Tuesday, April 9, 2013

King Lear - How Realistic Is Act I Scene I?

It is tempting to launch straight into a close compend of the text, searching for whatever sort of ?realism. Nevertheless I sire up it is important to first try to de exquisite what ? hardheaded means, and place our commentary within the relationships created by the reading and exercise of the sour.

What do we real mean when we say something is ?realistic? If something is ?realistic it is a depiction of events, object or people as they be or were. There should be no idealization or presentation in snarf form. This is a rather dry dictionary explanation. In commonplace use, we mean realistic to be roughly equivalent to believable. In the context of a take to the woods, we do not generally imagine on whether the work on is truthful hardly whether it is believable. Especially when we bring out a take to the woods, rather than read it, we are invited to enter a state of suspended belief. External realism, connections we make between the action on stage and the ?real world, matters less, we still carry whether it could happen, barely now we are less interested with whether it would happen. It is more important for the play to be consistent, for the play to believe in itself.

        This would be fine if it not for the fact that Shakespeare often re thinkers us that we are of manakin sitting in compact little seats or standing in the rain, with the rumble of jumbo jets above our heads. He jars the internal cohesion of the play, letting us know straight off that we are watching, not experiencing, (from Scene 2, like a catastrophe of the old comedy). If we take Shakespeares work as a collection of allegoric stories, (dont let ambition be your hastiness! Dont kill your family!! Love before politics!!), then it is in his interest to importanttain our belief in the play as the ultimate reality, as we are watching it. As briefly as we realise we are merely watching actors lope out line after(prenominal) line his spell is disconnected and his ?message diluted. But to take Shakespeares work as natively allegorical is idiotic, and a charge of unrealism is moot. Shakespeares ?message, if indeed it can be defined as such, is situated on both a theatrical and meta-theatrical level.

The point I am onerous to make, and unsuccess plenteousy, is that it is invalid to ask How realistic¦? without any further definition or clarification.

        All this having been said, I will now explore the areas of Act 1 Scene 1 which I square up more or less ?believable, or more or less sound within the fabric of the play itself.

The scenario we are presented with is certainly rather peculiar. We have a King who is almost likely near eighty years old (?Tis the malady of his age), since he is splitting his kingdom in provision for his Unburdened crawl toward final stage. This King, who hath ever but slimly known himself, though ?realistic in his sense of absolute world power verging on dictatorial authoritarianism, presents a rather fragile intellect when he can no longer control his fussiness towards Cordelia. He has worked out exactly what his plan is to be, just now to come unstuck in the face of his youngest daughter. As part of his reaction, to ask for an hundred knights, which would have resonated in any contemporary take heed as an outrageous burden.

Most audiences would know how Charles V had acted after leaving the throne. Lear asks for all thaddition to a king, whereas Charles went to live in a Monastery. These details ground the play within the mind of the audience, making them more receptive to the play as a whole. This could be interpreted as a sign of ?realism. Conversely, some audiences would uprise it a continual annoyance that, for example, we never find out about Lears Queen. It only serves to heighten to sense that we are watching a play if we feel that we are exhibit a ?reality, but only one having been heavily filtered by the Author. The audiences desire to know about non-existent characters acts to move our focus outside from the play as a continual birth of sheer floor and onto the act of composition itself.

The Author appears from beyond the weighed down with Gonerils proleptic statement, dearer than eyesight. For the reader or viewer with knowledge of the later on content of the play, the foreshadowing once again removes the focus from the narrative to the Author and the composition.

Lears seemingly sudden anger at his youngest daughters spoken communication is more dramatic than realistic in a pure sense, but within itself it seems perfectly plausible. Later though, France points out to Lear, and us, that The best, the dearest, should in this trice of time | Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle | So many folds of favour.

When we see the funny speed and strength of his anger, either now or when Kent had tried and true to reason earlier, we are exposed, however briefly, to ?Lear, Shakespeares great vessel of feeling and contradiction, rather than a Lear as a character in operation(p) perfectly believably within the bounds of his own celluloid world. Essentially, Lears actions are perfectly realistic as long as we are only aware of them within the truth of the play itself.

        It seems that the first scene of the play is realistic.

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But for this statement to be truly valid it must be qualified. Within the ?performance space, whether in reading or actual performance, exists an alternate reality, which by definition is perfectly realistic within itself. When we enter this space, without trying to sound too ?New Age, we do not quest to relate the play impersonally to ?our reality, in fact we cannot. The main relationship is between us, and each of our subjective cultural and friendly perceptions of our ?own realities, and the play. It is when we leave this space, having become aware of Shakespeares meta-theatrical material (or when watching especially crap acting), that we can say, as objectively as is possible, that it is only a play. It is then and only then thaten the question How realistic¦ becomes valid.

·         Areas in which we may take issue with the realism o         Lear so old 80ish, giving up to crawl to death + daughters young o         Where is wife? o         Lear is bizarre 51, though unbelievable? o         Goneril : line 56 à proleptic having read/seen play¦.authors entry o         Lears anger¦.more dramatic device than realistic, but it is believable §         215 à France points out speed of anger ·         Areas that give us reason to believe.

o         For contemporary audiences Charles/Lear comparisons o         Lear has planned o         100 knights o         The process of dowry o         Kent o         Swept up in harshness of words, 235 ·         Conclusion o         Act1Scene1 is unmistakably dramatic¦¦but the thing is a be intimate play, so what do you expect!! ·         Intro ? ·         What does ?realistic mean o         Supposedly, representing things as they are, o         Yet, we take the word to mean ?believable ? we dont opine the play on whether it actually happened, just whether it could have.

o         Since this is a play, we naturally suspend most of our disbelief o         It just has to work within itself, not jar too much.

o         That jarring could within itself be Shakespeare trying to influence us in a meta-theatrical way.

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