King Lear Poetry Anthology Assignment by Nguyen Alex on Prezi
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund As to th' legitimate. Fine word- 'legitimate'! Well, my legitimate, if this letter. King Lear Beyond Reason: Love and Justice in the Family For our purposes here, one of the poems that most movingly and most truly of love and justice in relationships between parents and children; and second, the several The scene between Edgar and Gloucester that this speech describes does. Everything you ever wanted to know about Edgar in King Lear, written by masters of this stuff just for you.
Edgar wants to found love upon justice, as we have seen. We may wonder, for example, why Lear should unthinkingly assume that Poor Tom has been reduced to such a state because he has given everything away to his daughters III, iv. Asking them to do the same to love him or to profess love for him in order to secure favors, as Lear does at the beginning of the play seems perfectly reasonable, since Lear has in effect been doing something like that with his daughters all along.
To expect gratitude as the proper response to gracious love is one thing. To love in a way that aims at gratitude is quite another: Both men learn from opposite sides of the problem the would-be lover and would-be beloved; the parent and the child that the truest love must not be motivated by the prospect of returns.
Lear learns from the fact that his love for his daughters was always so motivated and he was hence driven mad by filial ingratitude, Edgar, from the fact that his project was, as we have seen, doomed to failure both by its own logic and its own psycho-logic. To endeavor to earn unconditional love is a contradiction in terms, one that deepens the very longings it seeks to satisfy.
In order for Lear and Edgar to lead us to feel our way through to these harsh truths about love and justice, parents and children, we must see them as they see themselves, as reverse mirror images of one another.
The fool prepares us for this seeing. But Edgar, as we have seen, discovers a more profound truth in the exact reverse of this ditty: Fathers that are blind do make their children wear rags.
For the audience as for the characters, matters of love and justice come to be more and more deeply bound up with matters of knowledge and perception. And we have learned as well that the operation of any one of these aspects to the utter exclusion of the others can lead to hideous results. By focusing our attention upon Edgar and his relationships to his two fathers, we have also been able to discern how crucial it is to construe these complicated matters not in terms of static concepts but in terms of changing patterns of human affection and regard over the course of a lifetime, or a pilgrimage.
The failure to emphasize this crucial longitudinal feature of parental and filial love has led even some of the best philosophers to offer inadequate or unnecessarily perplexing accounts of these matters of love and justice between parents and children.
Is it so because philia in the highest and best sense of the word is superior to justice in that it includes the complete fulfillment of demands between friends for fair and equal treatment? Or do friends have no need of justice because justice and philia, though distinct and sometimes conflicting, are coextensive, i. When Aristotle takes his examples from friendships among persons who are not akin to one another, the former seems to be the case, that is, justice between such friends is both completed and superseded by philia.
But when Aristotle takes his examples from friendships among persons who are akin to one another, the latter seems to be the case. The point here is not to fault Aristotle for these seeming quandaries, for the same difficulties appear in King Lear.
It is as though filial and parental love cannot be fathomed by considering these loves exclusively in terms of philia, eros, or charity, or even in terms of some combination of them. One can perhaps only watch and be affected into understanding. It would seem that, on the basis of this analysis, children should love their parents more than parents love their children if there is to be a friendship in the highest and best sense among parents and children.
On the other hand, elsewhere in his discussion of friendship, when Aristotle elaborates more clearly the character of filial love, he seems again to contradict himself. Her moving love for her father has come to exceed his for her, and this seems just and fitting in part because of the magnitude of the action.
We sense, in the cases of Lear, Gloucester, and their noblest children, that we have witnessed lifetimes unfolding before us, pilgrimages if you will. When asked to capture filial love in speech, Cordelia speaks fittingly and truly of her duties, even as she intimates the dangers inherent in any implicitly quantitive understanding of love by speaking of giving half of her love to her husband, half to Lear.
Between parents and children, love is a matter of living in a loving manner over time: Even so, we live from day to day, and we have seen from the greatly disturbing examples of Lear and Edgar that justice is a necessary part not only of parental love but also of filial love.
But if the mingling of love and justice is necessary, is it necessarily tragic? This finally is the great question Lear forces upon us. This seems to me perhaps the most important lesson the play suggests to us. Though the world of King Lear is finally a bleakly pagan one, its characters articulate a variety of theological convictions that are informed by and that in turn inform their more human loves.
We have seen how and why Edmund regards nature as his goddess. And we find what we would expect to find given our analysis of Lear and Edgar, namely, that both of them insist against all appearances that the gods are finally just, that justice is the supreme theological virtue. Absent any such deity, absent any divine example that might inspire and enable charity as at least another aspect of the love between parents and children, the several tragic dynamics of love and justice continue even to the very end of the play.
Edgar, as we have seen, has surely risen in both stature and understanding. Moreover, his last words show us that he has grown to appreciate the magnificence that was there in his godfather and to measure himself against it. The weight of this sad time we must obey, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most: V, iii Absent charity, there are no grounds for hope.
King Lear Beyond Reason: Love and Justice in the Family
Yet we do, of course, have Cordelia. Yet throughout most of the play, greatly present in her absence from the action, Cordelia does what she resolved to do from the moment of her first aside: She loves simply, and she simply loves. We have tried to understand the sources of this refusal. Lear has become the very image of patience and she the very image of charity. The reconciliation takes place between the two of them, not between them and the world.
But the play is most Christian in just exactly this respect. Its unflinching attention to the way the world really works does not permit us to imagine either that charity redeems the world or that it can be in any sense a fit basis for political rule.
On this side of eternity, there are at best fleeting though magnificent moments of glad grace, such as the one we witness between Lear and Cordelia. Although such moments are vastly more redemptive than anything else in the world of Lear, they are finally unworldly, in the world but not of it. The best the world can give us is a justice that is blind and that abides only so long as it remains blind. Albany urges Lear to resume his throne, but as with Gloucester, the trials Lear has been through, including the hanging of his fool, have finally overwhelmed him, and he dies.
Albany then asks Kent and Edgar to take charge of the throne. Kent declines, explaining that his master is calling him on a journey and he must follow. Finally, Albany in the Quarto version or Edgar in the Folio version implies that he will now become king. Holinshed himself found the story in the earlier Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouthwhich was written in the 12th century.
Edmund Spenser 's The Faerie Queenepublishedalso contains a character named Cordelia, who also dies from hangingas in King Lear. During the 17th century, Shakespeare's tragic ending was much criticised and alternative versions were written by Nahum Tatein which the leading characters survived and Edgar and Cordelia were married despite the fact that Cordelia was previously betrothed to the King of France.
The latest it could have been written isas the Stationers' Register notes a performance on 26 December The date originates from words in Edgar's speeches which may derive from Samuel Harsnett 's Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures Foakes argues for a date of —6, because one of Shakespeare's sources, The True Chronicle History of King Leir, was not published until ; close correspondences between that play and Shakespeare's suggest that he may have been working from a text rather than from recollections of a performance.
Naseeb Shaheen dates the play c per line 1. The differences between these versions are significant. Q1 contains lines not in F1; F1 contains around lines not in Q1. Also, at least a thousand individual words are changed between the two texts, each text has a completely different style of punctuation, and about half the verse lines in the F1 are either printed as prose or differently divided in the Q1.
The early editors, beginning with Alexander Popesimply conflated the two texts, creating the modern version that has remained nearly universal for centuries. The conflated version is born from the hypothesis that Shakespeare wrote only one original manuscript, now unfortunately lost, and that the Quarto and Folio versions are distortions of that original. Others, such as Nuttall and Bloom, have identified Shakespeare himself as having been involved in reworking passages in the play to accommodate performances and other textual requirements of the play.
This argument, however, was not widely discussed until the late s, when it was revived, principally by Michael Warren and Gary Taylor. Their thesis, while controversial, has gained significant acceptance. It posits, essentially, that the Quarto derives from something close to Shakespeare's foul papersand the Folio is drawn in some way from a promptbook, prepared for production by Shakespeare's company or someone else.
In short, Q1 is "authorial"; F1 is "theatrical". Foakes is the only recent edition to offer the traditional conflated text. Both Anthony Nuttall of Oxford University and Harold Bloom of Yale University have endorsed the view of Shakespeare having revised the tragedy at least once during his lifetime.
Nuttall speculates that Edgar, like Shakespeare himself, usurps the power of manipulating the audience by deceiving poor Gloucester. What we know of Shakespeare's wide reading and powers of assimilation seems to show that he made use of all kinds of material, absorbing contradictory viewpoints, positive and negative, religious and secular, as if to ensure that King Lear would offer no single controlling perspective, but be open to, indeed demand, multiple interpretations.
Foakes  Historicist interpretations[ edit ] John F.
A Re-Reading of Edmund in Shakespeare's King Lear
The words "nature," "natural" and "unnatural" occur over forty times in the play, reflecting a debate in Shakespeare's time about what nature really was like; this debate pervades the play and finds symbolic expression in Lear's changing attitude to Thunder. There are two strongly contrasting views of human nature in the play: Along with the two views of Nature, Lear contains two views of Reason, brought out in Gloucester and Edmund's speeches on astrology 1.
The rationality of the Edmund party is one with which a modern audience more readily identifies. But the Edmund party carries bold rationalism to such extremes that it becomes madness: This betrayal of reason lies behind the play's later emphasis on feeling.
The two Natures and the two Reasons imply two societies. Edmund is the New Man, a member of an age of competition, suspicion, glory, in contrast with the older society which has come down from the Middle Ages, with its belief in co-operation, reasonable decency, and respect for the whole as greater than the part. King Lear is thus an allegory. The older society, that of the medieval vision, with its doting king, falls into error, and is threatened by the new Machiavellianism ; it is regenerated and saved by a vision of a new order, embodied in the king's rejected daughter.
Cordelia, in the allegorical scheme, is threefold: Nevertheless, Shakespeare's understanding of the New Man is so extensive as to amount almost to sympathy.
Edmund is the last great expression in Shakespeare of that side of Renaissance individualism — the energy, the emancipation, the courage — which has made a positive contribution to the heritage of the West. But he makes an absolute claim which Shakespeare will not support.
Analysis of Shakespeare's King Lear: The King's Foolishness and His Fool's Wisdom | Owlcation
It is right for man to feel, as Edmund does, that society exists for man, not man for society. It is not right to assert the kind of man Edmund would erect to this supremacy.
Until the decent society is achieved, we are meant to take as role-model though qualified by Shakespearean ironies Edgar, "the machiavel of goodness",  endurance, courage and "ripeness".
According to Kahn, Lear's old age forces him to regress into an infantile disposition, and he now seeks a love that is traditionally satisfied by a mothering woman, but in the absence of a real mother, his daughters become the mother figures. Lear's contest of love between Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia serves as the binding agreement; his daughters will get their inheritance provided that they care for him, especially Cordelia, on whose "kind nursery" he will greatly depend.
Cordelia's refusal to dedicate herself to him and love him as more than a father has been interpreted by some as a resistance to incestbut Kahn also inserts the image of a rejecting mother. Even when Lear and Cordelia are captured together, his madness persists as Lear envisions a nursery in prison, where Cordelia's sole existence is for him.
It is only with Cordelia's death that his fantasy of a daughter-mother ultimately diminishes, as King Lear concludes with only male characters living. Therefore, when the play begins with Lear rejecting his daughter, it can be interpreted as him rejecting death; Lear is unwilling to face the finitude of his being. The play's poignant ending scene, wherein Lear carries the body of his beloved Cordelia, was of great importance to Freud.
In this scene, Cordelia forces the realization of his finitude, or as Freud put it, she causes him to "make friends with the necessity of dying". Alternatively, an analysis based on Adlerian theory suggests that the King's contest among his daughters in Act I has more to do with his control over the unmarried Cordelia. In his study of the character-portrayal of Edmund, Harold Bloom refers to him as "Shakespeare's most original character". Freud's vision of family romances simply does not apply to Edmund.
Following the death of Malcolm III from being stabbed in the eye, they ordered the killing of Edmund's half brother Duncan II, the rightful heir, to take the Scottish throne. Edgar, Edmund's younger brother, then returned to Scotland and defeated them to become King.
Edmund was then sent to an English monastery where he later died. Due to these clear parallels the choice of Edmund and Edgar as names may have been a nod by Shakespeare to the continued story of the Scottish throne following the events of Macbeth. Analysis[ edit ] Gloucester's younger, illegitimate son is an opportunistic, short-sighted character  whose ambitions lead him to form a union with Goneril and Regan.
The injustice of Edmund's situation fails to justify his subsequent actions, although at the opening of the play when Gloucester explains Edmund's illegitimacy in his hearing to Kent, with coarse jokes, the audience can initially feel sympathetic towards him, until his true character is revealed.