3 of 5 stars to King Lear, a tragic play by William Shakespeare, published in 1603. I enjoyed the play and then watched a few film versions. My review will cover both the book and the film I saw — with a bit of sarcasm and humor (just to be different than all the other ones! LOL)
Lear is an absolutely ridiculous character who belongs in the looney bin in my opinion. He has lost all control over his life, his family, and his kingdom. He is foolish, blind, and stubborn. When reading the play, I thought Lear was some old king who couldn’t take care of anything. He was just plain ineffective. After watching a few film versions, I whole heartedly agree. Lear is still a vain, crotchety old man. However, I did see some humor in him that I didn’t notice in the first reading of the play. He was definitely not likable on a first read; however, when I started to watch the video clips, I found myself saying that I could tolerate him. All of a sudden, I classified him as likable human. Even when you just want to kill him, he is still kind of funny and tolerable.
Lear was somewhat like a grandfather in my opinion. Not one of those everyday grandfathers though. He reminded me of the much older, funny grandfather who laughs at everything, but doesn’t realize what he’s doing. In fact, I actually thought of him as a Santa Claus figure. It sounds weird, but the looks automatically qualify him to be Santa Claus. His attitude could be a problem though. He might have been a really nice guy when he was younger and not so stubborn. As for Lear’s daughters… I see Lear’s daughters as all being from 25 to 40 – no more than that, though. Gonerill though did make Lear’s anger appear believable to me. I see how much she had to say and then I realize how he can be so upset with Cordelia’s response. Cordelia seems a little too weak to be his daughter. I picture her as being stronger and able to handle herself against him. It was hard to picture three daughters surrounding their old, aging father Lear. Having each daughter one by one go to their father to say how they loved him was powerful. I watched the characters grow and then leap off the page.
The play is a good one to read, to see the life of parents and children, royalty and order of succession. It’s a great commentary on how we behave and treat our elders, especially both as parents and as humans. And on the flip side, you also see what happens when you make rash decisions, not realizing the impact down the line… and how much you want to fix them, but sometimes you cannot.
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