"King Lear Has, And Continues To Be Valued, Because It Possesses A Sense Of Textual Integrity."

1759 words - 7 pages

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 praise, "Nothing will come of nothing, speak again... Mend your speech a little, lest you may mar your fortunes." The use of instructive commands, to "Mend your speech" adequately highlights his anticipation of sycophancy.Further, this representation of the text continues to be received in the contemporary context through Michael Elliot's 1983 Granada Production of King Lear, where the textual integrity is reflect as Elliot to presents Lear in a grandiose thrown. The production conforms to an Aristotelian representation evidently shown as Lear is adorned in a massive crown, dressed in a fur coat and instructs his daughters and courtiers to kiss his crown and the ground at his feet. Elliot's use of costuming is a form of textual integrity he adopts, accentuating the theme of blindness by representing Lear's dress in elaborate and ostentatious robes as a means of boosting his ego and attracting attention. It is the timeless values of responsibility which allows the play to be read and received through the numerous centuries.The hamartia emerges when Lear makes the erroneous decision of dividing the kingdom based...

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