King Lear's Dichotomy

1256 Words6 Pages
Wallace (2013) echoes Samuel Johnson's perception, who said of William Shakespeare that the Elizabethan writer's works could not easily be categorized into either comedy or tragedy. It is here that we see that there is a need to accept, from a perspective of the study of Shakespeare's plays, that at times the author is not a follower of the rigid rules of literature. Through this, the play becomes not just either a comedy or a tragedy but is also both. Wallace continues on to hint that Shakespeare might as well be the playwright that Socrates is referring to when he described the necessity of a writer's works to be both comedic and tragic. However, it is important to note that even amidst an existing dichotomy between both genres, there was a massive re-writing of the ending of Shakespeare during the the 1600s and the 1800s. It was during this time that Nahum Tate changed King Lear's ending to that of a jollier one, which was…show more content…
According to the critic, Shakespeare’s males, King Lear included, were given heroic roles, often given more emphasis during their fall from grace and making them tragic characters. Shakespeare’s females, however, were given the comic roles, with Cordelia’s exceptionally written character given similar prominence to Lear’s fool. According to this analysis, Shakespeare’s point of view was “necessarily male,” and that there was a challenging other that was female. The gender divide among Shakespeare’s characters offer critics with a different analysis into the genre-bending Shakespeare, who is often described as one of the most gender-sensitive playwrights of his time. According to Bamber, Shakespeare’s heroes are oftentimes betrayed by their female counterparts (or, in the case of tragedies, appear to be betrayed). Bamber traces this throughout several plays, such as Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, the Tempest, and Macbeth. (Bamber,

More about King Lear's Dichotomy

Open Document