Simon and Schuster, 2011 M08 23 - 384 pages
Shakespeare’s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. What, then, keeps bringing us back to King Lear? For all the force of its language, King Lear is almost equally powerful when translated, suggesting that it is the story, in large part, that draws us to the play.
The play tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty, on the one hand, and support and consolation, on the other. Emotions are extreme, magnified to gigantic proportions. We also see old age portrayed in all its vulnerability, pride, and, perhaps, wisdom—one reason this most devastating of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also perhaps his most moving.
The authoritative edition of King Lear from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-The exact text of the printed book for easy cross-reference
-Hundreds of hypertext links for instant navigation
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by Susan Snyder
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
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King Lear is a poor old man who just cannot catch a break (or so it seems). His preparation to step down from the throne is anything but smooth when he’s faced with the conflict of passing dowm his kingdom to his three daughters. Greed, power, and vulnerability all play out and battle each other from beginning to end. Ending in tragedy, readers see the effects of aging on a society and how relationships deteriorate over things like power and status. “King Lear” is one of Shakespeare’s best in my opinion.
A Modern Perspective
Key to Famous Lines and Phrases
Other editions - View all
Common terms and phrases
action actors ALBANY answer appear arms attend bear begin bring comes Cordelia CORNWALL course daughter death dost Dover Draw Duke earlier EDGAR edition Edmund Enter example exits eyes F corr father fear Folio follow Fool fortune France further give GLOUCESTER Gloucester’s gods Goneril grace hand hast hath head hear heart hold honor keep KENT kind King Lear ACT language Lear’s less letter lines live London look lord madam master means messenger nature never night notes OSWALD perhaps plays poor Pray present printed Q1 corr Q1 uncorr quartos readers reading REGAN scene SD F seek seems sentence servant Shakespeare’s shows sister speak speech stage stand suffering tell theater thee thing thou thought true turn wind