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Friday July 13th 2018Tim Candler9

 

      I don't know about King Lear. He was very, very old certainly, he preferred flattery to anything remotely associated with honesty, and he got terribly aggravated when one of his three daughters, the one named Cordelia, instead of flattering him to get her share of his kingdom like his other two daughters, chose to speak the truth when her father asked her to tell him how much she loved him and what a brilliant person he was. And too there was a whole thing with slimy, ambitious boy courtiers plotting, and as the King lost his influence he had nowhere to go. Flatterers were all about flattery and they were entirely unreliable scoundrels who were only interested in their careers. The old fool's last hope was with Cordelia who'd been honest with him, otherwise he was just old, unwanted and dotty, an all round whining pain in the neck with absolutely nothing useful to contribute. Oddly, I feel that way sometimes too, it's the Bean Beetle.

 

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    But the thing is, in my view, toward the end of the story Lear began to realize that he might have made a mistake, he died of grief clutching Cordelia's hanged corpse. Not sure our very own King Lear is emotionally capable of that. The point is Shakespeare's King Lear was a story, designed to entertain, tug at the heart strings, teach a lesson, send the audience home nodding their heads wisely. The reality of course is always a little different. In exile Napoleon didn't really think he'd made any mistakes, it was his destiny, he'd been chosen. Herr Hitler, for his part, preferred to believe that his people were just not worthy of his unique variety of extraordinary genius, they had failed him, so it was entirely their fault, not his. Meanwhile for our own King Lear there's still a month or so to go before his courtiers think in terms of adopting "Russia our sacred state, Russia our beloved country. A mighty will, a great glory Yours forever for all time!" as their anthem. There's a line in there somewhere, that goes "From the Southern Seas to the Polar Islands."

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