Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good and Evil - A Morality Play

My ignorance of Shakespeare and his poetry and plays is IMMENSE.
Thus, I am always especially interested in what those who
DO know his works tell me.
Jolly Ann Ellis, writer-teacher-poet,
gave an excellent talk about Shakespeare's
King Lear to the Shakespeare Study Club.

In Brief

In Britain, King Lear, in old age, chooses to retire and divide up Britain between his three daughters. However, he declares that they must first be wed before being given the land. He asks his daughters the extent of their love for him. The two oldest, Goneril and Regan, both flatter him with praise and are rewarded generously with land and marriage to the Duke of Albany and the Duke of Cornwall, respectively. Lear's youngest and most beloved daughter, Cordelia, refuses to flatter her father, going only so far as to say that she loves him as much as a daughter should. Lear, unjustly enraged, gives her no land.
I remember reading Jane Smiley's novel A Thousand Acres (which I loved) and then seeing the movie. Of course, ignorant as I was (am!), it took awhile before I realized I was reading of a patriarch/king with three daughters who were dependent upon their father's beneficience (or his withholding of same) with a King Lear theme. I thought Smiley's book was very well written and I enjoyed reading it.
Smiley is the not the first to adapt a Shakespeare play and in a way, it is amazing that, knowing so little about the man himself, his influence is so widespread centuries after he lived.
Ah - the Bard!

When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools.
--King lear, Act IV, scene vi


  1. There is a wealth of information about Shakespeare in a new book, The Ignorance Of Shakespeare by John Doherty, published by Eloquent Books an imprint of AEG, New York. The book also shows why Shakespeare has to be considered the true author and not some contemporary such as Oxford, Marlowe, or Bacon. The book is available from Amazon, among other booksellers.

  2. I appreciate the tip about this book (and of course MUST HAVE . . .). I suppose that a Book Addiction qualifies as a Sin - but . . .

    Thanks for your posting!