Archive for May 2010

Our 23rd podcast is the final one of 6 on King Lear. This looks at the end of the play, considering how the famously bleak ending is constructed by Shakespeare. Lear so nearly becomes a play with a comic ending (like its sources and Nahum Tate's rewritten 1681 version). Instead, there is no mitigation: all is dark horror. To read Tate's version, click here (go to page 66 for the ending).

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Using the notorious scene in which Gloucester is blinded as a starting point, this talk looks at ideas of blindness and seeing throughout the play, particularly in the stories of the two old 'blind' men, Lear and Gloucester. Lear undergoes a humanising process of development, and starts to 'see' real truths about himself and society; however, in the end this matters little, as he is exposed to devastating grief on the death of his daughter Cordelia

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Our 21st podcast features ten quotations from King Lear; you can pause your computer or MP3 player after each, and test yourself on who spoke the words, and their context, and then listen to the answers and a commentary on the quotation. These commentaries examine the quotations as key moments in the play, linking them to the rest of the text, and again trying to prompt fresh reflection on the themes and characters.

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Our 20th podcast is the third in a series of revision sessions on King Lear, prior to the Leaving Certificate. This talk examines the role of two minor but important characters in the play, the Dukes of Kent and Albany, and how they affect the central story and its themes. Both are decent men; while Albany needs to travel on a path of moral development, Kent is the most clear-sighted and steadfast character in the play. In the end, however, their decency cannot prevent the tragedy.

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