Friday, January 6, 2017

The Ending Of Lear

For me, the play ends in unabated gloom and negation. Nearly everyone is dead save for Albany, Edgar ands Kent, and he's soon to be done, at least according to him. Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, and Lear are toast as are Edmund and Gloucester. The good die, commingled in death with the louses, making it hard/impossible to see redemptive justice or indeed any justice at work. "Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, / And thou no breath at all?” I argue there is nothing redemptive in Lear, only, as I say, unabated gloom and negation. Furthering the negation in  "No, no, no": “Thou’lt come no more, / Never, never, never, never, never.” (5.3.306–307). Lear dies with the slight, momentary fantasy that Cordelia will come back to life but that is but illusion, a false and harrowingly sad final hopelessness. For Edmund, Goneril and Regan, life only leads to twisted and perverse death that blasts what should be the bonds of family and love. The mass of death both on and off the stage at play's end evince only the tragedy of meaninglessness, a blank nihilistic vision of abject negation rooted in overweening evil married to cruel circumstance.


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