King Lear (Folger Shakespeare Library)

King Lear (Folger Shakespeare Library)

William Shakespeare, Paul Werstine

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 074348276X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Shakespeare’s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. What, then, keeps bringing us back to King Lear? For all the force of its language, King Lear is almost equally powerful when translated, suggesting that it is the story, in large part, that draws us to the play.

The play tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty, on the one hand, and support and consolation, on the other. Emotions are extreme, magnified to gigantic proportions. We also see old age portrayed in all its vulnerability, pride, and, perhaps, wisdom—one reason this most devastating of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also perhaps his most moving.

The authoritative edition of King Lear from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:

-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

-Scene-by-scene plot summaries

-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases

-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language

-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books

-An annotated guide to further reading

Essay by Susan Snyder

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit

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against than sinning. Kent Alack, bareheaded! Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel,42 Some friendship43 will it lend you ’gainst the tempest. 60 Repose you there, while I to this hard44 house (More harder than the stones whereof ’tis raised,45 Which46 even but now, demanding after47 you, Denied me to come in) return, and force48 Their scanted courtesy.49 Lear My wits begin to turn. 65 ( to Fool ) Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold? I am cold myself. ( to Kent) Where

thunderous impact as a son showing a blind father how to commit suicide by jumping off a nonexistent cliff, or a deranged father trying to persuade his dead daughter to return to life? To be intensely virtuosic in its dramatic displays, notably in the play’s first three acts, necessarily involves a special dramatic structure.Virtually all commentators have noted that Lear’s greatness is surely different, and the nature of that differentness has been explained in a wide range of ways.4 Careful,

King my old master must be relieved.8 There is some strange thing toward, Edmund. Pray you, be careful. exit Gloucester 1 conduct 2 go to ϭ come, come 3 (1) successfully, (2) thoroughly* 4 army 5 established 6 incline to ϭ take the side of 7 (1) go and see, examine, (2) search for, seek out 8 rescued, helped 105 act 3 • scene 3 Edmund This courtesy forbid thee,9 shall the Duke Instantly know, and of that letter too. 20 This seems a fair deserving, and must draw10 me That which my

Topple15 down headlong. Gloucester Set me where you stand. Edgar Give me your hand. You are now within a foot 25 Of the extreme verge.16 For all beneath the moon Would I not leap upright.17 Gloucester Let go my hand. Here, friend, ’s another purse, in it a jewel Well worth a poor man’s taking. Fairies and gods Prosper it with18 thee. Go thou farther off, 30 Bid me farewell, and let me hear thee going. Edgar Now fare you well, good sir. Gloucester With all my heart. Edgar Why I

steward) Curran (Gloucester’s servant) Old Man, Doctor, Captain, Herald, Knights, Messengers, Servants, Soldiers 1 RAYgin 2 duke ϭ nobleman of royal blood, subordinate only to a king 3 earl ϭ nobleman of lesser rank than a duke (often not a hereditary rank) 4 GLAHster Act 1 s c e n e 1 King Lear’s palace enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund Kent I thought the King had more affected1 the Duke of Albany than Cornwall. Gloucester It did always seem so to us.2 But now, in the division of

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