The Complete Julius Caesar

An Annotated Edition of the Shakespeare Play

by Donald J. Richardson



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 7/18/2013

Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 246
ISBN : 9781481775007
Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 246
ISBN : 9781481775021
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 246
ISBN : 9781481775014

About the Book

Of the five major Shakespearean tragedies—Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Othello—King Lear is perhaps the most challenging. Issues of rulership, family and blood, are overlaid with bastardy, loyalty, lust, and deceit. Add to this the apparently gratuitous on-stage blinding of Gloucester, the deaths of Cordelia, Lear, Gloucester, and Kent, and one might be inclined to agree with Samuel Johnson that “The good suffer more than the evil, that love and suffering, in this play, are almost interchangeable terms and the driving force of the action is derived from the power of the evil to inflict mental agony upon the good” (quoted in Kermode, 505). However, one would be mistaken to accept wholeheartedly the happy endings of the eighteenth and nineteenth century revisionists. While the pleasant ending would certainly ease the sensibilities of the audience, it would omit the Aristotlean concepts of hamartia and the purgation of fear and pity attendant upon actually witnessing Shakespeare’s King Lear, the necessary catharsis, a possible scapegoat for our own emotions. Of course, the ending is to some extent unpleasant and even shocking; however, one can argue that the ending is organic to the play; the ending IS, to a great extent, the play.

About the Author

Teaching is my existence says Donald J. Richardson. After more than four decades of classroom application of his compos mentis, he asserts that he will retire to reading and writing, solis, once he attains the state of non compos mentis.