King Lear Interpersonal Relationships Between Characters Illustrated in Two Different Productions

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The relationship between characters throughout all of William Shakespeare’s plays can transcend time and relate to audiences today. In the case of King Lear, the themes of family dysfunction, justice and the battle between good and evil have all remained very powerful. Since the original production by the king’s men in 1606 the play has been interpretated in a wide range of contexts. The experience of an audience can be greatly shaped by the direction of a production, with different productions tending to attempt to promote selected themes more than others. Two diverse productions are Richard Eyres 1998 film interpretation portrayed as a family drama focused on the themes of family dysfunction contrasting with Peter Brooks 1971 Nihilistic black and white film focusing on ‘nothingness.’ Both these interpretations of William Shakespeare’s King Lear focus on an intense human relationship between sub-plot characters Glouster and his legitimate son Edgar. The idea of family tragedy is reinforced with the parallel plot of Glouster and his two sons. A foolish father believes the lies of his deceitful illegitimate son leading to Glousters hasty judgement and betrayal of his good son. The relationship between Glouster and Edgar is a powerful one throughout King Lear, heavily portraying the theme of the ongoing battle between good and evil. Edmund and the lies he tells to deceive his foolish father personifies evil which consequences in Glouster turning his back on the good depicted in truthful son Edgar. Edgar rises above his injustices and learns to disguise himself as ‘Tom of Bedlam’ in order to protect himself and his easily swayed father, this ultimately saving Glouster’s life. Ironically Edgar disguised as ‘Old Tom’ who had loved his father most is asked by his newly blinded father to help him commit suicide. ‘I have no way and therefore want no eyes. I stumbled when I saw.’ The triumph of evil in this scene is so apparent as disguised ‘Old Tom’ tricks father...
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