Shakespeare Saturday: “King Lear”

"King Lear," by William Shakespeare

“King Lear,” by William Shakespeare

The dramatic tragedyKing Lear” by William Shakespeare is one of the fundamental structures of story telling. One person with power divides the power between two, leaving the third out, and thus sets off competition for the whole power base. The story structure itself is far older than William Shakespeare as it appears in Norse Myths, and throughout the real history of royal successions throughout the whole of Terra.

PBS made an excellent production of “King Lear” a few years ago, and it was shown on KET.

The PBS KET copy is here, but I have not yet been able to get it to play properly. Their write up of the production:

2009 Emmy Nominee Ian McKellen recreates his recent stage performance of the tragic monarch in a special television adaptation. Directed by Trevor Nunn, the telecast includes nearly all the original cast members of the sold-out Royal Shakespeare Company production that premiered in Stratford-Upon-Avon in April 2007.

This YouTube copy of “King Lear” is the same as the PBS copy. Enjoy.

And if you like parody, and don’t mind bawdy, you should look into Christopher Moore‘s tale “The Fool.” As Moore writes in the opening of the novel:

WARNING: This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank. If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavour only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that’s the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!

But, if you are a purist, here is the Project Gutenberg copy of the text of “King Lear.”