"King Lear has, and continues to be valued, because it possesses a sense of textual integrity."

Essay by bobkaizokuHigh School, 12th gradeA+, June 2006

download word file, 7 pages 5.0 2 reviews

Downloaded 40 times

How has the textual integrity of the play allowed it to be read and received in a variety of contexts?

From it's first production in 1605 in London before the court of James I, until it's modern representation by Brian Blessed's in 1999, Shakespeare's "King Lear" exists as a play that may be interpreted and valued in a variety of ways. It is the composer's coherent use of language and dramatic form, namely the textual integrity, provoking audience's for several hundreds of years which makes this play capable of being read and received from the 17th to the 21st century. These techniques have effectively produced an integrated text in terms of meaning and values, allowing different interpretations to emerge through the ages.

The multifaceted composition of King Lear, with the various language devices; symbolism metaphors and rhetorical questions, in addition to the emotive language and reflective tone, allows various readings of the play to be received in different eras.

For example, the earliest interpretation of King Lear by A.C Bradley; an Aristotelian reading of King Lear, is evident when examining the characterization of Lear. His misjudgement, arrogance and irresponsibility inevitably lead to his demise, and the notion of hubris is accentuated through the love test in the introductory scene. Through the language of Shakespeare, Lear is characterised as an egotistical and excessively proud character questioning Cordelia "What can you draw a third more opulent than the sisters?" His fatal character trait is highlighted when considering the previous responses from Goneril's "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter" and Regan's "I am alone felicitate in your dear highness's love," with his lack of satisfaction, and demand for further flattery. Lear insists that Cordelia embellish her words when he opens another opportunity for...