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Succeeding King LearLiterature, Exposure, and the Possibility of Politics$
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Emily Sun

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823232802

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823232802.001.0001

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Sovereignty, Exposure, Theater a Reading of King Lear

Sovereignty, Exposure, Theater a Reading of King Lear

(p.11) 1. Sovereignty, Exposure, Theater a Reading of King Lear
Succeeding King Lear

Emily Sun

Fordham University Press

This chapter dedicates itself to examining the structure of this break in seeing and its relationship to an altered speech. Suffice it to say preliminarily that the task of the spectator — which is the task of succeeding King Lear — is not to repeat again what has happened in the play, but to make a new beginning that breaks with the cycle of tragic repetition. The plot of King Lear is well-known. Writing the play sometime after 1603, between Othello and Macbeth, Shakespeare drew on accounts of a historical Lear with three daughters who reigned in Britain. Intertwined with this plot is a subplot involving Gloucester and his sons. In Lear Shakespeare explores the vexed nature of kingship by turning to a mythical king in the distant past, a “prehistoric” figure whose doings predate the practice of historical record keeping.

Keywords:   King Lear, Shakespeare, kingship, sovereignty, plot, Gloucester

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