Simon Palfrey

Jul 31, 2023

Shakespeare's "King Lear" Part 2: Characters and Questions

A Discussion with Simon Palfrey

New Books Network 2023

Part 2 explores the way that Shakespeare revised the original Lear story and the way he revised his own play to create a uniquely wrenching form of tragedy. Professor Simon Palfrey also discusses the literary and generic traditions that inspired the play, showing how the central characters can be interpreted very differently depending on the literary lens through which we see them. Finally, we focus on the recurring concept of “nothing” in the play, watching how King Lear strips everything away from its characters to reveal what might lie at the bare foundation of human life.

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