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King Lear (School Shakespeare Series)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  133,080 Ratings  ·  2,551 Reviews
An edition of Shakespeare's tragedy, including discussion of its plot, themes, characters, language, production, and author.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 12th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1603)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bill  Kerwin

I've read Lear many times, and, although I didn't learn anything new about the play this reading, I did learn a little about how I have changed. I have always loved the play, but in the past I found its injustice and evil nigh overpowering, its victims pathetically guiltless, its perspective verging on the nihilistic. Now, though, I see goodness and grace everywhere: in Cordelia's plain-spoken honesty and love for Lear, in Kent and Gloster's loyalty, in Edgar's bizarre attempt to heal his father
...more
Dolors
May 09, 2016 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody with no exception
Recommended to Dolors by: Núria Espert
My first encounter with Shakespeare has totally swept me off my feet. As much as I had heard of the indisputable grandeur of the most famous playwright of all times I never expected to be so immersed in the swirling undercurrents of the incongruities of human nature that are so vividly portrayed in this tragedy. Even though my inexpensive Wordsworth edition wasn’t generous with annotations or academic essays, the universality of Shakespeare’s art, wrought in versed polyptotons, playful aphorisms ...more
Kat Stark
Dec 03, 2015 Kat Stark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Let's take a jog through memory lane...to my high school years...when I fell in love with Shakespeare's work...(With some added dialogue and gifs of course, IOW = In Other Words)

We see in King Lear, that Shakespeare shows a contrast between the role a man plays in society and the role man plays for himself. Lear is, as known, a King and is supposed to be a man in control. A King of high status is loved by many and is in charge of everything that goes on in the Kingdom; overlooks others. Lear is
...more
Riku Sayuj

A Fairy Tale I Give Thee, A ‘True Chronicle History’


[Dramatis Personæ:

The Bard, as Himself

World, as Itself

You, as Fool, in the Bard’s service

Kings, Daughters, Sons, Knights, Fools, Gentlemen, Soldiers, Attendants, Messengers, Servants.]


Act 1.1


Sennet. Enter [The Bard, You]


Bard:

Hark, A Fairy Tale I Give Thee, Fit for Today’s Times!


I have in my time, written many plays - tragedies, comedies, all - but reader beware: this might be my darkest vision yet.

I will exalt you; and in death’s throngs.

Ha
...more
Lyn
Apr 01, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.

In college honors English at U. Tennessee Knoxville, I stumbled into a dissertation about a comparison of epic and tragic, using as templates Lear and Milton's Paradise Lost. In all of English class papers, there may never have been a more seasoned example of pure bull**** and left field logic. I think I got a B-, just because my instructor may have been worried about whether or not my meds had kicked in.

Still, in composing the literary testimony of
...more
Hailey (HailsHeartsNyc)
Honestly didn't enjoy this as much as I had expected to. I think my expectations were too high. But, it was still an enjoyable play!
Huda Yahya
با لعذابك يا لير
ويا لقسوة الدهر على شيخوختك

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our teeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurour and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!...


لا أظن ان هناك من استطاع تصوير الانحدار نحو الجنون كما
...more
Manny
I was lucky enough to be living in Stockholm when Ingmar Bergman staged Lear at the Swedish National Theatre in the late 80s, and I saw it twice. Bergman's take on the play was very interesting and unusual; he interpreted it as fundamentally optimistic.

Obviously, you're wondering why, and in the hands of a lesser director it would probably just have been a piece of unnecessary perversity. Bergman's reasoning was, in fact, not bizarre. He saw the key scene of the play as the reconciliation betwee
...more
David
Apr 05, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-20
This is where Shakespeare takes off the gloves. He brings us right to the edge of the abyss, then kicks us over that edge. King Lear is the most devastating by far of the Shakespeare tragedies -- this is a play which leaves the reader shattered as the curtain falls.

The play has a kind of primal power, which I find hard to explain. The plot is fairly typically Shakespeare, perhaps a little more complicated than usual, mixing elements taken from legend and from the historical record. At the outse
...more
Bram
Mar 12, 2010 Bram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, the-bard
In a world where every king must give up his crown, where tragedies end in death and all comes to dust, this is a hopeful tale. This hope won’t appear in a plot summary or in the morbid sum of deaths by play’s end, and yet there are key moments of reconciliation for both of the aged, long-suffering characters. After experiencing little but anguish for much of the play, Lear and Gloucester are granted a reprieve from the darkest of fates. Granted, these 11th hour reprieves are short-lived, but in ...more
Kelly
As the bright red firament of stars above might give away, I really responded to this play. I may have done so in both negative and positive ways, but this story made a really lasting impression on me. It did for me what Macbeth could not- gave me genuinely tragic characters who earned the tears and compassion that I gave for them by the end of the journey.

Thinking about it in retrospect, a useful guide for King Lear is provided by another of Shakespeare's characters, Jacques, and his Ages of Ma
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
2109 fellow Goodreaders [can’t be wrong] gave it 1 star. Many call it boring. Some even say it is predictable and has no moral lesson. That these people have the right to vote and to procreate is frightening to me.


I am NOT ranking the play itself here, only the Norton Critical Edition version (2007). Shakespeare’s Lear is, duh, one of western culture’s great achievements and personally I think it has become my favorite Shakespeare play.

I won't lie... I didn't even finish this one. All of the fa
...more
Fernando
Nov 18, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El teatro, el drama, es un género que no acostumbro a leer muy a menudo, pero cada vez que me acerco a este tipo de clásicos, lo hago a partir de William Shakespeare. Sólo tengo cuatro libros del genial bardo, a saber y en orden de predilección: Macbeth, Hamlet, La Tempestad y este, que me ha agradado en buena manera. Los dos primeros que enumero siguen siendo mis predilectos, especialmente Macbeth, por ser la obra más oscura y malvada de Shakespeare.
Respecto de El Rey Lear, y como en la mayoría
...more
Aubrey
I gave you all.

And in good time you gave it.


They told me I was everything; 'tis a lie[.]
There's little respect for the old where I come from. My personal bias being what it is, it's taken some time for me to look past my individual justification to the broader scope of human beings inheriting power from human beings. Land, fealty, divine right. Once you held sway over three begotten children. Now authority has turned contumely and you seek to divest it and its bloodsuckers into the hands of th
...more
Nikos Tsentemeidis
May 03, 2016 Nikos Tsentemeidis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre, owned
"Πρέπει να αντέξουμε το βάρος της θλιβερής μας εποχής:
τα λόγια μας να μην τα επιβάλλει χρέος, αλλά κατάθεση ψυχής.
Οι πρόγονοί μας είχαν βάσανα χειρότερα. Κι εμείς, που τώρα ζούμε,
ούτε στα χρόνια τους θα φτάσουμε, ούτε τόσα πολλά θα δούμε."

Συγκλονιστικό έργο. Το τρίτο και καλύτερο που διαβάζω του Shakespeare, μετά τον Άμλετ και τον Μακμπέθ. Άξιος απόγονος των τριών αρχαίων Ελλήνων τραγικών. Δεν έχω κάτι πιο συγκεκριμένο να πω, κάθε φράση είναι ένα δίδαγμα.
David Sarkies
May 02, 2016 David Sarkies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tragedy
A Story of a Man who just wants to be Loved
16 April 2009

This is by far and away my favourite Shakespeare play. It is a very dark and brooding play that is not only incredibly violent, but also ends very badly for most of the main characters. King Lear is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies (along with the Scottish Play and Hamlet) though I find that Hamlet is a lot tighter and the plots are a lot more intertwined than King Lear.

What I mean by this is that there are, I'll say two, plots runnin
...more
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
به درستی میشه گفت یه شاهکار بینظیر از شکسپیر هستش

به نظر من دلنشینترین بخش، اون لحظه ای هست که مرد پاسبان داره اون روسپی رو شلاق یا تازیانه میزنه... به گفته شکسپیر بزرگ، اون مرد پاسبان وقتی داشت اون روسپی رو تازیانه میزد به سختی نیاز داشت که با روسپی همون کاری رو انجام بده که بخاطرش داشت تازیانه رو بالا و پایین میبرد

این بخش از نمایشنامه، نشان دهنده این حقیقت هستش که، همیشه افراد تابع اون قانون ، خواستی سرکوب شده برای انجام اون کاری رو دارن که بخاطرش دارن فرد خاطی رو مجازات میکنن

پیروز باشید و ایرا
...more
Jonathan
His greatest work, in my opinion, which makes it one of the greatest works of art our species has produced. Its greatness lies not just in its language or in its analysis of power, but in the extraordinary structure of it, and its complete refusal to follow the usual dramatic arcs. How shocking must it have been for a Jacobean audience to see a god-chosen king reduced to scrabbling around in a hovel?

The heartbreaking irreversibility of mortality. Age and loss. The stripping away of self. Love.
...more
Natalie Monroe
A guide to all Shakespeare tragedies:

Sophia
Aug 23, 2015 Sophia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty solid.
Amir Lewiz


بضدها تتميز الأشياء


هنا الشر و الخير في صراع قوي و عنيف


هنا الخيانة و العقوق و الأنانية و محبة المال و السلطة و الخداع و التملق

و هنا أيضا الوفاء و الحب الحقيقي و التضحية وانكار الذات


هنا تكريم الكاذب الخادع
و احتقار و نفي الصادق المخلص


و بناءً عليه فإن الأحداث كما يطلق علي هذه المرحلة من أدب شكسبير :

مــأســــاااااة

و كالعادة جمال الأسلوب و متعة الحوار بين الشخصيات ..بلا حشو أو ملل



حينما نري أسيادنا
يقاسون ما نقاسي
لا نشعر بمصائبنا
و من تألم وحده كان ألمه أشد علي النفس
حيت يولّي ظهره لمظاهر السعا
...more
Trevor
Jun 14, 2010 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I went to see Lear again last week. It must be the fifth time I have seen it performed and I’ve read it three or four times. It is a play that I can never become ‘familiar’ with. It is like no other play I know.

This time was the second time I have seen it performed by the Bell Shakespeare Company. This one was much better than the last – and I think I can say that because this time the performance brought out lots of the humour of the play. This is a play that is as dark as it is possible to mak
...more
Ellen
Mar 03, 2010 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, drah-mah
On the Fool

The Fool’s presence in King Lear lasts for little more than two acts. While the fool provides some needed comic relief, more importantly, he serves as Lear’s moral guide, illuminating Lear’s faults and provoking Lear to action. The first references to the Fool serve to let us know that he’s not in Goneril’s camp, and he is sympathetic to Cordelia.

When the Fool does at last appear, Lear’s regard is apparent. The Fool, in conversation with Kent, refers to Lear obliquely as “this fellow”
...more
Alex
May 04, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
Here is Shakespeare's biggest bummer in a long career of bummers. In fact, in all of literature maybe only Jude the Obscure matches it for general depressivosity. Remember that catch phrase kids thought was clever in like 7th grade as they were discovering the joys of nihilism: "Life sucks, then you die"? That's the actual and entire message of King Lear. "Nothing will come of nothing," rages the doddering King, and there is nothing, and nothing comes of it.

And along the way, don't forget, we ge
...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
I love this play. It is my favourite of all of 'em.

Upon re-reading, I'm struck by the observation that the King of France is the smartest man here. The only one whose actions show any kind of foresight. "She is herself a dowry...". Although he got sloppy seconds and his calculated risk didn't pay off, he saw the writing on the wall from Act 1, Scene 1. He knew them skanky beyotches, G & R, would do themselves in and that Lear would lose his shit when he realized what he'd done. And he'd have
...more
Liza Miller
May 29, 2015 Liza Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Who is it that can tell me who I am?” asks the titular King Lear in one of Shakespeare’s most devastating tragedy. He asks in part because of an encroaching senility, but the other, darker reason he asks is that in his old age, he doesn’t recognize himself anymore. He’s achieved greatness, power and wealth, only to spend the end of his life cast out by his (admittedly awful) daughters, wandering the heath trying to make sense of a life that no longer feels like the one he’s built for himself.

L
...more
Marty :}
May 02, 2016 Marty :} rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Shakespeare and I, we always had a complicated relationship... We either got along or we didn't, at all. But now that I've read King Lear, I'm starting to feel like maybe his writing style isn't for me. I don't like the themes that he chooses to write about most of the time, I despise how women are portrayed in his plays and his characters are just frustrating. I'm pretty sure this is a huge unpopular opinion, but yeah, I'll stop talking before I get my ass kicked. If you enjoyed King Lear, that ...more
Marie Antoinette

"When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools."
— William Shakespeare, King Lear

I haven't cried in... Well. I don't cry. But the thing about Shakespeare is that he could make a stone weep. King Lear , it's not as popular as Romeo or Juliet or as quoted as Hamlet but for me it's the most honest Shakespeare's play.
Certainly it's my most cherished one.

King Lear decides to divide his realm among his three daughters, and declares he'll offer the largest share to the one who l
...more
Riku Sayuj
Feb 12, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-r-rs, shakespeare, plays
Reading 5 different versions along with a modern language rendition simultaneously - to reconcile the Q and F controversy for myself.
Gideon Burton
I named one of my children "Lear" due to my love of Shakespeare and of this play in particular. The older I a get (I am now 50), the better I understand and sympathize with Lear, who is at first reading an irrational old coot that is hard to feel empathy for. Life beats you down, kids aren't always grateful, people you thought were true blue turn out to be snakes in the grass, and there is unexpected grace and good-hearted people to counterpoise the villains. Filial love is a powerful thing. The ...more
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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78 trivia questions
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“When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.” 313 likes
“Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.” 273 likes
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