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Re: another... obsidian

Posted by sigismund on August 16, 2010, at 1:40:32

In reply to Re: another... sigismund, posted by obsidian on August 15, 2010, at 10:36:55

>Freud asserted that Cordelia symbolizes Death. Therefore, when the play begins with Lear rejecting his daughter, it can be interpreted as him rejecting death; Lear is unwilling to face the finitude of his being. The plays poignant ending scene, wherein Lear carries the body of his beloved Cordelia, was of great importance to Freud. In this scene, she causes in Lear a realization of his finitude, or as Freud put it, she causes him to make friends with the necessity of dying[12]. It is logical to infer that Shakespeare had special intentions with Cordelias death, as he was the only writer to have Cordelia killed (in the version by the anonymous author, she continues to live happily, and in Holinsheds, she restores her father and succeeds him).

I don't know. I suppose I disagree. Lear does say early on (FWIW) 'while we unburthen'd crawl toward death', though what is going on in Lear's mind early on in the play is a mystery to me and (I thought) something I would just have to accept as the given in the play. The last scene is truly wonderful, but I don't think Lear has made friends with the necessity of dying. Rather he sees humanity naked and alone, without any comfort or protection whatever, not even from virtue (Albany, Edgar, Kent, Cordelia) which is either behind the eight ball (Albany, Edgar) or absolutely unrewarded (Kent Cordelia).

One thing I had not realised (and was pleased to notice) was the extent of the black humour in the play which centres on Albany who plays the straight man to the appalling events as they unfold. As in
'This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge
But Oh, poor Gloucester, lost he his other eye?'
'Both, my Lord, Both.
This letter madam .................'

I had the Paul Scofield radio version which was done for his 80th birthday. My son and I would listen to it in the dark.

"King Lear"

That's the Paul Scofield/Peter Brook film, which is my favourite, though it works best for me as words

 

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