King Lear - Context

Background information on Shakespeare and The posibilty of the story of king lears origins.

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  • King Lear Context
    • Born 1564 in Stratford-upon-avon, England.
      • He was the son of a middle class glove maker
      • He attended Grammar school, but his education ended there.
      • in 1582, he married an older woman, Anne Hathaway
        • They had 3 children
      • In about 1590 he left his family to work in London as an actor and playwrite
        • This was followed by quick success and he was part owner of the globe theatre
      • His career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and James I (1603–1625), and he was a favourite of both monarchs.
        • King James over the greatest compliment by giving the members of his company the title of Kings Men
      • After retiring, shakespeare died in 1916 at the age of 52
    • Shakespeare authored King Lear in 1605 between Othello and Macbeth
      • Often considered to be one of Shakespears best plays
      • Lear’s and Gloucester’s sufferings at the hands of their children reflect anxieties that would be  close to home for Shakespears audience.
      • Its possible the story of King Lear was based on the story of Sir Brain Annesely and his daughters
        • the eldest of the 3 sisters attempted to declare her father as insane to take his land and property
        • His youngest daughter Cordell successfully defended her father
      • Elizabethan England was very a  hierarchical society
        • it demanded  the wealthy was respected. it was also expected that  parents were respected
        • King Lear showed how vulnerable parents were with ambititious children that saw no limitations


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