Tragedy Of King Lear Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear are the four most prominent and revered works
that William Shakespeare had ever produced, though the first three that I mentioned seem
to be recognized as more superior to King Lear. The opinion of many critics and others
who are familiar with the bard?s work, myself included, feel that King Lear is one of, if not,
the greatest achievement in William Shakespeare’s repertoire. Many people, however, on
the other side of the token, feel that King Lear is not his best play by far which puzzles me
as a reader. To envision such a plot and story line filled with war, love, death, deceit, and
madness was written in the early part of the 17th century is virtually unimaginable and
more likely to happen in the “anything goes” spectrum of today’s literature and television.
King Lear was written about 1605 and is very similar to its most recent
predecessor, Othello (1604), in that both have the face of evil appear in its coldest and
inhumane forms. Many of the intricacies in Othello seem to rub off in that of King Lear.
I do wonder if the fact that both plays were written virtually one on top of the other that
Shakespeare overlapped the two plots twisting and turning them just enough to maintain
the separatism in both plays. Was Shakespeare writing both plays at the same time with
his mind focused on a specific type of tragedy? Was Shakespeare displeased with one or
the other when he wrote them? these are some of the questions that are raised in my mind
when I read the similarities of the plays and comprehend how close together they were
In reading the texts on King Lear there seemed to be a vast amount of criticism
concerning the play involving its adaptability for stage, its dramatic clearness, and its
acceptability. The basis of King Lear’s unpopularity among the “fab’ four” seems to be
due to the extreme painfulness of the catastrophe, its dramatic defects, and a failure to
most readers to grasp peculiar effects that Shakespeare includes in the play. Some feel
that Shakespeare was a genius that had alternate meanings for many of his plot lines,
including and especially King Lear. Lear’s insanity weakens his coherence and poetic
imagination but it stimulates his time of reflection and moral perception.
It is wonderful things like this that do make works such as King Lear one of the
best works that William Shakespeare had ever produced.