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 King Lear Study Guide

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مُساهمةموضوع: King Lear Study Guide   السبت يناير 15, 2011 9:35 pm

King Lear Characters

King Lear Characters guide studies each character's role and motivation in this play.Lear, King of England: The tired ruler of England, his plan to divide his kingdom between his three daughters and then place his welfare in their trust leads to his humiliation and total loss of power at the hands of his cruel daughters, Regan and Goneril. He misjudges all those around him in the first act, banishing those who care for him the most whilst rewarding those whose kind words prove false. Only after enduring multiple humiliations and betrayals does Lear gain true wisdom and insight, only to die soon thereafter.Goneril (wife to The Duke of Albany): Lear's selfish, ruthless daughter. When Lear asks her to profess her love for him before he gives her part of his kingdom, she professes great love for Lear, "Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;" (Act I, Scene I, Line 57). Yet, once Lear has given her half his kingdom, she shirks her obligations to host King Lear by making life so miserable at her castle that King Lear has no choice but to disown her.The famous expression of the pain of thankless children originates in King Lear's comments of Goneril, when he exclaims, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is / To have a thankless child!" (Act I, Scene IV, Line 312).Regan (wife to The Duke of Cornwall): The second of King Lear's daughters to falsely profess her love then betray Lear. She professes that she is "made of that self metal as my sister", adding that "I profess / Myself an enemy to all other joys / Which the most precious square of sense possesses… In your dear highness' love" (Act I Scene I, Lines 71-78). She too betrays Lear, denying him her castle on the terms obliged by her as a loyal daughter.Cordelia: Lear's youngest daughter, she refuses to profess blinding love for her father, instead offering only that which is true. When pushed by Lear to profess her love, she exclaims that "I cannot heave / My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty / According to my bond; nor more nor less" (Act I, Scene I, Line 93).Unlike her sisters, Cordelia does not and will not use "that glib and oily art" of her sisters "To speak and purpose not;" (to say what one does not mean), (Act I, Scene I, Lines 228-229).In return for not lying as her sisters have done, she is banished by Lear and given nothing. Only later does Lear learn the truth that Cordelia's love for him is indeed "More richer than my tongue" (Act I, Scene I, Line 80).Duke of Burgundy: A suitor for Cordelia's hand, he stops seeking Cordelia's hand in marriage when Lear makes it clear that she no longer highly esteemed in Lear's eyes. Cordelia rejects this Duke for whom wealth is so important.King of France: The second suitor for Cordelia. Upon learning of Cordelia's fall from favor (wealth), this King who can respect Cordelia's integrity, takes her as his queen. The King of France's comments in Act I, Scene I makes this clear:"Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor; / Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd! Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon:" (Line 253).Duke of Cornwall (Regan's husband): The husband of Regan, she matches his wife in his capacity for ruthlessness and calculated cruelty. When Regan pulls out Gloucester's beard, he matches her by putting out Gloucester's eyes. Such is his barbarity that one of his servants stabs him, being unable to tolerate further his master's inhumanity.Duke of Albany (Goneril's husband): As the husband of Goneril, this Duke initially supports the cruel actions of his wife. With time, however, he grows increasingly hostile towards the cruelty of his wife, becoming an agent of good by the play's conclusion.Earl of Kent: A loyal servant of Lear, he is banished by Lear for pleading a reconsideration of Cordelia's fate. Despite the threat of death, he serves his King faithfully in disguise.Earl of Gloucester (Father of Edgar and illegitimately, Edmund): An ally of Lear, only after he is blinded, does this man gain true insight and wisdom. Parallels Lear's character in his initial gullibility and poor judgment of character in this play. Dies at the end of the play from the duel emotions of grief and joy when he learns that "poor Tom" who was protecting him was Edgar all along...Edgar, son of Gloucester: As the loyal son of his father (the Earl of Gloucester), he suffers greatly from his father's poor judgment of character. Trusting his brother, he is character assassinated (lied about) by his brother Edgar and forced to flee to survive. Like Cordelia, he comforts his father in his hour of despair, but most do so in disguise despite his father realizing his truly virtuous nature.Edmund, illegitimate son of Gloucester: The illegitimate son of Gloucester, he is loved as equally as his brother. Despite this, he frames his brother as a would be father murderer, and betrays his father in order to gain favor with Regan and Goneril. Also the source of romantic rivalry between Regan and Goneril.Curan: A CoutierOswald: Steward to Goneril, he mistreats both King Lear and his entourage to provoke Lear into leaving his master's (Goneril's) castle. Killed by Edgar when he attempts to kill the now blind and harmless Gloucester.Old Man: Tenant to Gloucester.Fool: One of the most famous characters in the play, his comic asides often reveal the very foolishness of Lear's actions. His words are often ironically the only source of wisdom, coherence and insight in Lear's pathetic entourage.



_________________
يالى كنت فاكر مصر لعبه بين ايدك , تعالى شوف اخرت
ثقتنا فيك ,.
اخوتنا بيموتو ادام عنيك ,
يـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــاعم حرام علــــــــــيك ,.
كفايا بقى :
اى شاب مصرى عصرى بيدى بس مابيخدش .
كفايا بقى : بقى الحمل علينا تأيل
ولازم نسكت منتكلمش .
كفايا بقى : كل يوم بتظهرو لنا بألف وش .
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
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مُساهمةموضوع: King Lear Summary   السبت يناير 15, 2011 9:41 pm

King Lear Summary provides a quick review of the play's plot including every important action in the play. King Lear Summary is divided by the five acts of the play and is an ideal introduction before reading the original text.Act I.Shakespeare's dark tragedy, King Lear begins with the fictional King of England, King Lear, handing over his kingdom to daughters Regan and Goneril whom he believes truly love him. King Lear intends to stay with each daughter consecutively, accompanied by one hundred loyal knights.Angry that Cordelia his youngest daughter does not appear to love him as do Goneril and Regan, Lear banishes his youngest daughter Cordelia, and Kent, the servant who attempts to defend her. Cordelia leaves and is taken by the King of France as his Queen...Edmund, the loved but illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester plots to have his elder brother Edgar's reputation ruined. Edmund tricks his father Gloucester into believing that Edgar wanted to kill him...The disrespectful Goneril conspires to have her guest and father, King Lear, driven out of her house.Kent, who has now disguised his identity to serve King Lear, earns King Lear's respect by defending his name. Goneril offends King Lear and dismisses fifty of his knights. Lear starts to realize Cordelia was not so disrespecting. Lear decides to leave for Regan where he is sure to be treated properly...Lear instructs Kent to deliver several letters to Gloucester. The Fool teaches Lear several riddles.Act II.We learn of possible conflict between evil sisters Regan and Goneril. Edmund further manipulates Edgar. Gloucester learns from Edmund of Edgar's plan to kill him and believes it...Kent and Oswald, Goneril's steward fight. Kent is placed in stocks emphasizing just how little Lear's name is now respected by daughters Regan and Goneril...Edgar, now alone and disguised, describes his fate of living in hiding.Showing complete disregard for King Lear's authority, Kent remains in stocks. Lear tells Regan how much Goneril has hurt him. Regan in consultation with Goneril, allows Lear to stay but without a single follower. Lear decides not to stay with either daughter...Act III.The King of France may well invade England. Kent sends a messenger to Cordelia to keep her aware of King Lear's plight... Lear braves the elements against a storm, no doubt symbolic of his tortured soul...Gloucester lets slip to his traitorous son Edmund that the army of France is poised to invade, guaranteeing Gloucester's own future suffering. We learn more of a potential conflict between Regan and Goneril, centering on their husbands...Lear is brought out of the elements. Lear explains that nature's physical torment of him distracted him from the pain his daughters have given him.Edgar, Gloucester's legitimate son, makes his appearance, disguised as "poor Tom." Cornwall, Regan's husband and Edmund speak. After implicating his father Gloucester as a traitor against Cornwall, Edmund is rewarded for betraying his father Gloucester by receiving his father's title as the new Earl of Gloucester.Cornwall tells Edmund to seek out his father saying "he may be ready for our apprehension" or punishment.Lear and company find solace and safety in a farmhouse. Lear, showing signs of madness, holds a mock trial to punish his daughters addressing two joint stools as if they were Regan and Goneril. Kent leads Lear to Dover where he will be safe...Gloucester is captured and tortured first having his beard ripped away and later being made blind. Unable to bear Cornwall's brutality any longer, a servant wounds Cornwall...Act IV.Gloucester now blind, realizes in his suffering his mistakes, especially about his son Edgar. Gloucester meets "poor Tom" not realizing it is Edgar in disguise. Edgar leads his father to the cliffs of Dover where his father wishes to commit suicide.The Duke of Albany renounces his wife Goneril, realizing that he has been on the wrong side... The Duke of Cornwall (Regan's husband) is now dead. The rivalry for Edmund by Regan and Goneril intensifies.Kent wonders how Cordelia can be so good and her sisters so evil. The King of France will not oversee the battle about to begin. Cordelia is saddened by what she learns of King Lear's plight...Cordelia has her men search for her father... With the battle almost about to start, we learn Albany has switched sides again, supporting Goneril and Regan's forces against the invading French.Regan worries more about her sister's intentions for Edmund more than the battle that lies ahead... Edgar continues to lead his father to the cliffs of Dover where he tricks him that he miraculously survived his fall. Lear learns of Gloucester's blindness.Edgar kills Oswald when he attempts to kill Gloucester. Oswald's letter, which comes from Goneril, reveals instructions for Edmund to kill her husband, The Duke of Albany so she may marry him. Cordelia finds her father Lear who deeply regrets how he treated her...Act V.Regan and Goneril put Edmund on the spot by demanding he choose for once and for all, which one of them he loves. Albany decides to fight on Regan and Goneril's side but only to fight an invading power (France).Cordelia's forces lose to Goneril and Regan's and Cordelia and Lear are taken prisoner. Captured, King Lear tries to comfort Cordelia. Albany congratulates his allies but now turns on them. Edgar fights his brother Edmund, mortally wounding him. Goneril kills herself and poisons sister Regan.Edgar reveals his true identity to Gloucester who dies from a heart unable to take both grief and joy. Albany and the dying Edmund try to prevent Lear and Cordelia being hanged but are too late for Cordelia.Lear howls with pain his loss of Cordelia. Kent is finally recognized for his loyalty by Lear. Lear, unable to take further pain, dies. Albany is left to restore order following this tragedy..


_________________
يالى كنت فاكر مصر لعبه بين ايدك , تعالى شوف اخرت
ثقتنا فيك ,.
اخوتنا بيموتو ادام عنيك ,
يـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــاعم حرام علــــــــــيك ,.
كفايا بقى :
اى شاب مصرى عصرى بيدى بس مابيخدش .
كفايا بقى : بقى الحمل علينا تأيل
ولازم نسكت منتكلمش .
كفايا بقى : كل يوم بتظهرو لنا بألف وش .
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
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مُساهمةموضوع: King Lear Characters Analysis   السبت يناير 15, 2011 9:47 pm

King Lear Characters Analysis features noted Shakespeare scholar William Hazlitt's famous critical essay about tyhe characters of King Lear.WE wish that we could pass this play over, and say nothing about it. All that we can say must fall far short of the subject; or even of what we ourselves conceive of it. To attempt to give a description of the play itself or of its effect upon the mind, is mere impertinence: yet we must say something.—It is then the best of all Shakespear's plays, for it is the one in which he was the most in earnest. He was here fairly caught in the web of his own imagination. The passion which he has taken as his subject is that which strikes its. root deepest into the human heart; of which the bond is the hardest to be unloosed; and the cancelling and tearing to pieces of which gives the greatest revulsion to the frame. This depth of nature, this force of passion, this tug and war of the elements of our being, this firm faith in filial piety, and the giddy anarchy and whirling tumult of the thoughts at finding this prop failing it, the contrast between the fixed, immoveable basis of natural affection, and the rapid, irregular starts of imagination, suddenly wrenched from all its accustomed holds and resting-places in the soul, this is what Shakespear has given, and what nobody else but he could give. So we believe.—The mind of Lear, staggering between the weight of attachment and the hurried movements of passion, is like a tall ship-driven about by the winds, buffeted by the furious waves, but that still rides above the storm, having its anchor fixed in the bottom of the sea; or it is like the sharp rock circled by the eddying whirlpool that foams and beats against it, or like the solid promontory pushed from its basis by the force of an earthquake.The character of Lear itself is very finely conceived for the purpose. It is the only ground on which such a story could be built with the greatest truth and effect. It is his rash haste, his violent impetuosity, his blindness to every thing but the dictates of his passions or affections, that produces all his misfortunes, that aggravates his impatience of them, that enforces our pity for him. The part which Cordelia bears in the scene is extremely beautiful: the story is almost told in the first words she utters. We see at once the precipice on which the poor old king stands from his own extravagant and credulous importunity, the indiscreet simplicity of her love (which, to be sure, has a little of her father's obstinacy in it) and the hollowness of her sisters' pretensions. Almost the first burst of that noble tide of passion, which runs through the play, is in the remonstrance of Kent to his royal master on the injustice of his sentence against his youngest daughter—"Be Kent unmannerly, when Lear is mad!" This manly plainness, which draws down on him the displeasure of the unadvised king, is worthy of the fidelity with which he adheres to his fallen fortunes. The true character of the two eldest daughters, Regan and Gonerill (they are so thoroughly hateful that we do not even like to repeat their names) breaks out in their answer to Cordelia who desires them to treat their father well—"Prescribe not us our duties"—their hatred of advice being in proportion to their determination to 'do wrong, and to their hypocritical pretension to do right. Their deliberate hypocrisy adds the last finishing to the odiousness of their characters. It is the absence of this detestable quality that is the only relief in the character of Edmund the Bastard, and that at times reconciles us to him. We are not tempted to exaggerate the guilt of his conduct, when he himself gives it up as a bad business, and writes himself down "plain villain." Nothing more can be said about it. His religious honesty in this respect is admirable. One speech of his is worth a million. His father, Gloster, whom he has just deluded with a forged stony of his brother Edgar's designs against his life, accounts for his unnatural behaviour and the strange depravity of the times from the late eclipses in the sun and moon. Edmund, who is in the secret, says when he is gone—"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeits of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars: as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon's tail, and my nativity was under Ursa Major: so that it follows, I an;
rough and lecherous. Tut! I should have been what I am, had the maidliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardising."—The whole character, its careless, light-hearted villainy, contrasted with the sullen, rancorous malignity of Regan and Gonerill, its connection with the conduct of the under-plot, in which Gloster's persecution of one of his sons and the ingratitude of another, form a counterpart to the mistakes and misfortunes of Lear,—his double amour with the two sisters, and the share which he has in bringing about the fatal catastrophe, are all managed with an uncommon degree of skill and power.It has been said, and we think justly, that the third act of Othello and the three first acts of LEAR, are Shakespear's great master-pieces in the logic of passion: that they contain the highest examples not only of the force of individual passion, but of its dramatic vicissitudes and striking effects arising from the different circumstances and char-acters of the persons speaking. We see the ebb and flow of the feeling, its pauses and feverish starts, its impatience of opposition, its accumulating force when it has time to recollect ifself, the manner in which it avails itself of every passing word or gesture, its haste to repel insinuation, the alternate contraction and dilatation of the soul, and all "the dazzling fence of controversy" in this mortal combat with poisoned weapons, aimed at the heart, where each wound is fatal. We have seen in Othello, how the unsuspecting frankness and impetuous passions of the Moor are played upon and exasperated by the artful dexterity of Iago. In the present play, that which aggravates the sense of sympathy in the reader, and of uncontroulable anguish in the swoln heart of Lear, is the petrifying indifference, the cold, calculating, obdurate selfishness of his daughters. His keen passions seem whetted on their stony hearts. The contrast would be too painful, the shock too great, but for the intervention of the Fool, whose well-timed levity comes in to break the continuity of feeling when it can no longer be borne, and to bring into play again the fibres of the heart just as they are growing rigid from over-strained excitement. The imagination is glad to take refuge in the half-comic, half-serious comments of the Fool, just as the mind under the extreme anguish of a surgical operation vents itself in sallies of wit. The character was also a grotesque ornament of the barbarous times, in which alone the tragic ground-work of the story could be laid. In another point of view it is indis-pensable, inasmuch as while it is a diversion to the too great intensity of our disgust, it carries the pathos to the highest pitch of which it is capable, by showing the pitiable weakness of the old king's conduct and its irretrievable consequences in the most familiar point of view. Lear may well "beat at the gate which let his folly in," after, as the Fool says, "he has made his daughters his mothers." The character is dropped in the third act to make room for the entrance of Edgar as Mad Tom, which well accords with the increasing bustle and wildness of the incidents; and nothing can be more complete than the distinction between Lear's real and Edgar's assumed madness, while the resemblance in the cause of their distresses, from the severing of the nearest ties of natural affection, keeps up a unity of interest. Shakespear's mastery over his subject, if it was not art, was owing to a knowledge of the connecting links of the passions, and their effect upon the mind, still more wonderful than any systematic adherence to rules, and that anticipated and outdid all the efforts of the most refined art, not inspired and rendered instinctive by genius. One of the most perfect displays of dramatic power is the first interview between Lear and his daughter, after the designed affronts upon him, which, till one of his knights reminds him of them, his sanguine temperament had led him to overlook. He returns with his train from hunting, and his usual impatience breaks out in his first words, "Let me not stay a jot for dinner; go, get it ready." He then encounters the faithful Kent in disguise, and retains him in his service; and the first trial of his honest duty is to trip up the heels of the officious Steward who makes so prominent and despicable a figure through the piece. On the entrance of Gonerill the following dialogue takes place:—"Lear. How now, daughter? what makes that frontlet on?
Methinks, you are too much of late i' the frown.
Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou had'st no
need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing.—Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; [To Gonerill], so your face bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum.He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.—That's a sheal'd peascod! [Pointing to Lear,
Gonerill. Not only, sir, this your all-licens'd fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endured riots.
I had thought, by making this well known unto you,
To have found a safe redress; but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses sleep,
Which in the tender of a wholesome weal,
Might in their working do you that offence,
(Which else were shame) that then necessity
Would call discreet proceeding.
Fool. For you trow, nuncle,
The hedge sparrow fed the cuckoo so long,
That it had its head bit off by its young.
So out went the candle, and we were left darkling.
Lear. Are you our daughter?
Gonerill. Come, sir,
I would you would make use of that good wisdom
Whereof I know you are fraught; and put away
These dispositions, which of late transform you
From what you rightly are.
Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the
horse?—
Whoop, Jug, I love thee.
Lear. Does any here know me?—Why, this is not Lear;
Does Lear walk thus? speak thus?—Where are his eyes?
Either his notion weakens, or his discernings
Are lethargy'd—Ha! waking?—'Tis not so.—
Who is it that can tell me who I am?—Lear's shadow?
I would learn that: for by the marks
Of sov'reignty, of knowledge, and of reason,
I should be false persuaded I had daughters.—
Your name, fair gentlewoman?
Gonerill. Come, sir:
This admiration is much o' the favour
Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you
To understand my purposes aright:
As you are old and reverend, you should be wise:
Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires;
Men so disorder'd, so debauch'd, and bold,
That this our court, infected with their manners,
Shews like a riotous inn: epicurism and lust
Make it more like a tavern, or a brothel,
Then a grac'd palace. This shame itself doth speak
For instant remedy: be then desir'd
By her, that else will take the thing she begs,
A little to disquantity your train;
And the remainder, that shall still depend,
To be such men as may besort your age,
And know themselves and you.
Lear. Darkness and devils!—
Saddle my horses; call my train together.—
Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee;
Yet have I left a daughter.
Gonerill. You strike my people; and your disorder'd
rabble Make servants of their betters.Enter ALBANY.Lear. Woe, that too late repents—O, sir, are you come?
Is it your will? speak, sir.—Prepare my horses.—
[To Albany.
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou shew'st thee in a child,
Than the sea-monster!
Albany. Pray, sir, be patient.
Lear. Detested kite! thou liest. [To Gonerill.
My train are men of choice and rarest parts,
That all particulars of duty know;
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name.—O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia shew!
Which, like an engine, wrench'd my frame of nature
From the fixt place; drew from my heart all love,
And added to the gall. O Lear, Lear, Lear!
Beat at the gate, that let thy folly in, [Striking his head.
And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go, my people!
Albany. My lord,! am guiltless, as I am ignorant Of what hath mov'd you.
Lear. It may be so, my lord—
Hear, nature, hear! dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility;
Dry up in her the organs of increase:
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen: that it may live,
To be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains, and benefits,
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!—Away, away! [Exit,
Albany. Now, gods, that we adore, whereof comes this?
Gonerill. Never afflict yourself to know the cause,
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.Re-enter LEAR.Lear. What, fifty of my followers at a clap!
Within a fortnight!
Albany. What's the matter, sir?
Lear. I'll tell thee, life and death! I am asham'd
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus:
[To Gonerill,
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them.—Blasts and fogs upon thee!
The untented woundings of a father's curse
Pierce every sense about thee!—Old fond eyes
Beweep this cause again, I'll pluck you out;
And cast you, with the waters that you lose,
To temper clay.—Ha! is it come to this?
Let it be so:—Yet have I left a daughter,
Who, I am sure, is kind and comfortable;
When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails
She'll flea thy wolfish visage. Thou shalt find,
That I'll resume the shape, which thou dost think
I have cast off forever.
[Exeunt Lear, Kent, and Attendants."This is certainly fine: no wonder that Lear says after it, "O let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heavens," feeling its effects by anticipation; but fine as is this burst of rage and indignation at the first blow aimed at his hopes and expectations, it is nothing near so fine as what follows from his double disappointment, and his lingering efforts to see which of them he shall lean upon for support and find comfort in, when both his daughters turn against his age and weakness. It is with some difficulty that Lear gets to speak with his daughter Regan, and her husband, at Gloster's castle. In concert with Gonerill they have left their own home on purpose to avoid him. His apprehensions are first alarmed by this circumstance, and when Gloster, whose guests they are, urges the fiery temper of the Duke of Cornwall as an excuse for not importuning him a second time, Lear breaks out—"Vengeance! Plague! Death I Confusion!—
Fiery? What quality? Why, Gloster, Gloster,
I'd speak with the Duke of Cornwall, and his wife."Afterwards, feeling perhaps not well himself, he is inclined to admit their excuse from illness, but then recollecting that they have set his messenger (Kent) in the stocks, all his suspicions are roused again, and he insists on seeing them."Enter CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants.Lear. Good-morrow to you both.
Cornwall. Hail to your grace! [Kent is set at liberty.
Regan. I am glad to see your highness.
Lear. Regan, I think you are; I know what reason
I have to think so: if thou should'st not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother's tomb,
Sepulch'ring an adultress.—O, are you free? [To Kent.
Some other time for that.—Beloved Regan!
Thy sister's naught: O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here—
[Points to his hearts
I can scarce speak to thee; thou'lt not believe,
Of how deprav'd a quality—O Regan!
Regan. I pray you, sir, take patience; I have hope
You less know how to value her desert,
Than she to scant her duty.
Lear. Say, how is that?
Regan. I cannot think my sister in the least
Would fail her obligation; if, sir, perchance,
She have restrain'd the riots of your followers,
'Tis on such ground, and to such wholesome end.
As clears her from all blame.
Lear. My curses on her!
Regan. O, sir, you are old;
Nature in you stands on the very verge
Of her confine: you should be rul'd, and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself: therefore, I pray you,
That to our sister you do make return;
Say, you have wrong'd her, sir.
Lear. Ask her forgiveness?
Do you but mark how this becomes the use?
Dear daughter, I confess that I am old;
Age is unnecessary; on my knees I beg,
That you'll vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food.
Regan. Good sir, no more; these are unsightly tricks:
Return you to my sister,
Lear. Never, Regan:
She hath abated me of half my train;
Look'd blank upon me; struck me with her tongue,
Most serpent-like, upon the very heart:—
All the stored vengeances of heaven fall
On her ungrateful top! Strike her young bones,
You taking airs, with lameness!
Cornwall. Fie, sir, fie!
Lear. You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames
Into her scornful eyes! Infect her beauty,
You fen-suck'd fogs, drawn by the powerful sun,
To fall, and blast her pride!
Regan. O the blest gods!
So will you wish on me, when the rash mood is on.
Lear. No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse;
Thy tender-hefted nature shall not give
Thee o'er to harshness; her eyes are fierce, but thine
Do comfort, and not burn: 'Tis not in thee
To grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,
To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,
And, in conclusion, to oppose the bolt
Against my coming in: thou better know'st
The offices of nature, bond of childhood,
Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude;
Thy half o' the kingdom thou hast not forgot,
Wherein I thee endow'd.
Regan. Good sir, to the purpose. [Trumpets within.
Lear. Who put my man i' the stocks?
Cornwall. What trumpet's that?Enter Steward.Regan. I know't, my sister's: this approves her letter,
That she would soon be here.—Is your lady come?
Lear. This is a slave, whose easy-borrow'd pride
Dwells in the fickle grace of her he follows:—
Out, Varlet, from my sight!
Cornwall. What means your grace?
Lear. Who stock'd my servant?
Regan. I have good hope
Thou did'st not know on't.—Who comes here? O heavens,Enter GONERILL.If you do love old men, if your sweet sway
Allow obedience, if yourselves are old,
Make it your cause; send down, and take my part!—
Art not asham'd to look upon this beard?—[To Gonerill.
O Regan, wilt thou take her by the hand?
Gonerill. Why not by the hand, sir? How have I offended?
All's not offence, that indiscretion finds,
And dotage terms so.
Lear. O, sides, you are too tough!
Will you yet hold?—How came my man i' the stocks?
Cornwall. I set him there, sir: but his own disorders
Deserv'd much less advancement.
Lear. You! did you?
Regan. I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If, till the expiration of your month,
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me;
I am now from home, and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
Lear. Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd?
No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose
To be a comrade with the wolf and owl—
To wage against the enmity o' the air,
Necessity's sharp pinch!—Return with her!
Why, the hot-blooded France, that dowerless took
Our youngest born, I could as well be brought
To knee his throne, and squire-like pension beg
To keep base life afoot.—Return with her!
Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter
To this detested groom. [Looking on the Steward.
Gonerill. At your choice, sir.
Lear. Now, I pr'ythee, daughter, do not make me mad;
I will not trouble thee, my child; farewell:
We'll no more meet, no more see one another:—
But yet thou art my flesh, my blood, my daughter;
Or, rather, a disease that's in my flesh,
Which I must needs call mine: thou art a bile,
A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle,
In my corrupted blood. But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it:
I did not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove:
Mend when thou canst; be better, at thy leisure:
I can be patient; I can stay with Regan,
I, and my hundred knights.
Regan. Not altogether so, sir;
I look'd not for you yet, nor am provided
For your fit welcome: Give ear, sir, to my sister;
For those that mingle reason with your passion
Must be content to think you old, and so—
But she knows what she does.
Lear. Is this well spoken now?
Regan. I dare avouch it, sir: What, fifty followers?
Is it not well? What should you need of more?
Yea, or so many? Sith that both charge and danger
Speak 'gainst so great a number? How, in one house,
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity? 'Tis hard; almost impossible.
Gonerill. Why might not you, my lord, receive attendance
From those that she calls servants, or from mine?
Regan. Why not, my lord? If then they chanc'd to slack
you,
We would controul them: if you will come to me
(For now I spy a danger) I entreat you
To bring but five-and-twenty; to no more
Will I give place, or notice.
Lear. I gave you all—
Regan. And in good time you gave it.
Lear. Made you my guardians, my depositaries;
But kept a reservation to be follow'd
With such a number: what, must I come to you
With five-and-twenty, Regan I said you so?
Regan. And speak it again, my lord: no more with me.
Lear. Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favour'd,
When others are more wicked; not being the worst,
Stands in some rank of praise:—I'll go with thee;
[To Gonerill. Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Gonerill. Hear me, my lord;
What need you five-and-twenty, ten, or five,
To follow in a house, where twice so many
Have a command to tend you?
Regan. What need one?
Lear. O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's: thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st;
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.—But, for true need—
You heavens, give me that patience which I need!
You see me here, you gods; a poor old man,
As full of grief as age; wretched in both!
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger!
O, let no woman's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks!—No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall—I will do such things—
What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think, I'll weep:
No, I'll not weep:—
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or e'er I'll weep:—O, fool, I shall go mad!—
[Exeunt Lear, Gloster, Kent, and Fool.If there is any thing in any author like this yearning of the heart, these throes of tenderness, this profound expression of all that can be thought and felt in the most heart-rending situations, we are glad of it; but it is in some author that we have not read.The scene in the storm, where he is exposed to all the fury of the elements, though grand and terrible, is not so fine, but the moralising scenes with Mad Tom, Kent, and Gloster, are upon a par with the former. His exclamation in the supposed trial-scene of his daughters, "See the little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see they bark at me," his issuing his orders, "Let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds about her heart," and his reflection when he sees the misery of Edgar, "Nothing but his unkind daughters could have brought him to this," are in a style of pathos, where the extremes! resources of the imagination are called in to lay open the deepest movements of the heart, which was peculiar to Shakespear. In the same style and spirit is his interrupting the Fool who asks "whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman," by answering "A king, a king."—The indirect part that Gloster takes in these scenes where his generosity leads him to relieve Lear and resent the cruelty of his daughters, at the very time that he is himself instigated to seek the life of his son, and suffering under the sting of his supposed ingratitude, is a striking accompaniment to the situation of Lear. Indeed, the manner in which the threads of the story are woven together is almost as wonderful in the way of art as the carrying on the tide of passion, still varying and un-impaired, is on the score of nature. Among the remarkable instances of this kind are Edgar's meet-ing with his old blind father; the deception he practises upon him when he pretends to lead him to the top of Dover-cliff—"Come on, sir, here's the place," to prevent his ending his life and miseries together; his encounter with the perfidious Steward whom he kills, and his finding the letter from Gonerill to his brother upon him which leads to the final catastrophe, and brings the wheels of Justice "full circle home" to the guilty parties. The bustle and rapid succession of events in the last scenes is surprising. (But the meeting between Lear and Cordelia is by far the most affecting part of them. It has all the wildness of poetry, and all the heart-felt truth of nature. The previous account of her reception of the news of his unkind treat-ment, her unvoluntary reproaches to her sisters, "Shame, ladies, shame," Lear's backwardness to see his daughter, the picture of the desolate state to which he is reduced, "Alack, 'tis he; why he was met even now, as mad as the vex'd sea, singing aloud," only prepare the way for and heighten our expectation of what follows, and assuredly this expectation is not disappointed when through the tender care of Cordelia he revives and recollects her."Cordelia, How does my royal lord? How fares your
majesty! Lear. You do me wrong, to take me out o' the grave:
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.
Cordelia. Sir, do you know me?
Lear. You are a spirit I know: when did you die?
Cordelia. Still, still, far wide!
Physician. He's scarce awake; let him alone awhile.
Lear. Where have I been? Where am I?—Fair day-
light?—
I am mightily abus'd.—I should even die with pity,
To see another thus.—I know not what to say.—
I will not swear these are my hands:—let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
Of my condition.
Cordelia. O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:—
No, sir, you must not kneel.
Lear. Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear, I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks, I sho'ld know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful: for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night: do not laugh at me;
For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
Cordelia. And so I am, I am!"Almost equal to this in awful beauty is their consolation of each other when, after the triumph of their enemies, they are led to prison."Cordelia. We are not the first,
Who, with best meaning, have incurr'd the worst.
For thee, oppressed king, am I cast down;
Myself could else out-frown false fortune's frown.—
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too—
Who loses, and who wins; who's in, who's out;—
And take upon us the mystery of things
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.
Edmund. Take them away.
Lear. Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense."The concluding events are sad, painfully sad; but their pathos is extreme. The oppression of the feelings is relieved by the very interest we take in the misfortunes of others, and by the reflections to which they give birth. Cordelia is hanged in prison by the orders of the bastard Edmund, which are known too late to be countermanded, and Lear dies broken-hearted, lamenting over her,"Lear, And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life;
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? O, thou wilt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!—
Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir."He dies, and indeed we feel the truth of what Kent says on the occasion—"Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! he hates him,
That would upon the rack of this rough world
Stretch him out longer."Yet a happy ending has been contrived for this play, which is approved of by Dr. Johnson and condemned by Schlegel. A better authority than either, on any subject in which poetry and feeling are concerned, has given it in favour of Shakespear, in some remarks on the acting of Lear, with which we shall conclude this account:"The LEAR of Shakespear cannot be acted. The contemptible machinery with which they mimic the storm which he goes out in, is not more inadequate to represent the horrors of the real elements than any actor can be to represent Lear. The greatness of Lear is not in corporal dimension, but in intellectual: the explosions of his passions are terrible as a volcano; they are storms turning up and disclosing to the bottom that rich sea, his mind, with all its vast riches. It is his mind which is laid bare. This case of flesh and blood seems too insignificant to be thought on; even as he himself neglects it. On the stage we see nothing but corporal infirmities and weakness, the impotence of rage; while we read it, we see not Lear, but we are Lear; —we are in his mind; we are sustained by a grandeur, which baffles the malice of daughters and storms; in the aberrations of his reason, we discover a mighty irregular power of reasoning, immethodised from the ordinary purposes of life, but exerting its powers, as the wind blows where it listeth, at will on the corruptions and abuses of mankind. What have looks or tones to do with that sublime identification of his age with that of the heavens themselves, when in his reproaches to them for conniving at the injustice of his children, he reminds them that 'they themselves are old!' What gesture shall we appropriate to this? What has the voice or the eye to do with such things? But the play is beyond all art, as the tamperings with it shew: it is too hard and stony: it must have love-scenes and a happy ending. It is not enough that Cordelia is a daughter, she must shine as a lover too. Tate has put his hook in the nostrils of this Leviathan, for Garrick and his followers, the shewmen of the scene, to draw it about more easily. A happy ending!-as if the living martyrdom that Lear had gone through,-the flaying of his feelings alive, did not make a fair dismissal from the stage of life the only decorous thing for him. If he is to live and be happy after, if he could sustain this world's burden after, why all this pudder and preparation-why torment us with all this unnecessary sympathy? As if the childish pleasure of getting his gilt robes and sceptre again could tempt him to act over again his misused station-as if at his years and with his experience, any thing was left but to die." 1Four things have struck us in reading LEAR:
1. That poetry is an interesting study, for this1 See an article, called Theatralia, in the second volume of the Reflector, by Charles Lamb.reason, that it relates to whatever is most interest-ing in human life. Whoever therefore has a con-tempt for poetry, has a contempt for himself and humanity.
2. That the language of poetry is superior to the language of painting; because the strongest of our recollections relate to feelings, not to faces.
3. That the greatest strength of genius is shewn in describing the strongest passions: for the power of the imagination, in works of invention, must be in proportion to the force of the natural impressions, which are the subject of them.
4. That the circumstance which balances the pleasure against the pain in tragedy is, that in pro-portion to the greatness of the evil, is our sense and desire of the opposite good excited; and that our sympathy with actual suffering is lost in the strong impulse given to our natural affections, and carried away with the swelling tide of passion, that gushes from and relieves the heart.

_________________
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ثقتنا فيك ,.
اخوتنا بيموتو ادام عنيك ,
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كفايا بقى :
اى شاب مصرى عصرى بيدى بس مابيخدش .
كفايا بقى : بقى الحمل علينا تأيل
ولازم نسكت منتكلمش .
كفايا بقى : كل يوم بتظهرو لنا بألف وش .
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: King Lear Study Guide   السبت يناير 15, 2011 9:53 pm

King Lear Essay features Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous critique based on his legendary and influential Shakespeare notes and lectures.

Of all Shakespeare's plays Macbeth is the most rapid, Hamlet the slowest in movement. Lear combines length with rapidity,—like the hurricane and the whirlpool absorbing while it advances. It begins as a stormy day in summer, with brightness; but that brightness is lurid, and anticipates the tempest.

It was not without forethought, nor is it without its due significance, that the division of Lear's kingdom is in the first six lines of the play stated as a thing already deter-mined in all its particulars, previously to the trial of professions, as the relative rewards of which the daughters were to be made to consider their several portions. The strange, yet by no means unnatural, mixture of selfishness, sensibility, and habit of feeling derived from, and fostered by, the particular rank and usages of the individual;— the intense desire of being intensely beloved,—selfish, and yet characteristic of the selfishness of a loving and kindly nature alone;—the self-supportless leaning for all pleasure on another's breast;—the craving after sympathy with a prodigal disinterestedness, frustrated by its own ostentation, and the mode and nature of its claims;—the anxiety, the distrust, the jealousy, which more or less accompany all selfish affections, and are amongst the surest contra-distinctions of mere fondness from true love, and which originate Lear's eager wish to enjoy his daughter's violent professions, whilst the inveterate habits of sovereignty convert the wish into claim and positive right, and an incompliance with it into crime and treason;—these facts, these passions, these moral verities, on which the whole tragedy is founded, are all prepared for, and will to the retrospect be found implied, in these first four or five lines of the play. They let us know that the trial is but a trick; and that the grossness of the old king's rage is in part the natural result of a silly trick suddenly and most unexpectedly baffled and disappointed.

It may here be worthy of notice, that Lear is the only serious performance of Shakspeare, the interest and situations of which are derived from the assumption of a gross improbability; whereas Beaumont and Fletcher's tragedies are, almost all of them, founded on some out of the way accident or exception to the general experience of mankind. But observe the matchless judgment of our Shakspeare. First, improbable as the conduct of Lear is in the first scene, yet it was an old story rooted in the popular faith,—a thing taken for granted already, and consequently without any of the effects of improbability. Secondly, it is merely the canvass for the characters and passions,—a mere occasion for,—and not, in the manner of Beaumont and Fletcher, perpetually recurring as the cause, and sine qua non of,—the incidents and emotions. Let the first scene of this play have been lost, and let it only be understood that a fond father had been duped by hypocritical professions of love and duty on the part of two daughters to disinherit the third, previously, and deservedly, more dear to him;—and all the rest of the tragedy would retain its interest undiminished, and be perfectly intelligible. The accidental is nowhere the groundwork of the passions, but that which is catholic, which in all ages has been, and ever will be, close and native to the heart of man,—parental anguish from filial ingratitude, the genuineness of worth, though confined in bluntness, and the execrable vileness of a smooth iniquity. Perhaps I ought to have added the Merchant of Venice;
but here too the same remarks apply. It was an old tale;
and substitute any other danger than that of the pound of flesh (the circumstance in which the improbability lies), yet all the situations and the emotions appertaining to them remain equally excellent and appropriate. Whereas take away from the Mad Lover of Beaumont and Fletcher the fantastic hypothesis of his engagement to cut out his own heart, and have it presented to his mistress, and all the main scenes must go with it.

Kotzebue is the German Beaumont and Fletcher, without their poetic powers, and without their vis comica. But, like them, he always deduces his situations and passions from marvellous accidents, and the trick of bring-ing one part of our moral nature to counteract another; as our pity for misfortune and admiration of generosity and courage to combat our condemnation of guilt, as in adultery, robbery, and other heinous crimes;—and, like them too, he excels in his mode of telling a story clearly and interestingly, in a series of dramatic dialogues. Only the trick of making tragedy-heroes and heroines out of shopkeepers and barmaids was too low for the age, and too unpoetic for the genius, of Beaumont and Fletcher, inferior in every respect as they are to their great predecessor and contemporary. How inferior would they have appeared, had not Shakspeare existed for them to imitate;—which in every play, more or less, they do, and in their tragedies most glaringly:—and yet—(O shame! shame!)—they miss no opportunity of sneering at the divine man, and sub-detracting from his merits!

To return to Lear. Having thus in the fewest words, and in a natural reply to as natural a question,—which yet answers the secondary purpose of attracting our attention to the difference or diversity between the characters of Cornwall and Albany,—provided the premisses and data, as it were, for our after insight into the mind and mood of the person, whose character, passions, and suffer-ings are the main subject-matter of the play;—from Lear, the persona patiens of his drama. Shakspeare passes without delay to the second in importance, the chief agent and prime mover, and introduces Edmund to our acquaintance. preparing us with the same felicity of judgment, and in the same easy and natural way, for his character in the seemingly casual communication of its origin and occasion. From the first drawing up of the curtain Edmund has stood before us in the united strength and beauty of earliest manhood. Our eyes have been questioning him. Gifted as he is with high advantages of person, and further endowed by nature with a powerful intellect and a strong energetic will, even without any concurrence of circumstances and accident, pride will necessarily be the sin that most easily besets him. But Edmund is also the known and acknowledged son of the princely Gloster: he, therefore, has both the germ of pride, and the conditions best fitted to evolve and ripen it into a predominant feeling. Yet hitherto no reason appears why it should be other than the not unusual pride of person, talent, and birth,— a pride auxiliary, if not akin, to many virtues, and the natural ally of honourable impulses. But alas! in his, own presence his own father takes shame to himsself for the frank avowal that he is his father.—he has 'blushed so often to acknowledge him that he is now brazed to it!' Edmund hears the circumstances of his birth spoken of with a most degrading and licentious levity,—his mother described as a wanton by her own paramour, and the remembrance of the animal sting, the low criminal gratifications connected with her wantonness and prostituted beauty, assigned as the reason, why 'the whoreson must be acknowledged!' This, and the consciousness of its notoriety; the gnawing conviction that every show of respect is an effort of courtesy, which recalls, while it represses, a contrary feeling;—this is the ever trickling flow of wormwood and gall into The wounds of pride.—the corrosive virus which inoculates pride with a venom not its own, with envy, hatred, and a lust for that power which in its blaze of radiance would hide the dark spots on his disc.—with pangs of shame personally undeserved, and therefore felt as wrongs, and with a blind ferment of vindictive working towards the occasions and causes, especially towards a brother, whose stainless birth and lawful honours were the constant remembrancers of his own debasement, and were ever in the way to prevent all chance of its being unknown, or overlooked and forgotten. Add to this, that with excellent judgment, and provident for the claims of the moral sense,—for that which, relatively to the drama, is called poetic justice, and as the fittest means for reconciling the feelings of the spectators to the horrors of Gloster's after sufferings,— at least, of rendering them somewhat less unendurable;— (for I will not disguise my conviction, that in this one point the tragic in this play has been urged beyond the outermost mark and ne plus ultra of the dramatic)—Shakspeare has precluded all excuse and palliation of the guilt incurred by both the parents of the base-born Edmund, by Gloster's confession that he was at the time a married man, and already blest with a lawful heir of his fortunes. The mournful alienation of brotherly love, occasioned by the law of primogeniture in noble families, or rather by the unnecessary distinctions engrafted thereon, and this in children of the same stock, is still almost proverbial on the continent,—especially, as I know from my own observation, in the south of Europe,—and appears to have been scarcely less common in our own island before the Revolu-tion of 1688, if we may judge from the characters and sentiments so frequent in our elder comedies. There is the younger brother, for instance, in Beaumont and Fletcher's play of the Scornful Lady, on the one side, and Oliver in Shakspeare's As You Like It, on the other. Need it be said how heavy an aggravation, in such a case, the stain of bastardy must have been, were it only that the younger brother was liable to hear his own dishonour and his mother's infamy related by his father with an excusing shrug of the shoulders, and in a tone betwixt waggery and shame!

By the circumstances here enumerated as so many predisposing causes, Edmund's character might well be deemed already suffciently explained; and our minds prepared for it. But in this tragedy the story or fable constrained Shakspeare to introduce wickedness in an outrageous form in the persons of Regan and Goneril. He had read nature too heedfully not to know, that courage, intellect, and strength of character are the most impressive forms of power, and that to power in itself, without reference to any moral end, an inevitable admiration and complacency appertains, whether it be displayed in the conquests of a Buonaparte or Tamerlane, or in the foam and the thunder of a cataract. But in the exhibition of such a character it was of the highest importance to prevent the guilt from passing into utter monstrosity,—which again depends on the presence or absence of causes and temptations sufficient to account for the wickedness, without the necessity of recurring to a thorough fiendishness of nature for its origination. For such are the appointed relations of intellectual power to truth, and of truth to goodness, that it becomes both morally and poetically unsafe to present what is admirable,—what our nature compels us to admire —in the mind, and what is most detestable in the heart, as co-existing in the same individual without any apparent connection, or any modification of the one by the other. That Shakspeare has in one instance, that of Iago, approached to this, and that he has done it successfully, is, perhaps, the most astonishing proof of his genius, and the opulence of its resources. But in the present tragedy, in which he was compelled to present a Goneril and a Regan, it was most carefully to be avoided;—and there-fore the only one conceivable addition to the inauspicious influences on the preformation of Edmund's character is given, in the information that all the kindly counteractions to the mischievous feelings of shame, which might have been derived from co-domestication with Edgar and their common father, had been cut off by his absence from home, and foreign education from boyhood to the present time, and a prospect of its continuance, as if to preclude all risk of his interference with the father's views for the elder and legitimate son:—

He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.

Act i. sc. i.
Coy. Nothing, my lord.
Lear. Nothing?
Cor. Nothing.
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again.
Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more, nor less.

There is something of disgust at the ruthless hypocrisy of her sisters, and some little faulty admixture of pride and sullenness in Cordelia's 'Nothing;' and her tone is well contrived, indeed, to lessen the glaring absurdity of Lear's conduct, but answers the yet more important purpose of forcing away the attention from the nursery-tale, the moment it has served its end, that of supplying the canvass for the picture. This is also materially furthered by Kent's opposition, which displays Lear's moral incapability of resigning the sovereign power in the very act of disposing of it. Kent is, perhaps, the nearest to perfect goodness in all Shakspeare's characters, and yet the most in-dividualized. There is an extraordinary charm in his bluntness, which is that only of a nobleman arising from a contempt of overstrained courtesy, and combined with easy placability where goodness of heart is apparent. His passionate affection for, and fidelity to, Lear act on our feelings in Lear's own favour: virtue itself seems to be in company with him.

Ib. sc. 2. Edmund's speech:—

Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, &c.

Warburton's note upon a quotation from Vanini.

Poor Vanini!—Any one but Warburton would have thought this precious passage more characteristic of Mr. Shandy than of atheism. If the fact really were so, (which it is not, but almost the contrary,) I do not see why the most confirmed theist might not very naturally utter the same wish. But it is proverbial that the youngest son in a large family is commonly the man of the greatest talents in it; and as good an authority as Vanini has said —incalescere in venerem ardentius, spei sobolis injuriosum esse.

In this speech of Edmund you see, as soon as a man cannot reconcile himself to reason, how his conscience flies off by way of appeal to nature, who is sure upon such occasions never to find fault, and also how shame sharpens a predisposition in the heart to evil. For it is a profound morale that shame will naturally generate guilt; the oppressed will be vindictive, like Shylock, and in the anguish of undeserved ignominy the delusion secretly springs up, of getting over the moral quality of an action by fixing tne mind on the merephysical act alone.

Ib. Edmund's speech:—

This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars, &c.

Thus scorn and misanthropy are often the anticipations I and mouthpieces of wisdom in the detection of superstitions. Both individuals and nations may be free from such prejudices by being below them, as well as by rising above them.

Ib. sc. 3. The Steward should be placed in exact antithesis to Kent, as the only character of utter irredeem-able baseness in Shakspeare. Even in this the judgment and invention of the poet are very observable; —for what else could the willing tool of a Goneril be? Not a vice but this of baseness was left open to him.

Ib. sc. 4. In Lear old age is itself a character,—its natural imperfections being increased by life-long habits of receiving a prompt obedience. Any addition of individuality would have been unnecessary and painful; for the relations of others to him, of wondrous fidelity and of frightful ingratitude, alone sufficiently distinguish him. Thus Lear becomes the open and ample play-room of nature's passions.

Ib.

Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, Sir; the tool hath much pin'd away,

The Fool is no comic buffoon to make the groundlings laugh,—no forced condescension of Shakspeare's genius to the taste of his audience. Accordingly the poet prepares for his introduction, which he never does with any of his common downs and fools, by bringing him into living connection with the pathos of the play. He is as wonderful a creation as Caliban;—his wild babblings, and inspired idiocy, articulate and gauge the horrors of the scene.

The monster Goneril prepares what is necessary, while the character of Albany renders a still more maddening grievance possible, namely, Regan and Cornwall in perfect sympathy of monstrosity. Not a sentiment, not an image, which can give pleasure on its own account, is admitted; whenever these creatures are introduced, and they are brought forward as little as possible, pure horror reigns throughout. In this scene and in all the early speeches of Lear, the one general sentiment of filial ingratitude prevails as the main spring of the feelings;—in this early stage the outward object causing the pressure on the mind, which is not yet sufficiently familiarized with the anguish for the imagination to work upon it.

Ib.

Gon. Do you mark that, my lord?
Alb. I cannot be so partial, Goneril,
To the great love I bear you.
Gon. Pray you content, &c.

Observe the baffled endeavour of Goneril to act on the fears of Albany, and yet his passiveness, his inertia; he is not convinced, and yet he is afraid of looking into the thing. Such characters always yield to those who will take the trouble of governing them, or for them. Perhaps, the influence of a princess, whose choice of him had royalized his state, may be some little excuse for Albany's weakness.

Ib. sc. 5.

Lear. O let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven!
Keep me in temper! I would not be mad!—

The mind's own anticipation of madness! The deepest tragic notes are often struck by a half sense of an impend-ing blow. The Fool's conclusion of this act by a grotesque prattling seems to indicate the dislocation of feeling that has begun and is to be continued.

Act ii. sc. i. Edmund's speech:—

He replied,
Thou unpossessing bastard! &c.

Thus the secret poison in Edmund's own heart steals forth; and then observe poor Gloster's —

Loyal and natural boy!

as if praising the crime of Edmund's birth!

Ib. Compare Regan's—

What, did my father's godson seek your life?
He whom my father named?

with the unfeminine violence of her—

All vengeance comes too short, &c.

and yet no reference to the guilt, but only to the accident, which she uses as an occasion for sneering at her father. Regan is not, in fact, a greater monster than Goneril, but she has the power of casting more venom.

Ib. sc. 2. Cornwall's speech:—

This is some fellow,
Who, having been praised for bluntness, doth affect
A saucy roughness, &c.

In thus placing these profound general truths in the mouths of such men as Cornwall, Edmund, Iago, &c. Shakspeare at once gives them utterance, and yet shows how indefinite their application is.

Ib. sc. 3. Edgar's assumed madness serves the great purpose of taking off part of the shock which would otherwise be caused by the true madness of Lear, and further displays the profound difference between the two. In every attempt at representing madness throughout the whole range of dramatic literature, with the single exception of Lear, it is mere lightheadedness, as especially in Otway. In Edgar's ravings Shakspeare all the while lets you see a fixed purpose, a practical end in view;—in Lear's, there is only the brooding of the one anguish, an eddy without progression.

Ib. sc. 4. Lear's speech:—

The king would speak with Cornwall; the dear father
Would with his daughter speak, &c.

No, but not yet: may be he is not well, &c.

The strong interest now felt by Lear to try to find excuses for his daughter is most pathetic.

Ib. Lear's speech:—

————Beloved Regan,
Thy sister's naught;—O Regan, she bath tied
Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture, here.
I can scarce "speak to thee;—thou'lt not believe
With how deprav'd a quality—O Regan!
Reg. I pray you. Sir, take patience; I have hope,
You less know how to value her desert,
Than she to scant her duty.
Lear. Say, how is that?

Nothing is so heart-cutting as a cold unexpected defence or palliation of a cruelty passionately complained of, or so expressive of thorough hard-heartedness. And feel the excessive horror of Regan's 'O, Sir, you are old!'—and then her drawing from that universal object of reverence and indulgence the very reason for her frightful conclusion—

Say, you have wrong'd her!

All Lear's faults increase our pity for him. We refuse to know them otherwise than as means of his sufferings, and aggravations of his daughter's ingratitude.

Ib. Lear's speech:—

O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous, &c.

Observe that the tranquillity which follows the first stunning of the blow permits Lear to reason.

Act iii. sc. 4. O, what a world's convention of agonies is here! All external nature in a storm, all moral nature convulsed,—the real madness of Lear, the feigned madness of Edgar, the babbling of the Fool, the desperate fidelity of Kent—surely such a scene was never conceived before or since! Take it but as a picture for the eye only, it is more terrific than any which a Michel Angelo, inspired by a Dante, could have conceived, and which none but a Michel Angelo could have executed. Or let it have been uttered to the blind, the bowlings of nature would seem converted into the voice of conscious humanity. This scene ends with the first symptoms of positive derangement; and the intervention of the fifth scene is particularly judicious, —the interruption allowing an interval for Lear to appear in full madness in the sixth scene.

Ib. sc. 7. Gloster's blinding:—

What can I say of this scene?—There is my reluctance to think Shakspeare wrong, and yet—

Act iv. sc. 6. Lear's speech:—

Ha! Goneril!—with a white beard!—They flattered me like a dog; and told me, I had white hairs in my beard, ere the black
ones were there. To say Ay and No to every thing that I said! —Ay and No too was no good divinity. When the rain came to wet me once, &c.

The thunder recurs, but still at a greater distance from our feelings.
Ib. sc. 7. Lear's speech:—

Where have I been? Where am I?—Fair daylight?— I am mightily abused.—I should even die with pity To see another thus, &c.

How beautifully the affecting return of Lear to reason, and the mild pathos of these speeches prepare the mind for the last sad, yet sweet, consolation of the aged sufferer's death!

_________________
يالى كنت فاكر مصر لعبه بين ايدك , تعالى شوف اخرت
ثقتنا فيك ,.
اخوتنا بيموتو ادام عنيك ,
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كفايا بقى :
اى شاب مصرى عصرى بيدى بس مابيخدش .
كفايا بقى : بقى الحمل علينا تأيل
ولازم نسكت منتكلمش .
كفايا بقى : كل يوم بتظهرو لنا بألف وش .
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