King Lear critic quotes

Arnold Kettle-society -in King Lear, Shakespeare reveals from the start a society in turmoil
Frank Kermode-crafty – Lear is the craftiest as well as the most tremendous of the Shakespeare tragedies
Samuel Johnson-G’s eyes bit the extrusion of Gloucester’s eyes seems an act too horrid to be endured by dramatic exhibition, and must compel the mind to relieve its stress by increduity
Arnold Kettle- world in which – Lear is a world in which the old order is decadent and the new people unprincipled
Arnold Kettle- people and order -a conflict between “those who accept order(Gloucester, Kent) and the “new people, the individualists”
Arnold Kettle- summary of Lear story – the Lear story is deep and complex
Nahum Tate- what date and how did change story -1681- Lear ending too gloomy- devised happier ending where Lear does not die and there is a romance between Edgar and Cordelia
Joseph Wharton- Gloucester plot -unlikely and distracting
Joseph Wharton- G+ R -Goneril and Regan’s savagery too diabolical to be credible
Charles Lamb -thought the play was unactable
DJ Enright-suffering -the principle characters are not those who act,but those who suffer
LC Knights- exposure -exposure is the very essence of King Lear
Harold Bloom the descent from Monarch to ‘unaccomodated man’ thus conveys most potently man’s fragility, fallibility and fatality
Cunningham- Lear’s madness and Gloucester’s blindness Gloucester will find “insight through blindness” and Lear “wisdom through madness in the play’s twinned key moral provocations”
Elton- Gods Cordelia’s death and Gloucester’s blindness “are the actions of an upside-down providence in an apparently deranged universe”
LC Knights- human race the play is a microcosm of the human race
William R Elton- last act the last act shatters the foundations of faith itself
Jan Kolt- what Lear is about King Lear is about the disintegration of the world
George Bandes-Cordelia the living emblem of womanly dignity
George Bandes- play as a whole titanic tragedy of human life
Samuel Johnson- tragedy of play a play in which the wicked prosper and the virtuous miscarry-a representation of the common events of human life
Arnold Kettle-Shakespeare as a writer shakespeare was a realistic writer who presents us with actual situations..based on particular observations and insight
Jonathon Dollimore- Lear what makes Lear the person he is-or was- is not kingly essence, but authority and his family
Jonathan Dollimore- what play is about power, property and inheritance
Coppelia Kahn- feminist approach play about male anxiety- Lear goes mad because he is unable to accept his dependence on the feminine, his daughters
Kathleen Mcklusklie- plays feminine viewpoint “anti-feminine play- presents women as the primal sin of lust
Kathleen Mcklusklie- family family relations are fixed and determined-any movement within them is portrayed as a destructive reversal of the rightful order
Kathleen Mcklusklie- conclusion must be made to submit (Cordelia) or destroyed (Goneril and Regan)
BK Stuart- Lear Lear would rather have flattery than the truth
William Hazlitt- Lear Lear’s blindness to everything but the dictates of his passions or affections, that produces all his misfortunes
Charles Lamb- acting of Lear to see Lear acted… has nothing in but what is painful and disgusting
Hal Holbrook- Lear as a father he has clung steadfastly to the conviction that he is a loving father, despite all evidence on the contrary
Hal Holbrook- Lear’s intelligence Lear is not a man of conscious intellect
Simon Wardle (2014)- knights and effect on Lear’s suffering if Lear’s knights are presented as unruly and rebellious then Goneril and Regan’s criticisms can be justified
Simon Wardle-effect of knights on ending scene Folio version (with knights) allows the scene to be staged as the celebrated return of a king from exile
Simon Wardle- servants and master servants mirror the authority of their master
Samuel Johnson- Cordelia’s death I was many years ago so shocked by Cordelia’s death, that I know not whether I ever endured to read again the last scenes of the play till I undertook to revise them as an editor
Warton- Edmund and Edgar the plot of Edmund against his brother destroys the unity of the fable
Kenneth Tynan- lack of sympathy for Lear Lay to rest the archaic notion that Lear is automatically entitled to our sympathy because he is a king who suffers
Dr Johnson- Cordelia’s death contrary to the natural ideas of justice
Trevor Nunn- Shakespeare’s tragedy Shakespeare concludes that life isn’t like a morality play
Trevor Nunn- Lear and Gods Lear sees himself as a conduit of the Gods
Trevor Nunn- Edmund evidence of a solitary shocking atheist intelligence
A. C Bradley- Lear’s death dying in unbearable joy
Susan Bruce- Lear’s death Lear’s ghost departs with the sense that everything has fallen apart
Susan Bruce- Lear’s actions they are a catalyst rather than a cause
Susan Bruce- Edmund We are offered an insight into to Edmund that renders him more complex than he otherwise might be
Susan Bruce- appeal of Edmund Edmund appeals to a meritocratic ideal
Yeats- Lear as a history less as a history of one man and his sorrows than as the history of a whole evil time
Jonathan Bate- humanity and social class humanity is best represented by the more lowly characters
Jonathan Bate- lessons of play warnings against the temptations of absolutism
Simon Mendes- private and public how the personal and the political are inextricably linked
Simon Mendes- Lear and daughters He doesn’t have good relationships with his daughters
Simon Russell Beale- scene with Lear and Cordelia the scene when Lear wakes out of sleep and sees Cordelia is a very angry scene
Simon Mendes- Lear’s golddiggers Once the money stops and they don’t have a social rank, people abandon him
Simon Russell Beale- beauty There is a beauty in the play that has to be acknowledged
Simon Russell Beale- redemption Without cruelty and rage and violence there is no redemption
Anne Marie Taylor- Lear’s madness The most remarkable aspect of the drama is the central figure’s restoration of sanity at the end of the play
Anne Marie Taylor-structure The structure of the play is wild and wandering
Hazlitt- family Shakespeare showed a firm faith in filial piety
Swinburne (1880)- pity pity and mercy are words without living meaning
Wilson Knight- Lear’s death (comedy means) Lear is not even allowed to die tragically
Wilson Knight- tragedy within play The tragedy is purposeless and unreasonable
Dollimore- criticism of Edgar and Albany try to recuperate their society in just those terms the play is subjected to skeptical interrogation
Leonard Tennenhouse- what play is about (social class) reaffirming oppressive structures
Michael mangan- love trial language Lear, Goneril and Regan are playing an eleborate language game
Michael mangan- love trial and nature of scene public nature cannot be stressed too much
Michael mangan- public lang in love trial the participants are speaking the language appropriate to rituals of state
Michael Mangan- Cordelia criticism Lear’s sens of rejection is not without foundation
Michael Mangan- evil character’s speech the discrepancy between what they will say to Lear’s face and what they will say behind his back is significant
Micahel Mangan- what Lear story is about men and women displaced from their usual identities in society
Michael Mangan- heath a picture of a world turned upside down
Michael Mangan- Edgar Edgar is a chameleon figure
Michael Mangan- Edgar and Edmund comprise reversed images of each other
Michael Mangan- Shakespeare’s landscapes non-illusionistic
Michael Mangan- Edgar as hero Edgar becomes a martial hero
Michael Mangan- goodness goodness can only survive in disguise
Michael Mangan- what Lear wanted from love trial the position without the responsibility
Michael Mangan- Lear when realises poverty more sympathetic and impressive figure than at any other point in the play
Michael Mangan- Edmund end decides to do one good deed before he dies
Shelley- 1821- appraisal of Lear the most perfect specimen of the dramatic art in the existing world
Tolstoy-characters- Edmund, Edgar, Gloucester superfluous characters of villain Edmund and the unlifelike Gloucester and Edgar
George Orwell- Edgar Edgar is a superfluous character
Faguet- criticism of King Lear as play almost anybody, no matter who, could write it
Granville Barker- opposition to Charles Lamb King Lear was meant to be acted
AC Bradley- setting the warm castle is in hell, the storm-swept heath a sanctuary
Enid Welsford- family the breaking of ties of close blood, is so abnormal and unnatural that it must be a symptom of some convulsion in the frame of things
John Holloway-ending the idea of being brought back to rectitude is what the play ends with
C.J Sisson- justice there is in fact poetic justice enough in King Lear- Evil is destroyed.
AC Bradley- Shakespeare’s stance on evil Shakespeare opposes the presence and influence of evil by the presence of human virtue, fidelity and self-sacrificial love
Enid Welsford- good stupid Shakespeare tends to give more intellectual ability to his sinners than to his saints
Enid Welsford- Edmund Edmund is so shrewd and witty that he almost wins our sympathy for his unabashed cruelty
Barbara Everett- Lear the play moves us by sympathy for Lear
John Holloway- play’s relevance throughout history has life and meaning for all times
Wilson Knight- Lear as a child Lear is mentally a child, in passion a titan
Philip Allan literary guide- Albany the last lines should go to Albany
Philip Allan literary guide- Albany’s development metamorphosis from nonentity to man of integrity and inner strength
Wilson Knight- religious view of play this play is purgatory
Wilson Knight- Edmund purely selfish, soulless and in this respect, bestial
Wilson Knight- Gods to Gloucester The gods are to Gloucester kind
Sam Mendes- Cordelia’s response in love trial as much a political act of rebellion as a personal one
Wilson Knight- comedy From the start, the situation has a comic aspect
Wilson Knight- Lear as a father He understands the nature of none of his children
Wilson Knight-Edgar’s role in relation to fool’s Edgar succeeds the fool as the counterpart to the breaking sanity of Lear
Wilson Knight- Edmund’s death Edmund’s fate is nobly tragic
Wilson Knight- Lear’s reaction to Cordelia’s death underlying tension in Lear- between an absolute knowledge that Cordelia s dead and an absolute inability to accept it
Wilson Knight- Lear’s death no mitigation in Lear’s death, hence no mitigation in ending of play
Martha Burns- Goneril and Regan compliment Goneril and Regan are formidable
Hudson- description of Goneril and Regan personifications of ingratitude
Arnold Kettle- Cordelia in first scene at the beginning, it is Cordelia who is the most heroic one
Harley Granville Parker- criticism of Cordelia Cordelia has more than a touch of her father in her
N Brooke- blame of Lear Lear’s willful folly in A1 Sc1 is the fault which brings the vengeful heavens literally crashing about him
Andrew Hadfield- Lear’s potential The play does not represent a king who is ineffective or unimpressive, but one who has not taken enough care of his kingdom
RA Peck- Edmund If Shakespeare does not expect us to approve of Edmund, he certainly takes no pains in preventing us from doing so
Arnold Kettle- Gloucester criticism moral laxity
Robert West- overly complimentary edmund Edmund still has a share in being
Moseley- eye gauging Gratuitous cruelty
Thorndike- Goneril and Regan Inhuman sisters
Race Capet- Edmund and society Edmund’s very existence as a bastard indicts the order the rejects him
Coppelia Kahn- shakespeare anti-fem- cordelia Cordelia’s return is a restoration of the patriarchy
Alexander Legget- Poor tom compared to Edgar Poor Tom is a more vivid and recognisable character than Edgar
AC Bradley- Edgar Edgar’s christian values are commented on