Saturday, May 3, 2008

50 Greatest Books - King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's King Lear is magnificent, appalling, soaring, banal, cruel, tender, funny and complex; the virtuous are punished, justice is rarely served (and lawyers are unloved). Its scope is so demanding that it's virtually impossible to stage and its end is simply shattering - in other words, it's very much like life. (from the article)

Shakespeare (whoever he may have been) wrote lots of plays. Any of them could be classed as a great book. But who chose King Lear for this list? I wonder if the Shakespeare Geek had anything to do with this choice? He frequently says that King Lear is his favourite play. But it definitely is NOT my choice of a great Play. I don't think I have read it or seen it on stage.

If I were choosing, I would go with the most famous or the most easily recognized. And those would have to be either Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet. Just as long as it is not Macbeth. I HATE Macbeth.

Anyway, better read the article quick because by next Friday you will have to PAY to read it.


Duane said...

But how could you equate "famous" or "most easily recognized" with "greatest"? Wouldn't that mean that a list of "greatest movies" would have to include things like Shrek?

Your description of Lear in the first paragraph is accurate (and, actually, very good by the way). But then you say you've never seen nor even read it? Then how did you come to those conclusions?


P.S. - I try very hard not to choose "favourite" plays of Shakespeare, and tend to write more on *not* having a favourite than on picking one. What I've more likely said is that I think Lear is the best play. Not the same thing.

Duane said...

Oops, I just realized that your first paragraph is the first paragraph from the story. I guess that answers my question :).

Historia said...

Apologies for the confusion. I will italicise all the article paragraphs that I print so the readers can tell the difference between the article and my comments.