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Shakespeare’s King Lear, Conference I, Part 2

Dr. White continues his discussion of Cordelia and Kent’s loyalty as the cause of their disobedience and shows that, since they love the king, they must sacrifice, for love and sacrifice are one. He then discusses the setting of King Lear in pre-Christian Britain, showing that it was purposely done to circumvent trouble with the government – but that nevertheless it is filled with beautifully Christian iconography, presented subtly but meaningfully. Dr. White speaks of the expectations that audiences would have had for the play, and how it would have shocked them by its tragic ending. Finally, he reaches the scene where Lear enters with Cordelia dead in his arms, covering the symbolism of Lear’s line of inverted iambic pentameter and the way in which the scene is a kind of vision of the Pieta, but with father and daughter in place of mother and Son.

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