Leery of King Lear

King Lear : Hello there , you have probably heard my story . This dude called William Shakespeare wrote about me and made me out to be some kind of jackass who demanded to know how much his daughters loved him . A moron could tell you that the moment , I lay out my conditions i.e the love that they bear me will be proportional to the portion of the kingdom that they inherit , they would have fallen over themselves to trumpet about the love they bear me . As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, they kill us for their sport.
Curious Reader : Sure sounds like it . So did they fall all over themselves in declaring their love for you? How would you divide your kingdom then?
KL : Alas , my two older daughters did just that but my youngest refused to flatter . Beware ye all of flattery!!!
CR : And what did your youngest say ?
KL : She loved me as much as a daughter should love her father , no more , no less .
CR : One could see that this is a profound truth , far more than a flatterer could ever hope to run down.
KL:That infuriated me so much so that I divided my kingdom between my two older daughters and gave her nothing.

CR: Oh my!! Why?

KL : In calmer moments , truth is self evident but emotions puts a dark veil on reason .I was blinded by my own arrogance and fear, the moment of giving up my throne weakened my senses , I was afraid and needed assurance . Needed assurance that my daughters truly loved me and therefore take care of me in my old age but time made me a fool who was to run from pillar to post and finally live in the woods to survive.

CR : Well what happened to your youngest daughter

KL : She married the King of France who understood what a fine woman she was and agreed to have her in spite of no dowry

CR: Well all is well that ends well

KL: Alas , that was not to be so, my youngest daughter aghast at the my mistreatment tried to restore me to my throne by force . In the scuffle , she was captured and hanged to death on the orders of Gloucester’s bastard Edmund.Just when I thought that providence offered a second chance to set right my blunder , I was offered a glimpse of happiness and death with his cruel scythe cut asunder all hopes of happiness for this old man’s heart

CR: That sounds horrible, old King. No body should experience the death of their child. A play so dismal , one cannot imagine wanting to see it.

KL : My dear friend , Gloucester experienced the same however his ended a happy tale even though he lost his eyes. His noble son Edgar finally slew his bastard, Edmund and Gloucester was restored to his estates

CR: So you have Gloucester and yourself telling us the stories of grateful vs ungrateful children and that too in the same story !! Why is that?

KL : That my friend is a conundrum for the ages . The parallels between the main plot and the sub plot is not something that has been seen usually and I imagine most people probably get confused . I have imagined that is just so that , the playwright can address the question of gender bias before anyone could accuse him of the same (maybe he was prescient). In my case , it was my three daughters and in Gloucester’s case , it was his two sons . He makes an effective point that ingrates could belong to either gender. One could also argue that my vile daughters being in love with Gloucester’s bastard is a lively display of  vile being attracted to the vile  whereas  Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile


 

This is my first ever reading of a play from the First Folio . It turned out to be far easier than I ever imagined, after a point, the music in the language flows effortlessly . Though it is a work with heavy moral undertones ,  it is far from preachy .and boring . It is an extremely dark story with the only bit of happiness coming from the fact that Edgar is reconciled with Gloucester. The play did not leave me with any burning questions  other than the unfortunate death of Cordelia . The description of Lear with his dead daughter’s body entreating the heavens is gut wrenching . The desire for symmetry and the triumph of good over evil is grossly violated with Cordelia’s death but obviously the real world follows no such laws so reading ‘King Lear’ leaves a deep melancholic impression on the reader with its very obvious moral in its wake.

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