William Shakespeare: King Lear

(3150 words)
  • Hugh Grady (Arcadia University, (formerly Beaver College) )

William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear has been considered his supreme achievement by a widespread (if not unanimous) critical consensus since the end of the Second World War, momentum for this evaluation having begun with the Romantics and accelerated thereafter. Earlier periods showed a much more mixed reaction to the play, mingling praise and fault-finding. Today, King Lear is valued for its acute probing into the meaning of human life and suffering, its investigations into human nature and the relation of humanity to the cosmos. To most twentieth-century critics its poetic richness and dramatic intensity have seemed equal to its grand themes. At the same time, it is both a domestic and political tragedy …

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Grady, Hugh. "King Lear". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 August 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4216, accessed 29 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Jacobean