In what ways do Shakespeare’s King Lear plays and Bond’s Lear present extreme content?

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

Posted on

I think that the manner in which Cordelia is presented in both works is fundamentally different and reflects how extreme content is presented.  In this case, "extreme" can be seen as being different from the norm.  Certainly, one could argue that Cordelia is different and extreme from her sisters.  In Shakespeare, Cordelia is emotionally extreme, the only sister capable of speaking the truth and being open and grounded in her emotional sensibilities.  She is able to both speak the truth to her father and then embrace him in the end.  She represents the sole presence of emotional redemption and Shakespeare presents this extreme as the sole refuge in consciousness, a haven in a heartless world.  I think that this is where Bond's presentation of Cordelia as an extreme is a bit different.  Bond shows Cordelia as absorbing the form of the world around her.  She appropriates that which envelops her and ends up becoming more violent and more sadistic than her sisters.  While she is marginalized at first, like in Shakespeare, Bond shows her to not be the source of any sort of redemption.  She orders the blinding of her father and is responsible for the death of her sisters.  In this, the presentation of her as an extreme is something that shows the extreme appropriated by the norm.  Bond seems content to suggest that in the worst of situations, the extreme is appropriated and subsumed by the norm, lacking redemption, while Shakespeare shows the extreme to exist outside of that which is devoid of redemption.

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scottangus | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

This is great help, thankyou.

Do you think that you could talk about the way in which each play treats characters to a fair trial?

For example, in Shakespeare Gloucester's treatment is presented as shocking as he is given no fair trial and abused. Compared to Bond's play which gives Lear a fair trial; 'politics is a higher form of justice'.

Essentially could I write about the above in terms of desensitization and how Bond highlights the sensless violence of Shakespeare?

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