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Connell Guides

Shakespeare's King Lear Study Guide

Shakespeare's King Lear Study Guide

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All you need to know about William Shakespeare's King Lear is in this advanced guide to the text. Connell Guides are advanced guide books that offer sophisticated analysis and broad critical perspectives for higher-level GCSE and A Level English Literature students. Written by leading academics, Connell Guides are clear, concise and beautifully designed to help students understand, and enjoy, great works of literature. They are perfect for coursework, revision and exam preparation. Connell Guides are also great reads themselves scholarly, yet approachable and entertaining.

This guide covers topics such as:

What is King Lear about? What is it that breaks down in Lear? How important are the gods? How Christian is Lear? What do we make of Bedlam Tom's gibberish? Why is Edgar so important? To what extent is Nature being questioned? How does Shakespeare show us a world reduced to "nothing"? Does the play undermine language itself? How sympathetic is Shakespeare's treatment of women in Lear? Where does Lear leave us in the end? How does Lear look forward to Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd? The horrors of King Lear appalled Dr Johnson and exasperated A.C. Bradley, the most influential of all commentators on Shakespeare. Yet, like subsequent critics, they could not deny the play's greatness. For all his reservations Bradley conceded that it was the "fullest revelation of Shakespeare's power" - up there with Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound, Dante's Divine Comedy, Beethoven's symphonies and Michelangelo's statues. With his customary eloquence and passion, the distinguished critic Valentine Cunningham shows what it is that Shakespeare is driving at in Lear and how this extraordinary tragedy about a foolish old king who goes mad leads directly to Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd


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