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Does King Lear as a great play transcend time and stay relevant to any audience?

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gsawyer | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 21, 2007 at 8:36 PM via web

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Does King Lear as a great play transcend time and stay relevant to any audience?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 22, 2007 at 12:49 AM (Answer #1)

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King Lear is widely considered to be Shakespeare's greatest artistic achievement. One of the timeless themes of the play is Lear's failure to trust in Cordelia's love for him. Parents today can most likely identify with Lear, questioning their children's love for them. Parents still have the problems of raising children today. They try to protect them from making the same mistakes or discipline them for something they have done wrong. Children still resent their parents' interference in their lives or see a punishment as too harsh. Children still sometimes doubt their parents' love. These are human feelings that are timeless and readers of King Lear can relate to them today.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 20, 2007 at 10:54 AM (Answer #2)

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Frank Kermode, a great literary critic, argues that King Lear is Shakespeare’s cruelest play, forcing us to look at certain things that we prefer not to look at, such as death or the way the world works, which is never the way we want it to work.  We live in a society that depends upon our belief in it and in our belief in others, too. Without that belief in our society and in others, we would have no shelter—just as Lear literally has no shelter in the play.  Sanity, dignity and love—these depend upon a structure of belief which might even be an illusion—which is what Lear discovers, and when he does, the world becomes an instrument of torture:  he finds himself bound upon a wheel of fire pushed by fortune.  Lear, then, finds himself stripped of everything we take for granted in a civilized, good life, a terrifying possibility for him as well as for us now in world filled with war, the destruction of the environment, hunger, poverty, homelessness, and all the other things that might not happen to you or to me, but could.  This is why King Lear transcends time and cultures as well. The link below offers some responses other cultures have made to this timeless play with universal themes.

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dhanasekar | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 10, 2008 at 7:21 AM (Answer #3)

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king lear is a play which deals with unparental care and filial ingratitude of children.and this play can reallyrelevant to any audience from orient to europeans.there will be many lears in the soceity where there is money,power,prestige and lust.i can strongly tell you that king lear will be time immemorial for the human beings(i.e homosapiens)

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missiledragon | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2013 at 7:28 AM (Answer #4)

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Frank Kermode, a great literary critic, argues that King Lear is Shakespeare’s cruelest play, forcing us to look at certain things that we prefer not to look at, such as death or the way the world works, which is never the way we want it to work.  We live in a society that depends upon our belief in it and in our belief in others, too. Without that belief in our society and in others, we would have no shelter—just as Lear literally has no shelter in the play.  Sanity, dignity and love—these depend upon a structure of belief which might even be an illusion—which is what Lear discovers, and when he does, the world becomes an instrument of torture:  he finds himself bound upon a wheel of fire pushed by fortune.  Lear, then, finds himself stripped of everything we take for granted in a civilized, good life, a terrifying possibility for him as well as for us now in world filled with war, the destruction of the environment, hunger, poverty, homelessness, and all the other things that might not happen to you or to me, but could.  This is why King Lear transcends time and cultures as well. The link below offers some responses other cultures have made to this timeless play with universal themes.

Where did you find Frank Kermode's critique?

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