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WorldInColour

WorldInColour

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King Lear (The Pelican Shakespeare) - Stephen Orgel, William Shakespeare There is an abundance of reviews, essays, opinions and prejudicial comments available when talking about Shakespeare. It would seem that the man was incapable of jotting down a bad sentence, let alone a bad story, at least, that's the veil they hand you when calling Shakespeare, morbidly referred to as 'Willy' by those who know the first three lines of Hamlet's 'to be or not to be'-speech, 'the greatest writer of all time'.

In this review, I shall not beshame my opinion by calling anyone Willy, Shakey, Quilly or by using the word 'Shakespearean'. 'King Lear' is not the strongest play in the exuberant repertoire of Shakespeare. It is, however, one of the more reader-friendly ones, which means you don't need a detailed map of familial relations to follow the plot. The story of King Lear relies heavily on stories that already existed at the time, but had only served as traditional folk tales or as long forgotten myths. For those who are oblivious to the plot - King Lear wants to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Whereas Goneril and Regan go out of their proverbial ways to flatter their father, Cordelia remains reticent (but honest). Which, of course, is not much appreciated. What follows resembles the story of Oedipus, that other Blind King who slowly wandered into his own destruction. Gloucester, one of the side characters, actually does lose his eyes.

'King Lear', in the end, is a reflection on power and what one will do to achieve it. Even though it might be a bit stale nowadays, it still holds true to its message, and for those who enjoy Shakespeare's husky metaphor, this play will provide you with all the ammunition needed.