King Lear critics

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Flemming on Lear's change
'Lear does indeed change over the course of the play, that he learns about the importance of true love about all else and realises the consequences of the terrible mistakes he has made'
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Hal Holbrook on Lear's personality
'Boisterous, demanding, arrogant. He expects absolute obedience'.
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Sun about Lear
'Under his clothes, the king is equal to the beggar'
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Edward Dowden on suffering
'Lear is the greatest sufferer in Shakespeare's plays'
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Stanley on Lear
'the real fool here is Lear himself'
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Tony Coult on division of kingdom
'Disaster starts with the political act of dividing up the state'
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Tony Coult on Lear's blindness
Lear 'cannot understand that he has been anything but a perfect father'
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Aristotle on heroes
'A man does not become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall'
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LC Knights
'Lear's final discovery is of his need for Cordelia's love'
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Susan Bruce on Lear's errors
'Lear's most profound and devastating error is that he doesn't know his daughters'
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Tolstoy on Cordelia
Argues that Cordelia refuses to quantify her love for Lear 'on purpose to irritate her father'
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Martin Old on Cordelia
'Cordelia establishes herself as a model of sensible virtue'
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John Knox on women
'Women are commanded to be subject to men by the laws of nature'
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Tiffany C Baker on Regan
'Regan's refusal to bow to her father's wishes upset the established hierarchy of the patriarchal system'
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Thorndike on Goneril and Regan
'Inhuman sisters'
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Rubio on Goneril and Regan
'Goneril and Regan are presented as demons, monsters, anything but human'
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Race Capet on Edmund
'Edmund ranks among the most despised figures of Shakespearean drama'
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A.C. Bradley on Edmund
'Edmund regards men and women as merely hindrances'
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John Ellis on Edmund's letter
'Edmund's letter is well calculated to shatter Gloucester'
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A.C Bradley on Edmund's illegitimacy
'Edmund's illegitimacy...influences our feelings... it separates him from other men'
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Joseph Carroll on Edmund's illegitimacy
'Many readers feel sympathy for a disadvantaged young man who is determined to make his own way in the world'
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A.C. Bradley on Lear and Gloucester
'The parallel between Lear and so marked it cannot possibly be accidental'
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Rob Worrall on Gloucester
'Gloucester spends most of the play learning from his mistakes'
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Lofgren on Gloucester's blindness
'Gloucester is the symbol of blindness, both literally speaking and metaphorically speaking'
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Tolstoy on Edgar
Edgar's escape is 'utterly incomprehensible'
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Rebecca Warren on Edgar
'Edgar becomes an agent of justice'
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Mark Schwehn on Edgar's disguise
'Edgar's disguise both conceals him and reveals him'
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Helen Gardner on Kent
'The scene of Kent's quarrel with Oswald... always arouses delighted laughter in the audience and affords genuine relief to the audience's feelings'
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McLeish on Cornwall
'Cornwall's part is small, and in one mode only: cold-hearted cruelty'
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Boyce on Cornwall's death
'His death is proof that triumph of villainy will not be total'
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Kyle Broussard
'Cornwall is a hyena'
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George Orwell on the Fool
The Fool's 'jokes, riddles, and scraps of rhyme...are like a trickle of sanity running through the play'
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Sean Lowe on the Fool's purpose
'The full purpose of the Fool is to stress Lear's poor judgement'
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Tolstoy on the Fool
The Fool is 'utterly unsuited to the position and serves no purpose'
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G.Wilson Knight on the Fool
The Fool 'attempts to heal the gaping wound of the mind'
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McLuskie on power
the play 'expresses deep anxieties about the chaos which can ensue when the balance of power is altered'
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McLuskie on women in power
'Women in power can only bring disgrace'
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Karen Kay on the purpose of nature
'the theme of nature is used to illustrate the ferocity and disruption of order'
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Sarah Doncaster on animal imagery
'Animal imagery shows the unnaturalness of character's behaviour'
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Charles Hanly on family relations
'King Lear, despite its political theme, is a tragedy of family life'
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Cunningham on madness and blindness
Gloucester finds 'insight through blindness' and Lear finds 'wisdom through madness'
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A.M Colman on Gloucester's suffering
'In such a world, where the gods are absent, Gloucester's suffering must inspire pity'
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Susan Bruce on Edmund's injustice
'We sympathise with Edmund's sense of injustice'
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


'Boisterous, demanding, arrogant. He expects absolute obedience'.


Hal Holbrook on Lear's personality

Card 3


'Under his clothes, the king is equal to the beggar'


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


'Lear is the greatest sufferer in Shakespeare's plays'


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


'the real fool here is Lear himself'


Preview of the back of card 5
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