An Essay on King Lear by S. L. Goldberg

By S. L. Goldberg

Professor Goldberg bargains a studying of King Lear that avoids the pitfall possible choices of idealism, moralism, absurdism, and redemptionist sentimentality. He sees the play as a problem to our conscience and our want for a sense of typical justice, yet as undercutting all effortless solutions. That it doesn't let them is certainly one of its details. The essay strains a constructing reaction to the entire of the motion because it proceeds, making no untimely judgments. It springs from a thought of experience of what a poetic drama is and the way it really works: particularly the way it provides 'character' and the way the perspectives of the characters relate to the entire purpose of the play and the author's personal imaginative and prescient of lifestyles. Many readers are inclined to imagine this the main passable test they've got but learn to do justice to this nice play; simply because Professor Goldberg responds to it with intelligence and sensitivity, simply because he doesn't impose a ready-made that means on it, and since he has considered Shakespearean drama in a fashion which makes this short ebook a unique degree within the background of feedback considering the fact that Bradley and Wilson Knight.

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If you have poison for me, I will drink it. I know you do not love me; for your sisters Have, as I do remember, done me wrong: You have some cause, they have not. COR. No cause, no cause. , 72-5) LEAR In the face of what he feels, how else could love declare itself except by that denial? The relevant truth does not consist merely in being true to one's conscious sense of oneself, nor merely in uttering words justly apportioned to facts and rights and duties as though these were entirely external to oneself.

P. 36. KING LEAR the essential process of character-creation is a prismatic breaking-up of the comprehensive vision of the play; and each element of vision, so separated out, is in itself a unique illumination, finding its individual fulfilment in character. 1 This makes an important point - or rather, it suggests it, for Sewell's terms are suspiciously scientific. What with 'prisms' and 'elements', the 'comprehensive vision of the play5 also comes to seem a rather fixed and static thing, as though it somehow existed prior to, or in some way above, its realization in and by the play - just as a character's 'nature' seemed a rather fixed and static thing, as though it were merely one, definably 'individualized' element in the author's 'vision'.

Clearly there is something wrong with a man who requires love to display itself on demand; on the other side, however, there is also something wrong with a heart that answers only to the demand rather than to the need (or the love) behind it. For need it is; and I think Coleridge was essentially right in his account of it. He notes in Cordelia 'something of disgust at the ruthless hypocrisy of her sisters, some little faulty admixture of pride and sulleness'; and in Lear a strange yet by no means unnatural, mixture of selfishness, sensibility, and habit of feeling derived from and fostered by the 23 KING LEAR particular rank and usages of the individual; the intense desire to be intensely beloved, selfish, and yet characteristic of the selfishness of a loving and kindly nature - a feeble selfishness, self-supportless and leaning for all pleasure on another's breast; the selfish craving after a sympathy with a prodigal disinterestedness, contradicted by its own ostentation and the mode and nature of its claims; .

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