Saturday, April 14, 2007

Response to the Folger production of King Lear by the Classical Theatre of Harlem

To equate the character of King Lear with Fidel Castro or Saddam Hussein is ludicrous. If we accept this interpretation, then Lear is a king who has brutally tortured and murdered his political rivals and has committed genocide. If true, it would make a mockery of the character of Kent, a man of unquestioned integrity,who obviously worships Lear and who would willingly give up his life for him. Imagine Kent, who vehemently protests Lear's disinheritance of Cordelia, tolerating for one minute the behavior of a Castro or Hussein. And what of Cordelia, Lear's favorite daughter, a woman of great courage and impeccable integrity, who is too honest to humor Lear's ego and vanity. Imagine her tolerating a Castro or a Hussein. Her love and concern for Lear is so great that when she hears of him being endangered, she mounts a foreign innvasion in order to rescue him. The attitude and relationship of Kent and Cordelia towards Lear Gives us great insight into Lear's true character and worth. Ultimately King lear is far more than a political play or the nature of devotion within a family. It's themes are of the most profound nature: redemption; self realization; the myth of universal justice; fortuitousness in the battle between good and evil; the nature of evil. The 80 year old Lear has been king for many decades. During his reign he has slowly and inexorably become blind to reality. He is a man of vast potential; a man of enormous passion, humanity, dignity and strength who has been inundated with lies flattery, unchallenged obedience and false adoration. His purpose and control have been eroded by his increasingly irrational emotional state. By the end of the play however, he achieves self realization He repents for his past errors and bad judgement.Most important, he comes to understand and feel deep empathy for the down trodden and misfortunate of the world. Equate this with Castro, who has never expressed regret for any of his odious deeds, or Hussein. who was defiant to the very end. Preisser's evaluation is a misreading and an insult to the character of King Lear who at his worst rises far above them. Lear is an 80 year old with the heart of a gladiator, who fights an epic and magnificent struggle against overwhelming physical and emotional turmoil and whose implacable refusal to surrender make him one of the greatest, most towering and pasionate tragic characters ever created. Posted by Alexander Barnett January 16, 2007 12:20 PM

1 comment:

trinitystar said...

It was a pleasure to have you visit my blog. I do have interests in Artist ... as we all are here on these blogs expressing in words and visuals.
I will hopefully be seeking to see this film. It is interesting to learn about the great artists and their lives. I do hope that you will continue to write on this blog some other interesting facts.
I read a couple of the letters that he wrote to his brother. He wrote with such caring and love for him. Strange to peep into letters.
Hugs for you. :o)