Critics

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Women - McKluskie
'Cordelia's first defence... is her right to retain a part of her love for her husband'...'tragic power of the play endorses its ideological position'...Women are either made to submit or are destroyed
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Women - Kahn
'By calling his sorrow hysterical, Lear decisively characterises it as feminine'...'Masculine identity depends on repressing the vulnerability, dependency and capacity for feeling which are called "feminine"'
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Women - Dusinberre
Jacobean plays are 'feminist in sympathy'
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Cordelia - McKluskie
'Cordelia's saving love...works...less as a redemption of womankind than as an example of patriarchy restored'
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Cordelia - Brandes
'The living emblem of womanly dignity'
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Cordelia - Dowden
She represents 'the perfection of truth, justice, and charity
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Cordelia/Death/Justice/Gods - Gibson
Her death 'seems to counter any idea of justice, human or divine'
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Society - Lever
'The fundamental flaw is the world they inhabit'
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Society/Women - Tennenhouse
King Lear shows us the dangers of not following the 'old ways' of the patriarchal hierarchy
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Society - Dollimore
Society is 'torn apart by conflict' because of its 'faulty ideological structure'... 'A play about power, property and inheritance'
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Morality - Swinburne
'Requital, redemption, amends, equity, puty and mercy are words without meaning here'
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Morality/Nihilism/Absurdism - Kott
'This is a morality play in which everyone will be destroyed'
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Morality/Heroism - Johnson
'Shakespeare has no heroes'
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Morality - Spurgeon
'A very striking characteristic of King Lear is it's incessant reference to the lower animals and man's likeness to them'
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Morality - Wharton (C18th)
Accepted the way in which 'the wicked prosper and the virtuous miscarry'...'a just representation of the commonplace events of human life'
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Subplot - Wharton (C18th)
'unlikely and distracting'
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Ending/Nihilism/Adsurdism - Allen
At the end 'we stare horrified into the nothingness of life'
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Ending/Morality - Kermode
'unsparingly cruel'... 'has an almost sadistic attitude'
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Ending - Warren
Many of S's sources for the play give it a happy ending (ie The True Chronicle History of King Lear and his Daughters). Maybe Shakespeare is drawing deliberately on these optimistic expectations to dash our hopes in the final bleak conclusion.
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Nature - Allen
'Nature just is'
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Nature/Lear - Foran
'Nature seems to be Lear's enemy
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Gods - Muir
'In King Lear he starts from the hypothesis... that the God's are indifferent, or hostile, or inexplicable, or even a man made fiction'
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Gods - Elton
C's hanging and G's blinding - 'the wilful operations of an upside down providence'
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Goneril and Reagan - Wharton (C18th)
Actions are too diabolical to be credible
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Madness/Edgar - Foakes
'Edgar's masquerade as Poor tom... has little or no effect on the mad Lear'
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Family/Women/Society - McKluskie
'To experience pity and fear, the audience must accept that fathers are owed particular duties by their daughters and be appalled by the chaos which ensues when these primal links are broken'
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Family/Women/Society - Kahn
KL 'articulates a patriarchal conception of family... the mother's role in procreation is eclipsed'
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The Fool - Orwell
Represents 'worldly common sense'
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Madness/Lear - Rosen
Lear's madness on the heath is 'universalised' (madness of PT)
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Lear - Lady
Lear is a 'comic caricature king, flying into childish tantrums over causes which, although real, are disproportionate to his rages'
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Blindness/Lear/Gloucester - Macsinclair
'The pride of both Lear and Gloucester leads them to make "blind" decisions'
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Blindness/Appearance vs Reality - Grey
'Those who seem blind really know best, those who seem fools really are wisest, and those who speak little really know the most'
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Blindness/Subplot - Rudynytsky
G's blinding is a 'symbolic castration'
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Gods - Knight
Mankind is 'tormented by "the gods"'
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Card 2

Front

Women - Kahn

Back

'By calling his sorrow hysterical, Lear decisively characterises it as feminine'...'Masculine identity depends on repressing the vulnerability, dependency and capacity for feeling which are called "feminine"'

Card 3

Front

Women - Dusinberre

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Cordelia - McKluskie

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Cordelia - Brandes

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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