King Lear
King Lear
by William Shakespeare

King Lear Analysis

Literary Devices in King Lear

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

We're just going to put this out there right now: any play/novel/story of some sort that features a character getting blinded is also probably saying something about metaphorical blindness. In King...

Setting

Lear is set in super-ancient, pre-Christian Britain. (Though, there are some Christian themes in the play. Check out our theme discussion of "Justice" for more on this.) You'll notice a lot of acti...

Genre

Like Hamlet and Macbeth, King Lear is a "tragedy," which is a genre that has some basic rules and conventions. What are these basic rules and conventions, you ask? Let's take a look at our nifty ch...

Tone

King Lear is a dark play, and its tone reflects this. The powerful language of Lear's cursing of his daughters defines the play, and as Lear goes mad, he begins to curse the entire social world and...

Writing Style

King Lear, like Shakespeare's other plays, is written in a combination of verse (poetry) and prose (how we talk every day). (Note: The play Richard II is the one exception to this rule – it's...

What's Up With the Title?

There's a king and his name is Lear…and half of the other people in the play are related to him. Basically, he's a big deal.Brain Snack: If you've ever gone digging around in Shakespeare arch...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of King Lear can be a bit tricky because there are two different versions of the play (three if you count the "conflated" text, which shmooshes the two versions together into one big, lo...

Tough-o-Meter

We're not gonna lie, getting the hang of reading Elizabethan English can be a little rough at first. Once you've got the hang of Big Willy Shakespeare's language, though, reading Lear is a piece of...

Plot Analysis

Split the kingdom; bring on retirement.Uh-oh. Anybody who has read Henry IV Part 1 (or lives in seventeenth-century England) knows it's not a good idea for Lear to split up the kingdom so he can en...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Lear looks forward to hanging out with Cordelia during his peaceful retirement.King Lear doesn't fit this part exactly. Lear's initial "anticipation" is more like the dream stage. Unfortunately, hi...

Trivia

Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina, thought Shakespeare was a horrible writer and that King Lear was an especially terrible play. (Source)For over 100 years the only version...

Steaminess Rating

There aren't any steamy loves scenes in Lear so you definitely won't be fanning yourselves with your copy of the play as you read. That said, the play is full of disturbing sexual language and imag...

Allusions

Raphael Holinshed, The Historie of England in Chronicles (Volume 1, Book 2), 1577Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historie of the Kings of Britain (Book 2), c. 1135Anonymous, The True Chronicle Historie of Ki...

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