This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Kurosawa's Ran, Shakespeare's King Lear, And Man's Self Imposed Cycle Of Folly

4701 words - 19 pages

The plays of William Shakespeare have long been an inspiration for filmmakers from the very beginnings of the art of film, to modern adaptations such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Scotland, PA. In this case, though the events, scenes, philosophies and characters are rearranged and re-coded, other literary elements and influences circulate throughout, and the director definitely ingrains the film with his own ethos, Akira Kurosawa's Ran is the ultimate in Shakespeare adaptation to film.The tragedy King Lear, however, is only one of several influencing elements on the film and Ran is by no means to be considered a retelling of the play. In fact, the original inspiration for the film came through Kurosawa's notion to invert the legend of Motonari Mori, whose three sons are admired in Japan as the ideal of family loyalty (Goodwin 196). Later he recognized the similarities between the story he was crafting and the play and basically, to use a horrible pun, 'ran' with it. Kurosawa said himself of King Lear; "I had no wish for a literal transposition. I looked mainly for perspective" (Grilli).Ran is certainly not the first to adapt King Lear to the big screen. Along with the Olivier film viewed in class, the bar was set with Peter Brook's "bleak existential tale of meaningless violence in a cold, empty universe" and Grigori Kozintsev's interpretation, described as "a Christian-Marxist story of redemption and renewal" (Jorgens 236-37). All of these follow the Shakespeare original much more closely than does Ran, though they are still able to focus on different elements within the play and be entirely different in tone and style.By the time Akira Kurosawa made his attempt, he had already been in the film industry for decades and had seen his share of ups and downs. He had enjoyed much success in the 1950's and into the 60's with such internationally acclaimed films as The Seven Samurai, Rashomon and Yojimbo. These three, especially, have been imitated several times including such films as A Fistfull of Dollars and The Magnificent Seven. The excellent Throne of Blood, or Spider Web Castle, an interpretation of Macbeth, was Kurosawa's first attempt at Shakespeare adaptation. In the 70's his critical acclaim and popularity dropped and his life nearly ended with a suicide attempt 1971. Kurosawa began writing the screenplay for Ran in somewhere between 1975 and 1978 and it continued to evolve over the years. The film easily could have never been made. Getting the necessary funds took years and was finally accomplished when French producer Serge Silberman came aboard and was able to negotiate a budget of $10.5 million dollars. It ended up costing over $11 million, making it the most expensive Japanese film in history at the time. Thankfully, his 1980 film Kagemusha was a success and restored some faith in Kurosawa in the eyes of the studios.The film was entirely storyboarded by Kurosawa himself in the form of paintings. In fact these ended up being vital as...

Find Another Essay On Kurosawa's Ran, Shakespeare's King Lear, and Man's Self-Imposed Cycle of Folly

Shakespeare's King Lear - Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear

952 words - 4 pages The Characters of Goneril and Cordelia in King Lear   Nothing makes a story like a good villain, or in this case, good villainess. They are the people we love to hate and yearn to watch burn. Goneril, of Shakespeare’s King Lear, is no exception. Her evils flamed from the very beginning of the play with her lack of sincerity in professing her love for her father: "Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than

Importance of Self Knowledge and Forgiveness in King Lear

1214 words - 5 pages The importance of self-knowledge and forgiveness is strikingly obvious in the play King Lear. If we accept that the two characters most lacking in self-knowledge are Lear and Gloucester, we can examine how the importance of this quality for them is shown in the play. Whilst these two characters lack self-knowledge, the world around them quickly deteriorates. As a result of their lack of insight, evil is given space to breed and take over, and

Shakespeare's King Lear

1753 words - 7 pages Shakespeare's King Lear is known as one of his greatest tragedies. The story is full of misfortune, deception and death. The story also contains two plots, a main plot with King Lear, and a subplot with a character referred to as Gloucester. The main plot and subplot in King Lear may have minor differences but the two main characters of each plot share the same fundamental theme of blindness. The theme of a story is the main subject or idea the

William Shakespeare's King Lear

1465 words - 6 pages William Shakespeare's King Lear In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear,the issue of sight on many levels is a recurring theme. Throughout the play Shakespeare shows that sight does not just come from the eyes. It is shown through the characters of Lear, Gloucester and how they compare to each other. Lear’s character is one that never learns what it means to see without ones eyes. Lear’s sight is hazed

William Shakespeare's King Lear

1641 words - 7 pages William Shakespeare's King Lear The locations in Shakespeare’s King Lear fall into three categories: inside a court, out in nature, and in-between nature and civilization. Lear himself also wavers between three states: sanity, senility, and the fine line between the two. These states of consciousness relate directly to the scenes’ locations. However, Lear’s insanity is not the fault of his location in the world; for the most part, he has

Action and Observation in Shakespeare's King Lear

2386 words - 10 pages Action and Observation in King Lear        Auden once asserted that Shakespearean tragedy is necessarily parabolic, pertaining to the only myth that Christianity possesses: that of the 'unrepentant thief'. We as the spectators are thus implicated in the action since each of us 'is in danger of re-enacting [this story] in his own way'.1 The sufferings of the hero could be our own sufferings, whereas in Greek tragedy, such a notion is

plotlear Parallel Plots of Shakespeare's King Lear

1926 words - 8 pages The Parallel Plots of Shakespeare's King Lear          Many works of literature contain parallel plots in which similar actions taken by various characters precipitate identical results.  Upon careful examination, it is evident that “such plots exist in Shakespeare's play King Lear with the deaths of King Lear, Cordelia, Edmund, and Goneril, among others” (Curry 17).  The betrayal of a commitment to an authority figure is the cause behind

The Dysfunctional Family of Shakespeare's King Lear

2868 words - 11 pages The Dysfunctional Family of King Lear        One of the reasons why Shakespeare is so thoroughly read today is because of his ability to portray human nature so accurately through his characters.  Shakespeare's play, King Lear shows us that humans are treacherous and selfish.  We can also relate to the play because of the family issues that Shakespeare incorporates throughout the work.  Lear's family is definitely a dysfunctional one

Analysis of William Shakespeare's King Lear

982 words - 4 pages In King Lear, William Shakespeare predominantly uses the two broad settings. These are the outdoor world and the indoor world. Inside the confines of walls it is Lear who holds power to do as he pleases, but outside the borders of brick and mortar, the very same man is at the mercy of Nature. Human hearts respond with hardness and devaluing ones self when given no love. Lear is one such character who due to family circumstances relies on his

Comparing Lear and Gloucester in Shakespeare's King Lear

1928 words - 8 pages      In Shakespeare's classic tragedy, King Lear, there are several characters who do not see the reality of their situation. Two such characters are Lear and Gloucester. Both characters exhibit a blindness to the world around them. Lear does not see clearly the truth of his daughters mentions, while Gloucester is also blinded by Edmond's treachery. This failure to see reality leads to Lear's intellectual blindness, which is his insanity, and

The protagonist's attainment of self-knowledge shines through the darkness in Nino Ricci's Lives of the Saints and Shakespeare's King Lear

1929 words - 8 pages Tragedies, be they modern or renaissance, rarely manifest a positive nature that transcends the bleakness of their character. The protagonist’s attainment of self-knowledge shines through the darkness in Nino Ricci’s Lives of the Saints and Shakespeare’s King Lear. The tragedy evolves from the beginning and reaches its apex, resulting in the protagonist’s acquisition of self-recognition and consequently outshines the

Similar Essays

King Lear's Folly In Shakespeare's King Lear

1227 words - 5 pages King Lear's Folly    In Shakespeare's King Lear, the actions of King Lear and of his daughters bring ruin and chaos to England. Social structures crumble, foreign invaders threaten the land, and, in a distinctly non-Hollywood ending, almost everyone dies tragically. The outlook is very bleak, as many of the problems are left unresolved at the end of the play: There is no one in line to assume sovereignty, and justice and virtue have not

Transformation Of Lear In Shakespeare's King Lear

1714 words - 7 pages : resentment, regret, recognition, acceptance and admittance, guilt, redemption, and optimism. Shakespeare identifies King Lear as a contemptuous human being who is purified through his suffering into some sort of god. The first stage of Lear’s transformation is resentment. At the start of the play it is made quite clear that Lear is a proud, impulsive, hot-tempered old man. He is so self-centered that he simply cannot fathom being criticized

Analysis Of Shakespeare's King Lear

1125 words - 5 pages , Shakespeare clearly asserts that human nature is eitherentirely good, or entirely evil. Some characters experience atransformative phase, where by some trial or ordeal their natureis profoundly changed. We shall examine Shakespeare's stand onhuman nature in King Lear by looking at specific characters inthe play: Cordelia who is wholly good, Edmund who is whollyevil, and Lear whose nature is transformed by the realization ofhis folly and his descent into

Shakespeare's King Lear Suffering Of Cordelia In King Lear

1503 words - 6 pages The tragedy of Shakespeare’s King Lear is made far more tragic and painful by the presence and suffering of the king's youngest daughter, Cordelia. While our sympathy for the king is somewhat restrained by his brutal cruelty towards others, there is nothing to dampen our emotional response to Cordelia's suffering. Nothing, that is, at first glance. Harley Granville-Barker justifies her irreconcilable fate thus: "the tragic truth about life to