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Working Title: Shakespeare the Propagandist: Establishing English Legitimacy
Working Thesis: Shakespeare's plays have long been understood to endorse the Tudor monarchy, however in King Lear, goes a step further, establishing the legitimacy of the Christian English kings at the expense of the Jews. Ever a propagandist, Shakespeare uses King Lear to establish the English monarchy's legitimacy in this sort of creation tale for Christian authority while justifying the discrimination against the Jews because they refused to acknowledge this transfer of authority.
National Theatre Discover. “King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 July 2015. Web. 16 November 2016.
- A modern reenactments of the first scene of the play.
- Dramatizes the ridiculous public spectacle in which Lear asks his daughters to proclaim their love in exaggerated depth.
- The gross imbalance is presented here, especially in the way Reagan sits on her father’s lap and then he slaps her butt as she struts away,
National Theatre Discover. “King Lear - nothing will come of nothing.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 30 May 2014. Web. 16 November 2016.
- A commentary on a performance of King Lear.
- Relates the great treachery of the sisters.
- Also helps explain why they are so cruel, the rude assumption that Lear made coming to visit with such a large company with no warning.
- Discusses the possibility of Lear’s condition being what we would now call dementia.
Not exactly sure what I will do with this here, possibly give a little bit more context to the cruelty of the sisters? This was an interesting source, I'm just not sure I will actually use it in this paper.
Roman Styran. “King Lear by William Shakespeare (1994) - Starring Sir John Gielgud and Kenneth Branagh.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 15 June 2015. Web. 16 November 2016.
- The introduction starting with Edmund and Gloucester is particularly revealing.
- We understand the joke the Gloucester makes out of his son Edmund, how he is constantly belittled by the circumstance of his birth.
I think this could be useful in establishing the lack of legitimacy that Edmund faces and helping to thus introduce that topic.
3. Social Sources
Grace Dayton (homie)
- I think of Shakespeare as a propagandist.
This really helped me to figure out a way to anchor my idea in the context of the day. Talking through my idea briefly with Grace, and hearing about her allowed me to see my topic in the bigger picture.
***Roman Styran. (enthusiast? possibly expert?)
- He posted an audio transcript of King Lear (as shown in the performance sources above). I noticed he took pains to answer many of the comments made on the video and am hoping to get a response.
- “Thank you so much for sharing this, I think it is so much easier to understand the play when we get to listen to the emotion and motive in the voices of the actors! I thought the very beginning was particularly powerful, because from the mocking tone of Gloucester we get a sense of the jokes that Edmund is constantly subjected to. Do you have any thought on the role of legitimacy in "King Lear"? I am writing a paper and any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks again for the video!”
- Still waiting to see if he will respond.
*** Alice Hahn (enthusiast/homie?- I wonder how she would feel about that, hahahaha)
- I also reached out to my high school English teacher. She is the teacher responsible for introducing me to Hamlet, and I gained a lot from the discussions in her class. I emailed her telling her a little about my topic and asking if she had any feedback of general thoughts on King Lear.
- "....Hamlet, is actually for my Shakespeare class. And as I am writing a paper about King Lear.I had this crazy idea that King Lear actually had some weird parallels to the Jews. It’s a lot to try to convey via email, but basically Lear is essentially the Pharisees. He gets so caught up in ceremony and pride that he becomes blind to his situation that he rejects Cordelia a Savior figure. And though he eventually repents and is redeemed, he still has to face the consequences of his choices. Cordelia is killed, his children die unfortunate deaths, he wallows in denial for a little while and finally the kingdom is taken and given to another. To my way of thinking this is a sort of loosely drawn parable for what the Christian Englishmen think happened to the Jews. And furthermore, as the Christian Europeans are represented by Edgar who gain the kingdom, they see Lear and thus the current Jews as pitiful and lost. They believe themselves to have gained the legitimate authority while the Jews wander without the proper authority to guide them.
- Anyways, I was hoping to ask if you had any insight or thought? I know this topic is a lot to swallow and it honestly might be a bit of a stretch but I can’t quite utterly disregard it. If you have any thoughts to offer about the topic of legitimacy, or Shakespeare and the Jews or even general thoughts I would love to hear them...."
- Still waiting to hear