dragonhelmuk's Reviews > King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare
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's review
Apr 24, 2012

did not like it
Read in April, 2012

Kindled for free: This must be the most boring and convoluted Shakespeare play I have ever read. A large proportion of it is the king, his fool, and another lord pretending to be mad wandering round saying mad things. Don’t listen to anyone claiming Lear is based on Lir, there’s no evidence of that here. (If you really wanted to find some Celtic material, there is a madman who strips of his clothes, rubs dirt on himself and goes into the forest to be mad, and a reference to Merlin.)

(Shakespearian Insults)
Osw. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not. Kent. Fellow, I know thee. Osw. What dost thou know me for? Kent. A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny the least syllable of thy addition.

(A tiny speck of Celtic material?)
I'll speak a prophecy ere I go: When priests are more in word than matter; When brewers mar their malt with water; When nobles are their tailors' tutors, No heretics burn'd, but wenches' suitors; When every case in law is right, No squire in debt nor no poor knight; When slanders do not live in tongues, Nor cutpurses come not to throngs; When usurers tell their gold i' th' field, And bawds and whores do churches build: Then shall the realm of Albion Come to great confusion. Then comes the time, who lives to see't, That going shall be us'd with feet. This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time. Exit.

(Here’s some quotes you might recognise! Not a completely useless text afterall!)
Child Rowland to the dark tower came; His word was still Fie, foh, and fum! I smell the blood of a British man.
How fearful And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low! The crows and choughs that wing the midway air Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down Hangs one that gathers sampire- dreadful trade! Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.

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