Discuss the parallels between Shakespeare's King Lear and Kurosawa's Ran.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most striking parallel between both works is the powerful display of children betraying their parents and the foolish decisions made by the latter in support of poor examples of the former.  Lear and Hidetora are constructed in a way that embodies this.  They both neglect the loyal child in favor of the disloyal ones.  They both sacrifice their kingdom without realizing it and in embracing the loyal child, they do so too late.  Both works speak to this in a profound manner.  I think that a difference between them is that Kurosawa did not initially set out to create a work that mirrored Shakespeare.  It becomes evident to him during planning of the connection between the two.  Yet, Kurosawa might have been seeing himself as Hidetora in his work.  Kurosawa's work depicts the idea of existing in a world that has long passed another.  Recognizing this in his own life, he becomes the Lear- like figure in seeing the difficulty to secure financing for his work and seeing his own place in Japanese cinema dissipate with time.  In this, Hidetora is himself, and this adds a dimension to Kurosawa's work that simultaneously moves his work closer and farther away from Shakespeare's.


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