Chapter

Sovereignty, Exposure, Theater a Reading of <i>King Lear</i>

Emily Sun

in Succeeding King Lear

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232802
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241163 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823232802.003.0002
Sovereignty, Exposure, Theater a Reading of King Lear

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This chapter dedicates itself to examining the structure of this break in seeing and its relationship to an altered speech. Suffice it to say preliminarily that the task of the spectator — which is the task of succeeding King Lear — is not to repeat again what has happened in the play, but to make a new beginning that breaks with the cycle of tragic repetition. The plot of King Lear is well-known. Writing the play sometime after 1603, between Othello and Macbeth, Shakespeare drew on accounts of a historical Lear with three daughters who reigned in Britain. Intertwined with this plot is a subplot involving Gloucester and his sons. In Lear Shakespeare explores the vexed nature of kingship by turning to a mythical king in the distant past, a “prehistoric” figure whose doings predate the practice of historical record keeping.

Keywords: King Lear; Shakespeare; kingship; sovereignty; plot; Gloucester

Chapter.  28907 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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