Sunday, February 8, 2009
29. King Lear
King Lear by Shakespeare
This is not going to be a review like my others. I read an English translation of King Lear published by Spark Notes. So why did I read this? Later this month I will be reading Christopher Moore's latest book Fool, which is a take on Shakespeare's King Lear. I figured I'd enjoy Moore's book more if I knew the plot of the original.
So, I've read plenty of Shakespeare in the original text and have no great liking for reading Middle English. I've also seen several Shakespeare plays at the Stratford Festival and once one of those Shakespeare in the Park things. I feel I've done my time with Shakespeare. Unfortunately King Lear is not one I'm familiar with so I decided I'd read and enjoy it in normal English.
The translation I read was very easy to read. It was written in proper prose using everyday language which made it a delight compared to struggling with the original language. It is a very strange tale and at first I couldn't decide if it was a Tragedy or a Comedy as everybody in it is so stupid but as the deaths began to toll I understood it was a Tragedy.
I have to say I found the plot very over the top and unbelievable. I thought Cordelia was a stupid woman who could have prevented the whole horrible mess by opening her mouth in the first scene and King Lear is insane and a raving lunatic the whole play. I can see the potential in a parody of this and look forward to reading Moore's Fool.
The only two Shakespeare plays I really appreciate are Macbeth and Hamlet but I'm up to reading others in the future as long as it is an English translation.