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Shakespeare’s King Lear, Conference I, Part 1

This superb lecture by Dr. White opens with a discussion of the definition and nature of tragedy and what precisely separates it from comedy. The fact is emphasized that the destruction taking place in tragedy must not be meaningless, but must serve a purpose. Dr. White discusses King Lear’s tragic flaw, the prominent theme of fallen man, and the unusual format Shakespeare chose, giving the play five acts of falling action instead of having the climax near the end of the play, as is customary. Also covered is the double plot of King Lear, the play’s presentation of the destruction of language by overuse and twisting of meanings, and the parallel between the situation in King Lear and the situation in the Church today: in both conditions, those who are disobedient (Kent and Cordelia in the play) are the ones who are truly caring and trying to preserve what is good.

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