William Shakespeare, King Lear

Hugh Grady (Arcadia University, (formerly Beaver College))
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William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear has been considered his supreme achievement by a widespread (if not unanimous) critical consensus since the end of the Second World War, momentum for this evaluation having begun with the Romantics and accelerated thereafter. Earlier periods showed a much more mixed reaction to the play, mingling praise and fault-finding. Today, King Lear is valued for its acute probing into the meaning of human life and suffering, its investigations into human nature and the relation of humanity to the cosmos and of the costs of the transition of society from medieval to modern forms and values. To most critics since the mid-twentieth century, its poetic richness and dramatic intensity …

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Citation: Grady, Hugh. "King Lear". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 August 2004; last revised 21 November 2019. [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4216, accessed 15 July 2024.]

4216 King Lear 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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