Shakespearean Insults 18.04.2021

“…gibes and notable scorns that dwell on every region of his face.”


Recycled Book Reading Challenge: King Lear by William Shakespeare


My apologies, time escaped me and I did not realize that yesterday was the 1st until quite late in the night. So I’m a day late…again.

My pick for August for the Recycled book reading challenge is King Lear by William Shakespeare. I think I picked this up for 0,25€ at a second hand shop. I’m a sucker for the classics and will always grab one, even if I’ve already read it!

Being a classic, I have read King Lear before. I think the first time I read it was in my english classes in University. As a Shakespeare fan, I will read it again and again. This book will stay on my shelf.

The plot is an absolute tragedy. One with whom some people to this day can somewhat empathize with, which is why I think Shakespeare remains so popular.

In summary, King Lear decides that he has to divide his realm, as he is aging and his time will come soon. He opts to divide his legacy between his 3 daughters, giving the one who loves him the most, the lions share of the estate. Two of his daughters; Goneril and Regan, sooth him with sugary words from mouths dripping honey. Cordelia (the youngest daughter whom King Lear assumes would be the one who loves him the most – and is) Is honest and open with him. This backfires tremendously when King Lear gets extremely angry and disinherits her. When her friend, the Earl of Kent, tries to defend her, Lear banishes him from court as well. But she is not left alone. The King of France, touched by her honesty, marries her.

The Earl of Kent, sensing what is coming from Goneril and Regan, disguises himself and goes to work as King Lear’s servant. Lear decides to live with Goneril, but once she makes her intentions known, he sends his servant (Disguised Earl of Kent) ahead to Regan’s with a letter stating his intention to live with her instead. The Earl of Kent is detained at the house and when King Lear discovers this, he is told that the sisters are plotting to kill him. The revenge is taken out on Gloucester, who discovered and shared the plot, by gouging out his eyes. Brutal!

Cordelia, who has married the French King, returns home with an army of French troops ready for battle with her sisters. King Lear, the Earl of Kent and Gloucester try to make their way to Cordelia in hopes of reuniting. In the process, Gloucester finds his lost son, Edgar. King Lear sleeps through the battle, only to awake and discover that Cordelia lost the battle. Initially, he is somewhat ok about it because he assumes that they will be jailed together. This delusion is shattered when he soon realizes that Cordelia is to be executed. Gloucester’s other son, Edmund, gave the orders. Both sisters are in love with Edmund and this turns into a suicide bath.

When Edmund (who has been fatally wounded by Edgar) is dying, he reverses the execution order for Cordelia. But it is too late. She is hung. Her father, King Lear, is so overcome by the grief of all that his emotional decision has caused, dies on her lifeless body. Edgar becomes King.

This is a very good read, but the written language does make it a bit difficult to adapt to.

If you would like to join my recycled book reading challenge, please click the link for full details. I love this challenge!

What are you reading?