.. least Lear thinks so, making Bradleys thesis at least plausible. Comparing the final words of Romeo and Juliet with Lear may help to resolve this issue. The Prince, absolving the Friar of his part, notes, A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things (V, iii, 305-307) Albany (or Edgar) says: The weight of this sad time we must obey; Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
(V, iii, 322-323) Both ending suggest further discourse. In Romeo and Juliet, what circumstances bring about the horrors? The Sonnet Prologue speaks of star crossed lovers but in Lear, Edmund dismisses such as superstitious nonsense, and like Iago to Roderigo, believes humans chart their own destiny by making opportunities for themselves. Romeo, according to the Friar, defies his own madness; he is rash and impulsive like Lear whose hideous rashness causes him to banish Kent who warned against. The wheel has come full circle, and Shakespeare has noted such before in, As You Like Its famous Seven ages of man speech by Jacques. Interestingly the first stage (the infant./Mewling and puking) comes full circle in senility to the last stage (second childishness and mere oblivion./ sans teeth, sans eyes, sans everything.). (II, vii, 139-166).
Romeo has come full circle to Lear. Is this the promised end? asks Kent. The answers that if Kent were to look at Romeos youth, he might have recognized a young Lear, and with characteristic bluntness reminded Lear of his past. Such conduct leads to death and fashioning of a universal horror that defies rational explanation. What ought to be said is in our own day the lesson of the holocaust.
Donner said, Shakespeare has deliberately made us feel that justice has not been done, that the sufferings inflicted have been to great for human beings to bear, and the crimes committed too terrible to be condoned- too terrible to forget. I believe Shakespeare wanted us to feel, and so to know that we must not forget and must not let new sorrows Strike us on the face. That is what we ought to say and what art says. If we do not, we deny the function of art not only to enhance life, but to teach and delight. Our denial makes us participants in the madness that engulfs Lear.
IN the words of Prufrock, we have to dare to eat peach, for doing so we disturb the universe. Harold Bloom has published, Shakespeare, the Invention of the Human. This study argues that Shakespeare invented personality, and that any modernist attempt to lower that achievement to current sociopolitical trends does violence to that achievement. Personality, in our sense, is a Shakespearean invention, and is not only Shakespeares greatest originality but also the authentic cause of his perpetual pervasiveness. Bloom initially states that Lear is beyond commentary, but nonetheless proceeds to offer many revisionistic concepts, not the least of which is the belief that divine justice does not prevail at the end, this he terms offensive. He believes that the key to interpreting Lears end and for that matter any moment of the play rests with love; we must note that initially Lear is loved by all of the good characters in the play: The Fool, Kent, Gloucester, and Edgar. Thus cement binding (or not) the Lear world is to much love: Shakespeares implication is that the only authentic love is between parents and children; yet the prime consequence of such love is only devastationthe play manifests as intense anguish in regard to human sexuality, and a compassionate despair as to the mutually destructive nature of both paternal and filial love.
This love is what Bloom calls a love that is so deep it cannot be avoided. Thus for Bloom the line that best sums the tragedy is Edgars, he childed as I fatherd, meaning not hate but love between the generations. Hence, Lears great love for his children and Edgars for Gloucester occasion the very tragedy that love is supposed to negate. The death of Cordelia has only pain to make meaningful, a premise quite the opposite of Bradleys belief cited above. The Lear world is love gone mad and therefore poised to self-destruct.
Frye noted in the body of this essay that perhaps Lears madness would be our sanity if it were not sedated. Bloom argues that traditional sedatives such as a moral cleansing and recognition do not apply. The Fool therefore is needed in the play, Bloom believes, to insulate us from Lears madness that is with in all of us. Thus, the endings of Lear as seen by Bloom are not in the redemptive mode occasioned by flashes of insight, but are emanations of his wholeheartedness. Thus Shakespeare endowed Lear with sensibilities, broad enough to achieve the potentially infinite, so as to include of necessity emanations of recognition, but in the final analysis what remains in the Lear world is its own ashes consumed on the alter of paternal love. There are no gods to accept the offering. So, is dialectic sustained to the point where opposites are reconciled? If Bloom is right that Shakespeare invented what it means to be human, a synthesis may not be possible.
Shakespeare gave us Bottom and Edgar, Iago and Richard III, and history gave us Mother Theresa and Adolf Hitler. Love, it would seem, does turn upon itself, and by doing so destroys what it is supposed to preserve. Works Cited Page Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York: Fawcett Books, n.d. Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998 Frye, N.
On Shakespeare. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986 Knight, G.W. The Wheel of Fire. New York. Meridian Press, 1963. Donner, H.W.
Is This the Promised End? Reflections on the tragic ending of King Lear L(Winter 1969). Foakes, R.A. King Lear and the Displacement of Hamlet. Huntington library Quarterly(1980) Hennedy, H. Recognizing the Ending.
Sp, 71 (1974) Rackin, P. Delusion as Resolution in King Lear. Shakespeare Quarterly. XXI (1970) Snyder, S. King Lear and the Psychology of Dying Shakespeare Quartely. XXXIII(1984) Shakespeare Essays.