King Lear: Nature/ Religion

Christian Lexis: pilgrimage, salvation, damnation
Maxwell Christian play about a pagan world
The gods remain inscrutable and disinterested in human affairs
Peter Brook RSC 1962 showed three outcasts on a bare stage – victims of malignant fate in a hostile universe – rags- apocalyptic vision
Oh dear father / it is thy business that I go about
Redemptionist interpretation dominated critcism in first half of 20th century – Cordelia seen as an agent of Lear’s regeneration and idealised as a saintly figure
Dowden (Cordelia) a pure redeeming ardour
Secular pieta image presents her as a martyr
Simon Palfrey if Cordelia exemplifies Christ, it is at the moment of crucifixion not resurrection
Edgar plays God: Why do I trifle thus with his despair/ is done to cure it
This shows you are above/ You justicers that these our nether crimes/ so speedily can venge
Albany is grateful to the judgement of the heavens
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods/ they kill us for their sport
Stanley Cavell the pressure of tragedy which makes people seek divinity and invert their values spring other fundamental questions about the human condition to the fore
Humanist appraoch ‘thou nature art my goddess’
Simon Palfrey 2 repetition of certain words invariably embody a play’s most profound struggles – nothing
RSC Ian McKellen film 2008 Play ends with Edgars final words as a voiceover as he raises arms towards heaven in plea – immediately drops them in despair and weeps
Lawrence Olivier film 1980 emphasised pre-christian setting – stone henge circle