, who is elderly and wants to retire from power, decides to divide his realm among his three daughters, and offers the largest share to the one who loves him best. • Goneril and Regan both proclaim in exaggerated terms that they love him more than anything in the world, which pleases him. • For Cordelia, there is nothing to compare her love to, nor words to properly express it; she speaks honestly but bluntly, which infuriates him. In his anger he disinherits her, banishes her, and divides the kingdom between Regan and Goneril.
  5. 5. • Lear announces he will live alternately with Goneril and Regan, and their husbands, the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall respectively. • He reserves to himself a retinue of one hundred knights, to be supported by his daughters. • Goneril and Regan speak privately, revealing that their declarations of love were fake, and they view their father Lear as an old and foolish man. • Lear discovers that now that Goneril has power, she no longer respects him. She orders him to behave better and reduces his retinue. Enraged, Lear departs for Regan's home. The Fool mocks Lear's misfortune. • When Lear arrives at his other daughter’s, Regan takes the same line as Goneril. Lear is enraged but impotent.
  6. 6. • Lear yields completely to his rage. He rushes out into a storm to rant against his ungrateful daughters, accompanied by the mocking Fool. • Meanwhile, plots are hatched by Edmund, the illegitimate son of Gloucester, who forges a letter that says that Gloucester’s other son Edgar is raising an army against his father. • Gloucester banishes his innocent son, leaving himself at the mercy of the vengeful Edmund. • Gloucester is later tortured and blinded by Lear’s daughter, Regan, and her husband, Cornwall.
  7. 7. • Gloucester’s physical blindness symbolizes the metaphorical blindness that grips both Gloucester and the play’s other father figure, Lear. • The parallels between the two men are clear: both have loyal children and disloyal children, both are blind to the truth, and both end up banishing the loyal children and making the wicked one(s) their heir(s). • Only when Gloucester has lost the use of his eyes and Lear has gone mad does each realize his tremendous error. • It is appropriate that the play brings them together near Dover in Act 4 to commiserate about how their blindness to the truth about their children has cost them dearly.
  8. 8. Although the last, not least. King Lear. Act i. Sc. 1. Nothing will come of nothing. King Lear. Act i. Sc. 1. Mend your speech a little, Lest it may mar your fortunes. King Lear. Act i. Sc. 1 How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is To have a thankless child! King Lear. Act i. Sc. 4. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! King Lear. Act iii. Sc. 2. I am a man More sinn’d against than sinning. King Lear. Act iii. Sc. 2. Oh, that way madness lies; let me shun that. King Lear. Act iii. Sc. 4. The prince of darkness is a gentleman. King Lear. Act iii. Sc. 4. I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course. King Lear. Act iii. Sc. 7. Ay, every inch a king. King Lear. Act iv. Sc. 6. Which is the justice, which is the thief? King Lear. Act iv. Sc. 6. Pray you now, forget and forgive. King Lear. Act iv. Sc. 7. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices Make instruments to plague us. King Lear. Act v. Sc. 3.
  9. 9. • King Lear has been adapted over twenty times for film and television, the first in 1909! Other notable adaptions are: • 1910 (Great Britain); • A 1953 Television version with Orson Welles; • A 1971 Russian adaption Kirol Lir; • A stylish 1971 British adaption starring Peter Brook. • A 1983 Television adaption starring Lawrence Olivier; • A 1985 Japanese adaption by director Akira Kurosawa: RAN • A 2002 Television adaption called The King Of Texas starring Patrick Stewart, and set in the Old West. • A 2008 Masterpiece Theater Television adaption with Sir Ian McKellan. • And actor Al Pacino is rumored to be filming a new motion picture adaption of King Lear.
  10. 10. A Nutsy The Squirrel Production Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved Oak Hills Media Center