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Sunday, April 11

  1. page Critical Essay 1 edited ... Clare Cross is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in modern drama. In this essay she discusses the…
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    Clare Cross is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in modern drama. In this essay she discusses the moral development of Lear in Bond's play.
    In his play Lear, Edward Bond focuses on the moral development of the title character, a king in ancient Britain. Although Lear begins the playas an old man, his behavior is that of a child; he is totally absorbed in himself and his own security and needs. He is literally building a wall to keep others out. As the play progresses, however, Lear loses his position of power and is forced to move outside of his self-absorbed sphere and into the society he helped to create. As he suffers along with his former subjects, Lear begins to mature, realizing that others are human beings with needs and desires of their own. For the first time, Lear truly sees other people, and this leads him to recognize the consequences of his own actions and to take responsibility for what he has done. His moral growth, however, is only complete when he turns his understanding into action. It is only then that he becomes a morally mature human being.
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    leaving wood min the mud
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    to their enemies I"enemies!" Immediately after
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    his people
    What

    What
    Lear's wall
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    my name, no-venerateno -- venerate it." Lappin
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    at everyone's call"call. My daughters
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    you! You go"go! It's you
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    killed the child-youchild -- you must burn
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    daughters' actions, but he denies
    It is in his prison cell, after the Gravedigger's Boy's Ghost appears to him and brings him his daughters as young children, that Lear begins to see a connection between his daughters and himself. In the courtroom he says, "My daughters have been murdered and these monsters have taken their place."
    Yet when Bodice and Fontanelle appear as young girls, Lear shows that they are, in fact, his daughters. The apparitions sit next to Lear with their heads on his knees, and he strokes their hair. When they finally leave, he asks them not to go. At this point, Lear begins to see what he has done, saying, "I killed so many people and never looked at one of their faces." When the Ghost, already deteriorating, asks to stay with Lear, Lear responds for the first time with real compassion: "Yes, yes, Poor boy. . . . I'll hold you. We'll help each other. Cry while I sleep, and I'll cry and watch while you sleep.. . The sound of the human voice will comfort us." Lear recognizes not only that the Ghost can help him but also that he can help the Ghost. Later, when walking with the other prisoners, Lear expresses even more concern, saying, "I don't want to live except for the boy. Who'd look after him?" In his relationship with the Ghost, Lear also begins to develop a sense of his own responsibility, saying of the Ghost: "I did him a great wrong once, a very great wrong. He's never blamed me. I must be kind to him now." Lear is now moving toward moral maturity, toward the recognition that he needs to practice compassion, responsibility and action.
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    anything so beautiful"beautiful." Unlike the
    Lear's desire to finally see is followed almost immediately by his blinding. Scharine quoted Bond as saying, "blindness is a dramatic metaphor for insight. That is why Gloucester, Oedipus, and Tiresias are blind." Once blinded, Lear is released into the countryside. Near the wall, he meets the Farmer, the Farmer's wife, and their son, all of whom describe how the lives they had known were destroyed by Lear's wall. Lear now sees that he has harmed not only isolated individuals but all of his society, and he is horrified. Falling on his knees, in a posture that asks forgiveness, Lear begs the Farmer's Son not to go into the army, but his efforts are fruitless. As Scharine pointed out, "The society that Lear created has been perfected. Cordelia's subjects are socially moralized and go to their consumption by the social order without questioning." Lear cannot unmake the society he has created, and he sees the depths of his guilt.
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    anyone away."
    Lear is not only taking people in, however; he is also speaking out against the government he helped to create. Lear's former Councilor appears, telling him he must end his public life: "In future you will not speak in public or involve yourself in any public affairs. Your visitors will be vetted by the area military authorities. All these people must go." Knowing that he cannot defeat Cordelia's regime, Lear despairs. He is trapped. "There's a wall everywhere," he says. "I'm buried alive in a wall. Does this suffering and misery last forever? I know nothing, I can do nothing. I am nothing."
    After Cordelia tells Lear that he will be tried and executed, however, Lear is again able to move beyond himself and his own despair to his final act, an attempt to dig up and destroy the wall he created. In their book, Playwrights' Progress, Colin Chambers and Mike Prior saw Lear's final act as "so random and so futile that it seems an almost meaningless choice except in terms of the individual conscience." For Chambers and Prior, "Lear's final nod towards the continuing existence of a will to resist is . . . a gesture."
    (view changes)
    1:08 am

Saturday, September 13

Friday, April 25

  1. msg Who's Charlie? message posted Who's Charlie? Charlie's a tricky figure to place, but if we look at his actions throughout the play, we can ident…
    Who's Charlie?
    Charlie's a tricky figure to place, but if we look at his actions throughout the play, we can identify certain parallels:

    first off, he's willy's neighbor, and the only friend willy the audience meets. This corresponds to King Lear's Gloucester.

    he throughout the play attempts to give constructive criticism, much like the fool does in King Lear, and the Gravedigger's Boy does in Lear.

    He is willing to employ Willy, even though he must be aware that Willy does not have what it takes in the changing conditions of their society. This, in a way, mirrors Stella's attempt to integrate Blanche into her environment. The failure of both is a further similarity.
    11:17 pm
  2. msg What's distinctly American about this play? message posted What's distinctly American about this play? As we've discussed in class, one of the central themes that runs throughout is the idea of the &quo…
    What's distinctly American about this play?
    As we've discussed in class, one of the central themes that runs throughout is the idea of the "American Dream". What makes this "dream" of success inherently American is the conviction that one can start with just a few pence to then become a successful man (or, in later years, one included a woman).

    This idea that our reward is proportional to our input is no where as evident as in the US, therefore people still today label this play as "distinctly American".

    Maybe in part it's also because of the way Willy Loman was ABLE to live, and survive, as naive as he was, for as long as he did. In some places, the harsh realities of the societal make-up make it impossible for that to happen. I'm thinking of places with less wiggle room, less fuzzy area where people like Biff could just go off to ranches, yet still come home and live off his parents every year.
    10:13 pm

Thursday, April 24

  1. page Lear edited ... Another short commentary--some thoughts on allusions and other literary connections included …
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    Another short commentary--some thoughts on allusions and other literary connections included
    http://www.geocities.com/christophermulrooney/criteria/id124.html
    I know this is King Lear -- but for you die-hard English types...you'll appreciate this. There's even a photo of an Einstein-ish Lear surrounded by nasty daughters from Bond's version at the tail end of this pdf study guide:
    http://www.hofstra.edu/PDF/DD_lear-study_guide-s.pdf
    And one more bit of blather from my POV...Isn't there a bit of life imitating art if you see things from the perspective of this reporter on the American political scene? I'm not telling you how to believe (or vote for that matter), but check out the writing here--first for the bit on the American Democrats as Greek tragedy restaged, then the theories that seem to come from a standpoint that asserts if you play fair, you'll lose, and then how will you change the world into a fair place? Anyone besides me see the irony -- not to mention the commonality with Edward Bond?!
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/anatole_kaletsky/article3803520.ece
    http://www.hofstra.edu/PDF/DD_lear-study_guide-s.pdf

    And more food for thought on the limitations of Shakespeare's original -- a link to George Orwell's essay "Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool." Use the Find tool to locate the section excerpted in your student edition of Lear ("One is the mood of disgust in which Lear repents, as it were, for having been a king, and grasps for the first time the rottenness of formal justice and vulgar morality. The other is the mood of impotent fury in which he wreaks imaginary revenges upon those who have wronged him." [...] Only at the end does he realise, as a sane man, that power, revenge and victory are not worthwhile.")
    http://www.george-orwell.org/Lear,_Tolstoy_and_the_Fool/0.html
    (view changes)
    6:42 am

Sunday, April 20

  1. msg Is there any point to the violence? message posted Is there any point to the violence? well of course there's always the need to think back to the time period when this was first produce…
    Is there any point to the violence?
    well of course there's always the need to think back to the time period when this was first produced. Did the violence then engender a different reaction than it would today if it were performed on stage?

    in one sense it most definitely alienates the audience, as they can't relate as easily to the characters. Even though each of the characters (even the minor ones not even designated w/ a name) act out in ways in which an individual may see himself mirrored, it is the ACTION that one identifies with, not the actor on stage. This is due to the violence that falls one fell swoop after another... there's no respite, and so even today, reading it makes it difficult to "place myself in the main role's shoes".
    9:40 am

Monday, April 14

  1. page Lear edited ... Another short commentary--some thoughts on allusions and other literary connections included …
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    Another short commentary--some thoughts on allusions and other literary connections included
    http://www.geocities.com/christophermulrooney/criteria/id124.html
    And more food for thought on the limitations of Shakespeare's original -- a link to George Orwell's essay "Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool." Use the Find tool to locate the section excerpted in your student edition of Lear ("One is the mood of disgust in which Lear repents, as it were, for having been a king, and grasps for the first time the rottenness of formal justice and vulgar morality. The other is the mood of impotent fury in which he wreaks imaginary revenges upon those who have wronged him." [...] Only at the end does he realise, as a sane man, that power, revenge and victory are not worthwhile.")
    http://www.george-orwell.org/Lear,_Tolstoy_and_the_Fool/0.html

    (view changes)
    2:32 am
  2. msg Robert "Lear" Mugabe? message posted Robert "Lear" Mugabe? Sometimes the things Lear says in Act I remind me of the words (propaganda?) spewed out by Robert M…
    Robert "Lear" Mugabe?
    Sometimes the things Lear says in Act I remind me of the words (propaganda?) spewed out by Robert Mugabe over the past 28 years. The current situation in Zimbabwe certainly seems parallel to that of the people in Lear's land -- out-of-control superinflation (100,000%!); a paralyzed economy (80% of the population in poverty); violence threatened and sometimes imposed against those opposed to the current regime; forced land takeovers, genocide, and home demolitions (but justified in the name of "restoring order" or urban renewal), dramatic food shortages, high AIDS infection rates (more than 200 deaths a day), unemployment.

    But if life imitates art (as I do believe it sometimes does), then I must also be concerned that what comes AFTER Mugabe, especially if he is deposed by any sort of violent reaction, might devolve into more of the same.

    What are you thinking? Does the message of the play remind you of any current or past world situations? Does Bond have prophetic powers? CAN we learn?
    2:20 am
  3. page Lear edited Lear by Edward Bond ... isn't it? But I'm hoping that by now you've decided this is a very wo…

    Lear by Edward Bond
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    isn't it? But I'm hoping that by now you've decided this is a very worthwhile text for study. There's a great deal of craftsmanship to admire, even if the subject matter is confusing or uncomfortable. Don't give up. You can make something of this!
    If you're looking for some guidance, check out these three guides.
    Critical essay 1
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    1:29 am
  4. page Lear edited ... A director's take: http://www.theatre-contemporain.net/spectacles/learbond/presentationus.htm…
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    A director's take:
    http://www.theatre-contemporain.net/spectacles/learbond/presentationus.htm
    Bond's Lear can be seen as dialectical in structure. For more on this, see the first part of Patricia Hern's commentary in your student editions of Lear (pgs. xxiv-xxv) and/or go to this site for some rudimentary ideas about dialectics, particularly as it relates to Hegel's ideas, that is, the art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments. (Dictionary.com's definition: The process especially associated with Hegel of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis.)
    http://www.wpunj.edu/cohss/philosophy/courses/hegel/dialectx.htm

    Review of the 2005 production at The Crucible Theatre:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/southyorkshire/content/articles/2005/03/25/entertainment_lear_review_feature.shtml
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    1:27 am

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