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TOPIC: King Lear help please

King Lear help please 9 years 11 months ago #1573

  • Joe M.
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kelcb22 wrote
I also have an understanding that in the Elizabethian period they believed that the natural world reflected a heirarchy that mirrored good gov't and a stable monarch.

--and Who was said to have been at the pinnacle of that hierarchy?
The major message i get from the play is that people in Shakespeares time and maybe even himself believed there was NO GOD and that the comforts of religion are make- believe.
To make such a sweeping statement might not be advisable?
Although the characters speak of 'the gods', is there a possibility that Shakespeare had a particular reason for setting the play in a '"God"-less' era?
Is it possible that this disordered world was the very place Shakespeare needed to go in order to be able to safely explore the ideas about which you made what I called your "sweeping statement"?
Remember that these (Elizabethans) were a very literal-thinking/speaking people--hence the idea of the mirrored hierarchy. When Hamlet says, "But breake my heart, for I must hold my tongue." , the sense was of something Literally, Physically happening to him.
Lear screams at the elements; less blasphemous for him to rant at NATURE (he truly expects to be literally heard and quite possibly struck down in the next instant) when those observing him "hear" the word with a lower case 'n', but still are moved to 'blasphemous' thought nonetheless. IE., It's o-k to explore the IDEA of a world with utterly no meaning--as long as the context in which it's done is 'make believe'.
Think back to the beginning of our exchange on Henry V-- --what are the questions?--what are the answers?

The discussion Shakespeare finds a way to broker in Lear (and with his audience--ultimately with us) is so ahead of his time. How many, many things had to have occurred to him. Of course, we can only conjecture as to exactly what they all were, but to be sure, he asked quite a few of the questions with his pen.
I believe you've hit on something hugely important--now open it up and really take a look--from both Inside AND Outside the box.
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King Lear help please 9 years 11 months ago #1574

  • kelcb22
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So Lear is set in pagan Britian and obviously there was probably no tolerance for questioning religion in his time. I think the reason he uses these plays to ask such questions as my "sweeping statement" was because he feared persecution for questioning what he was told to believe. In writing these such question in such a context he was in a safe zone to explore such question and force his audience to contemplate the answers. Not only do I think he wanted us to question everything from Politics to Religion but also little everyday actions. In my opinion he is saying don't conform, be different, question everything you do, what you say, and how you act because there might not be a god or a heaven and your only chance for salvation,ill' say for lack of a better word, may be being kind to one another. I think he was before his time in his thoughts and writing an that is why he puts such complex issues into his plays. He wanted to change the ways of a stubborn and conformed society. He wanted people to question things before just doing them. For example Cordelia not flattering her father and building his ego; surely sheknew there would be consequences but she did what SHE felt was right.
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