In my Shakespeare class we learned that the two big words in this play are 1) Nothing and 2) Nature. Frankly I think there was too much of both those things in this play.
“Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.” – King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1
Don’t get me wrong, I like Lear. It’s a great play and a really interesting commentary on the human condition. (My favorite character is Regan, which probably says a lot about me. I promise though, I won’t gouge out your eyes. My second favorite is Kent, which I hope redeems me a little bit.) It was just so long and there was a lot of nonsense going on. I’m not a huge fan of the roll of the Fool in Shakespeare’s plays and the Fool in this has such a major part. Not to mention, we at some points have three different people acting (or actually being) crazy. All the nonsense just really got on my nerves. It was beautifully crafted nonsense, but a whole lot of nothing happened in several scenes of one of Shakespeare longest plays.
“This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.” – King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4
Hipsters everywhere like to quote Lear’s speech in the last act (if you’ve ever heard someone talking about laughing at gilded butterflies, that’s where that’s from) and there’s plenty of beautiful language, but with all the different story lines and characters, I got a little fed up with the constant craziness coming from Lear, the Fool and Edgar. It was just a lot to wade through.
“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our teeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurour and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!” – King Lear, Act 3, Scene 2
“I am a man more sinned against than sinning” – King Lear, Act 3, Scene 2