Shakespeare's King Lear Research Paper

Length: 15 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Literature Type: Research Paper Paper: #20665882 Related Topics: Marxist Criticism, Crucible, King John, Shakespeare
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Edward bond's lear vs. shakespeare's king lear

Political Potential

Influenced by Betrolt Brecht

Plot: Beginning of Transformation

Marxism in Lear

Governments into Power

Christike Political Figure

Governmental Autocratic Attitudes

Epic Theatre: Political Effect on Audience

Patriarchal Constraints

Cultural Power

Political Repercussions

edward bond's lear Vs. shakespeare's king lear

Lear was a play that was produced back in 1971 and it was not just any play. Lear had three-act and it was created by the British dramatist Edward Bond. Many considered it to be an epic rewrite of William Shakespeare's King Lear which it was indeed. However, some may be unaware that the play was first produced in 1971 and it was done so at the Royal Court Theatre, featuring Harry Andrews who took on the title role. Later on, it was brought back to life ore revived by the Royal Shakespeare Company with Bob Peck, sometime in 1982 and rejuvenated again at the Crucible Theatre, in 2005 at Sheffield, along with Ian MacDiarmid.

Bond, who was considered to be a socialist, was the one making attempts to bring correction to current trends which emphasized on the Shakespeare play as an experience deemed to be artistic in nature, at the expense of more real-world features of social criticism. By putting together a politically effective play from a parallel story, he was more probable to cause individuals to question their society and themselves, instead of merely to have an inspiring artistic experience. As stated by one critic, his plays "are not meant simply to amuse but to aid to bring about some kind of change in society."

In Bond's production, Lear is a paranoid dictator, constructing a wall to keep out imagined "rivals." His daughters Fontanelle and Bodice take extreme measures to rebel against him, bringing about a bloody war. Lear turns into their prisoner and embarks on a voyage of self-revelation. Lear is blinded and haunted by the ghost of a Gravedigger's Youngster, whose sympathy towards the old Monarch led to his killing. Ultimately Lear, after becoming a prophet resonant of Leo Tolstoy, makes a sign toward disassembling the wall he instigated. This gesticulation leads to his death, which provided some kind of hope as an example of practical involvement. The play furthermore attributes a character called Cordelia, wife of the slaughtered Gravedigger's Boy who turns into a Stalinist-type ruler herself.

In the play, Lear was able to features some punishing episodes scenes of violence, consisting of knitting needles being pushed into ones of the character's eardrum. There were also other things such as a bloody on-stage autopsy and a gory instrument which was utilized in sucking out Lear's eyeballs. Nevertheless, it is every so often lyrical and features some tightly packed language that is metaphoric. The play's stress on violence and ruthlessness led to mixed reviews among top faultfinders. Even though some opponents gave a lot of praise for its message against violence, there were others that had its doubts whether the performance was resounding enough to gather the response it wanted from the audience.

Now, going back to the plays roots which started in 1605 when Shakespeare wrote it, was not necessarily a political theme as Bond made his. In Shakespeare play, Lear, King of Britain, in an effort to stay away from future strife, divides his empire among his three daughters. His oldest two, Gonerill (wife of Albany) and Regan (wife of Cornwall), reply to his appeal for a show of love, but Cordelia is not capable to, not desiring to be duplicitous or two faced. In a moment of rage, Lear orders her to be sent away and she goes away to marry the King of France. However, when his consultant Kent makes the attempt to tell Lear he is not doing right, he too is sent away. In the end, the tragedy of Shakespeare's King Lear is for the most part noted for its analytical explanations on the nature of human sorrow and kinship not so much the awareness and optimistic social change that bond was trying to promote. With that's said, transforming Shakespeare's King Lear into a progressive


Political Theater) can encourage consciousness and positive social change.

Political Potential

Shakespeare's literary and cultural legacy is something so deep entrenched that even a honest writer like Bond can neither discharge it nor whole-heartedly receive it. It was obvious that Bond was born into an English working class family with a background in agricultural. He himself reveals how Shakespeare happened to exercise a marvelous impact on his development in life. In an interview he said the following:

"My education really involved of one evening, which was basically prearranged by the school. They took us along to a play at the old Bedford Theatre in Camden Town. We saw Donald Wolft in Macbeth and for the very first time in my life ? I remember this quite distinctly ? I met somebody who was actually talking about my problems, about the life I'd been living, the political society around me."

Bond went on even further to explain his motives for picking Lear especially: "I can only mention that Lear was a piece that was actually standing in my path and I had to find some kind of method get him out of the way"

. Bond was able to look at Lear as the essence of the worst and best in culture that is Western. In 1976, in a talk conversation with Howard Davies Bond said the following in regards to transforming Lear:

We think that two individuals went up the mountain and got things transcribed on tablets, one was Moses and the other one was Shakespeare. He's the sort of great idol of the humanist West. . . . But as a director to conduct, or to methods to work

The audience cannot be expected to be a united, indistinguishable whole; they vary in ethnic group, background, gender etc. over time and through various cultures. Bond actually was not against Shakespeare or his King Lear but in fact admired him very much, but he did not believe that he should be made into this cult hero. He also felt that Shakespeare merely displayed things such as suffering, and that too personal suffering, instead of the travail of the society. Bond had this belief that as a writer a person should have in the least give some hint at a solution.

Influenced by Betrolt Brecht

The research shows that Bond was extremely subjective by Betrolt Brecht likewise in this revision. Likenesses in addition to differences are discernible among King Lear and Lear. Even Though Lear is considered to be a new work, still, a person is able to feel the trail of Shakespeare all through it. The new description of Lear is an attempt by Bond to make a mark of his own in the conventional of the British literary production. It is quite obvious that Bond manages to shows a Marxist Lear, which does make some kind of an attempt at re-describing the power politics of Shakespeare's writing.

Plot: Beginning of Transformation

Lear starts everything with the accidental demise of a member of staff on the wall which the king, Lear, is building very laboriously nearby the country. Lear has arrived at the spot to inspect the work in progress. He out rightly decides to execute the man who is suspected to be accountable for this action of "political sabotage." Bond finds a way of showing how both his daughters, Fontanelle and Bodice, go against this extreme odd death sentence executed by Lear. Neither do they discover any wisdom in the building of the wall. Furthermore, they amenably publicize their decision to get married separately to the Duke of Cornwall and the Duke of North, Lear's sworn rivals. Lear is shattered and shocked at this revelation which is an exposed challenge to his tyrannical authority. However, the circumstance as a final point gets strengthened to the declaration of an open that rakes place among Lear and his military on one side and then there was the daughters and their husbands' military, which were all located on the other.

What is shown right after are circumstances of the sick lusts and evil of the two daughters. Fontanelle and Bodice are Shakespeare's Regan and Goneril, and the condition is very much related to the introductory act of King Lear, where the split of Lear's kingdom exposes the devious nature of the two daughters, Regan and Goneril. An extreme radical change that Bond has put together from Shakespeare is the nonexistence of the loving daughter Cordelia to protect Lear. Now, Cordelia is very much involved in the play, however, she happens to be the wife of the Gravedigger's Boy. The Gravedigger's Boy is the one good character in the drama that is welcoming with Lear. It is clear that Lear lives in the legend that enclosing his country with a wall will in some kind of way bring this protection from his enemies. But instead he…

Sources Used in Documents:


Lear. Directed by Edward Bond. 1971.

Shakespeare, William. "King Lear." 1-256. Waxkeep Publishing, 1603.

Bond, E. (Director). (1971). Lear [Play]


Cite this Document:

"Shakespeare's King Lear" (2014, March 04) Retrieved May 8, 2021, from

"Shakespeare's King Lear" 04 March 2014. Web.8 May. 2021. <>

"Shakespeare's King Lear", 04 March 2014, Accessed.8 May. 2021,

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