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King Lear Themes

King Lear Themes

Family

Do not take your dad to a production of King Lear on Father's Day. Actually, don't take your mom to see it on Mother's Day, for that matter. (Characters who are mothers, as several critic...

Power

Um, more like loss of power. Poor Lear really loses it all: his family, his mind... and his power.After retiring and divvying up his kingdom among his ungrateful daughters, Lear discovers what...

Justice

The excessive cruelty and portrayal of human suffering in the play make the world seem terribly unjust. Throughout King Lear, characters constantly appeal to the gods for aid but are rarely answere...

Language and Communication

King Lear, being bleakity-bleak-bleak about most things we think are awesome (like love and family), also makes language look pretty depressing. Basically, it's a super-blunt tool that means... not...

Gender

There's a reason that King Lear isn't taught in Feminism 101... unless it's being held up as an example of misogyny.In King Lear, women are often seen as emasculating, disloyal, promiscuous, and th...

Society and Class

King Lear isn't just a family drama. Hardly. Our Billy Shakespeare wouldn't ever be so simplistic. This tragedy also picks apart some pretty meaty social issues.King Lear offers some pret...

Loyalty

Think of all the tough, out-for-#1-type antiheroes you know: Walter White, pre-Leia Han Solo, Littlefinger.  Yeah, all those guys would feel right at home in King Lear.In the harsh world...

Compassion and Forgiveness

A warning, Shmoopers: King Lear ain't going to make you feel great about people. Think of the warmest, fuzziest feel-good comedy... and then think of the opposite. Yup. That's King Lear.King L...

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