Tag Archives: King Lear

Obama Is to Trump as Albany Is to Goneril

While Trump calls for torture of terrorists and Ted Cruz calls for carpet bombing them, President Obama calls for America to take the high moral road. He sounds like Albany arguing with Goneril in “King Lear.”

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Conservative Extremists as King Lear

In another significant post that appeared this past year, I compared GOP extremists to King Lear–more interested in self-indulgent behavior than in responsible governance. The result is a divided country at war with itself.

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Lit Is Aristotelian Road to Happiness

Psychologists say that a strong sense of narrative identity can lead to the profound sense of happiness described by Aristotle. Literature helps us make sure we have available to us the best narratives.

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Johnson: The Bard Instructs by Delighting

Although today we are sometimes suspicious when literature seeks to instruct us, Samuel Johnson considered this to be literature’s primary aim. He held up Shakespeare as proof.

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Jeb! Agonistes: An Unsettling Parallel

Does Jeb Bush resemble at the moment Samson Agonistes? His rivalry with Marco Rubio also resembles any number of Shakespeare tragedies. There’s an Oedipus parallel as well.

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Lear: Finding Love in Adversity

Both “Doctor Faustus” and “King Lear” teach us the silver lining in adversity, “Faustus” in a negative way, “Lear” in a positive.

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Political Consultants Should Read Lit

Which literary works would you recommend to a political consultant to stay in touch with his or her soul and avoid becoming lost in the dark side? How about Hawthorne, Melville, Shakespeare, Pinter, and Terrence McNally?

Posted in Hawthorne (Nathaniel), McNally (Terrence), Melville (Herman), Pinter (Harold), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Robert Durst’s Iago-Like Soliloquy

How to interpret suspected murderer Robert Durst’s enigmatic words on “The Jinx”? Shakespeare’s villains point the way.

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Lear’s Lesson: Dividing Leads to War

The politics in “King Lear” are currently being played out in attempts to sabotage negotiations with Iran.

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Old Lit as a Transformational Experience

The power of a “King Lear” passage is a refutation of Scott Walker’s attempt to redirect higher education to “work force needs.”

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Obama Is No King Lear (Thank Goodness!)

Those who want more militaristic posturing in our foreign policy should contemplate King Lear’s posturing.

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The Bard Could Improve Lawyer Behavior

A judge makes his case about how Shakespeare can improve lawyer professionalism.

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Shakespeare in the Courtroom

A Georgia judge is guided by Shakespeare and sometimes cites the Bard in his rulings.

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Top 10 Hellish Child-Parent Relationships

Top 10 Literary Parent-Child Relationships from Hell.

Posted in Aeschylus, Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Euripides, Lawrence (D. H.), O'Connor (Flannery), Plath (Sylvia), Roth (Philip K.), Shakespeare (William), Shelton (Richard), Sophocles | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Haiyan, Climate Change Denial, & Lear

“King Lear” gives us language to describe Typhoon Haiyan and also a framework to understand climate change denialism.

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Pope Retires but Keeps Perks? Hmm

Some of Pope Benedict’s retirement demands sound like King Lear’s.

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LeBron Toys with Foes as Gods with Lear

Lebron James is to opponents as the gods are to King Lear.

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Hurricanes Make Us All Poor, Infirm, Weak

The onslaught of Hurricane Sandy reminds us of King Lear’s storm experience.

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To Esmé and Alban with Love (No Squalor)

With names from Salinger and Blake, my two new grandchildren have promising destinies.

Posted in Blake (William), Salinger (J. D.), Shakespeare (William), Sterne (Lawrence) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Shakespeare with a Smart Phone

The plays would have been different if Shakespeare’s characters had had access to social media.

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King Lear’s Sexual Epithets vs. Women

It’s not only Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher who are use sexual epithets to denigrate women. King Lear does it too.

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Which Shakespearean Hero Is Murdoch?

So which Shakespeare hero is Rupert Murdoch? Marche floats the names of Macbeth, Hamlet, Lear, Richard II and Richard III. I’d peg him as Iago.

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Barcelona-Madrid Is Like Goneril-Regan

Think of the elder Lear sisters as Barcelona and Madrid and Edmund as a spot in the Champions League final. This would make Goneril Barcelona since she’s the one that emerges (temporarily) triumphant.

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King Lear and Medicare Politics

In the 2010 elections, seniors over 65 voted overwhelmingly Republican, perhaps in response to perceived threats to Medicare. Democrats may respond in kind in the upcoming election. In short, a lot of electoral politics involves firing up seniors. Frightened and angry old people can do a lot of damage. Which brings us to King Lear.

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Misery Loves Poetry

Yesterday a New York Times blog addressed an issue I have been wrestling with as well: whether literature is up to the string of disasters we are encountering. Sam Tanenhaus asserts that “one of the enduring paradoxes of great apocalyptic writing is that it consoles even as it alarms.” To my mind, Tanenhaus’s most interesting point is about why poetry seems to be better at responding to catastrophe than narrative prose.

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Leaders Who Don’t Want to Govern

“Nature, be thou my goddess,” exclaims Edmund, the bastard son of Gloucester in King Lear as he prepares to embark on a course of action that, before he is stopped, results in the disinheritance of his legitimate brother, the blinding and banishment of his father, the poisoning of one sister by another, and the execution […]

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The Hell of Ego, the Heaven of Love

Spiritual Sunday A reader’s response to Friday’s post on the Faustus story has me thinking more about Marlowe’s marvelous play. Marlowe informs us that we don’t need to die to go to hell. If we refuse to listen to the voice of our soul, we can find hell right here on earth. If there were […]

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The Bard Weighs in on the Election

One curious aspect of this very loud election season has been that the two largest political rallies were staged by entertainers: Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally of August 29 and John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” this past Saturday. A rightwing pundit and two liberal comedians (one of them who […]

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Most Plagiarists Fail to “Sin Nobly”

Jason Blake’s guest column this week is on the issue of plagiarism. Jason’s experience matches my own: it takes more work to produce a successful plagiarism than to write an acceptable essay. Plagiarism is generally so obvious that the plagiarist resembles Tom Sawyer in the episode involving memorized Bible verses. As you may recall, students […]

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After the Mess, Can Obama Be Fortinbras?

I’ve been thinking recently about how every Shakespearean tragedy concludes with a restoration of order.  The stage may be strewn with corpses and the spectator’s heart may have broken into a thousand little pieces, but (as though to provide some reassurance) someone steps forward at the end to set things straight. In Hamlet it is […]

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Republicans Need a Shakespearean Fool

William Dyce, “King Lear and the Fool in the Storm” (1851)         There’s been a lot of talk about bubbles in recent years.  Tiger Woods’ bubble, which cut him off from his fellow human beings, may have led to some of his self-destructive behavior.  The Vatican has been living within a bubble for a while, unable […]

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