Cover image for King Lear
King Lear
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Woodbury, N.Y. : Barron's, 1986.
Physical Description:
314 pages ; 19 cm.
Presents the original text of Shakespeare's play side by side with a modern version, discusses the author and the theater of his time, and provides quizzes and other study activities.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR2819.A2 D87 1986 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PR2819.A2 D78 1986 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PR2819.A2 D78 1986 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PR2819.A2 D78 1986 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PR2819.A2 D87 1986 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Here are the books that help teach Shakespeare plays without the teacher constantly needing to explain and define Elizabethan terms, slang, and other ways of expression that are different from our own. Each play is presented with Shakespeare's original lines on each left-hand page, and a modern, easy-to-understand "translation" on the facing right-hand page. All dramas are complete, with every original Shakespearian line, and a full-length modern rendition of the text. These invaluable teaching-study guides also include:
Helpful background information that puts each play in its historical perspective. Discussion questions that teachers can use to spark student class participation, and which students can use as springboards for their own themes and term papers. Fact quizzes, sample examinations, and other features that improve student comprehension of what each play is about.

Author Notes

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School.

At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry.

By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true.

Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Library Journal Review

This must be a case of opposites attracting, as Yale releases another duo in its ongoing annotated Shakespeare series. Here the Bard's heaviest drama is paired with one of his lightest comedies. These also include textual notes, essays by Harold Bloom, and other extras. Great for the price. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 12 Up-This famous family tragedy is dramatized expressively by an outstanding cast of experienced actors led by Paul Scofield. They are very knowledgeable about the play and give each speech with changes of tone and intonation expressing the exact shades necessary for proper understanding. Hearing the voices personalizes the story, making it seem as if this tragedy is real. Voices vary from raging shouts to gentle whispers. The British accents add realism and are not distracting. Appropriate sound effects, whether an animal baying, rain pelting, or horns blaring, assist in setting the mood. However, it is necessary to identify each character by his speech alone as there is no narrator announcing a scene, an entrance, or a setting. Because this can be confusing, high school students should either use the prepared guide which summarizes this information, or have the entire text in front of them. King Lear is not often taught in regular high school English classes, and even 12th grade AP classes have trouble understanding the play. So, although this is an excellent production, unless the play is taught in your school, consider it a supplementary purchase at best.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

If this volume is representative of the ``Text and Performance'' series as a whole, these study guides should gain the respect of American teachers of Renaissance drama. The King Lear is certainly to be recommended, and not only for undergraduate literature and theater majors. Salga-do makes the stage history of Lear both interesting in itself and the context for a comprehensive summary of the problems of textual and dramatic interpretation. His treatment of the critical approaches to the play and key aspects of its structure, style, and characterization in Part 1 (text) is basic without being in the least condescending. In Part 2 (performance) he examines how these have been handled in four modern productions: the Old Vic's (1940), Peter Brook's (1962), Trevor Nunn's (1968), and Kozintsev's film version (1970). Unlike the typical study guide, this book has neither a text of the play nor the all-too-familiar paraphrases and glosses. The author describes rather than interprets, which requires students to read and paraphrase for themselves. And since passages are analyzed selectively to show range of style and differences of purpose and effect, students are alerted to possibility rather than told what to see and believe. Despite its brevity the amount of coverage is impressive indeed. The style is lively and at times even elegant. For undergraduate and community college students.-R.P. Griffin, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale



[Dramatis Personae KING LEAR GONERIL, REGAN,     Lear's daughters CORDELLA, DUKE OF ALBANY, Goneril's husband DUKE OF CORNWALL, Regan's husband KING OF FRANCE, Cordelia's suitor and husband DUKE OF BURGUNDY, suitor to Cordelia EARL OF KENT, later disguised as Caius EARL OF GLOUCESTER EDGER, Gloucester's son and heir, later disguised as poor Tom EDMUND, Gloucester's bastard son OSWALD, Goneril's steward A KNIGHT serving King Lear Lear's fool CURAN, in Gloucester's household GENTLEMEN Three servants old man, a tenant of Gloucester Three MESSENGERS A GENTLEMEN attending Cordelia as a Doctor Two captains HERALD Knights, Gentlemen, Attendants, Servants, Officers, Soldiers, Trumpeters scene: Britain] 1.1. Location: King Lear's palace. 1 affected favored 2 Albany i.e., Scotland 5-7 equalities . . . moiety the shares balance so equally that close scrutiny cannot find advantage in either's portion. 9 breeding raising, care.   charge expense. 11 brazed hardened 12 conceive understand. (But Gloucester puns in the sense of "become pregnant.") 16 fault (1) sin (2) loss of scent by the hounds. 17 issue (1) result (2) offspring 18 proper (1) excellent (2) handsome. 19 by order of law legitimate 19-20 some year about a year 20-1 account estimation. 21 knave young fellow. (Not said disapprovingly, though the word is ironic.).   something somewhat 24 whoreson low fellow; suggesting bastardy, but (like knave above) used with affectionate condescension [1.1]  A  Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund. KENT  I thought the King had more affected the Duke of 1 Albany than Cornwall. 2 GLOUCESTER  It did always seem so to us; but now in the division of the kingdom it appears not which of the dukes he values most, for equalities are so weighed 5 that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's   6 moiety. 7 KENT  Is not this your son, my lord? GLOUCESTER  His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge.   9 I have so often blushed to acknowledge him that now I am brazed to't. 11 KENT  I cannot conceive you. 12 GLOUCESTER  Sir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon she grew round-wombed and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault? 16 KENT  I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it  17 being so proper. 18 GLOUCESTER  But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some 19 year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my ac-  20 count. Though this knave came something saucily to  21 the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.--Do you know this 24 noble gentleman, Edmund? EDMUND  No, my lord. GLOUCESTER  My lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honorable friend. 29 services duty 30 sue petition, beg 31 study deserving strive to be worthy (of your esteem). 32 out i.e., abroad, absent 33.1 Sennet trumpet signal heralding a procession..   one . . . then (This direction is from the Quarto. The coronet is perhaps intended for Cordelia or her betrothed. A coronet signifies nobility below the rank of king.) 34 Attend wait upon, usher ceremoniously 36 we, our (The royal plural; also in lines 37-44, etc.).   darker purpose undeclared intention. 38 fast firm 43 constant . . . publish firm resolve to proclaim 44 several individual 50 Interest of right or title to, possession of EDMUND  My services to Your Lordship. 29 KENT  I must love you, and sue to know you better. 30 EDMUND  Sir, I shall study deserving. 31 GLOUCESTER  He hath been out nine years, and away 32 he shall again. The King is coming. 33 Sennet. Enter [one bearing a coronet, then] King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, and attendants. LEAR Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester. 34 GLOUCESTER  I shall, my liege. Exit. LEAR Meantime we shall express our darker purpose. 36 Give me the map there. [He takes a map.] Know that   we have divided In three our kingdom; and 'tis our fast intent 38 To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths while we Unburdened crawl toward death. Our son of   Cornwall, And you, our no less loving son of Albany, We have this hour a constant will to publish 43 Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife 44 May be prevented now. The princes, France and   Burgundy, Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love, Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn And here are to be answered. Tell me, my   daughters-- Since now we will divest us both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state-- 50 Which of you shall we say doth love us most, That we our largest bounty may extend 53 Where . . . challenge where both natural affection and merit claim our bounty as its due. 56 space, and liberty possession of land, and freedom of action 59 found i.e., found himself to be loved 60 breath . . . unable utterance impoverished and speech inadequate. 64 shadowy shady..   champains riched fertile plains 65 plenteous . . . meads abundant rivers bordered with wide meadows 69 that self mettle that same spirited temperament 70 prize . . . worth value myself as her equal (in love for you). (Prize suggests "price.") 71 names . . . love describes my love in action 72 that in that 74 Which . . . possesses which the most delicately sensitive part of my nature can enjoy 75 felicitate made happy 78 ponderous weighty 81 validity value..   pleasure pleasing features Where nature doth with merit challenge? Goneril, 53 Our eldest born, speak first. GONERIL Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, 56 Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare, No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor; As much as child e'er loved, or father found; 59 A love that makes breath poor and speech unable. 60 Beyond all manner of so much I love you. CORDELIA [aside] What shall Cordelia speak? Love and be silent. LEAR [indicating on map] Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, With shadowy forests and with champains riched, 64 With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, 65 We make thee lady. To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.--What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall? Speak. REGAN I am made of that self mettle as my sister, 69 And prize me at her worth. In my true heart 70 I find she names my very deed of love; 71 Only she comes too short, that I profess 72 Myself an enemy to all other joys Which the most precious square of sense possesses, 74 And find I am alone felicitate 75 In your dear Highness' love. CORDELIA  [aside] Then poor Cordelia! And yet not so, since I am sure my love's More ponderous than my tongue. 78 LEAR To thee and thine hereditary ever Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom, No less in space, validity, and pleasure 81 83 least youngest 84 vines vineyards.   milk pastures (?) 85 be interessed be affiliated, establish a claim, be admitted as to a privilege. draw win 93 bond filial obligation 97 right fit proper and fitting 100 all exclusively, and with all of themselves..   Haply Perhaps, with luck 101 plight pledge in marriage Than that conferred on Goneril.--Now, our joy, Although our last and least, to whose young love 83 The vines of France and milk of Burgundy 84 Strive to be interessed, what can you say to draw 85 A third more opulent than your sisters'? Speak. CORDELIA  Nothing, my lord. LEAR  Nothing? CORDELLA  Nothing. LEAR Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again. CORDELIA Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love Your Majesty According to my bond, no more nor less. 93 LEAR How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little, Lest you may mar your fortunes. CORDELIA Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, loved me. I Return those duties back as are right fit, 97 Obey you, love you, and most honor you. Why have my sisters husbands if they say They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed, 100 That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry 101 Half my love with him, half my care and duty. Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, To love my father all. LEAR But goes thy heart with this? CORDELIA Ay, my good lord. LEAR  So young, and so untender? CORDELIA  So young, my lord, and true. LEAR Let it be so! Thy truth then be thy dower! 110 mysteries secret rites..   Hecate goddess of witchcraft and the moon 111 operation influence..   orbs planets and stars 112 From whom under whose influence 114 Propinquity . . . blood close kinship, and rights and duties entailed in blood ties 116 his this time forth..   Scythian (Scythians were famous in antiquity for savagery.) 117 makes . . . messes makes meals of his children or parents 119 neighbored helped in a neighborly way 120 sometime former 123 set my rest rely wholly. (A phrase from a game of cards, meaning "to stake all.") 124 nursery nursing, care. avoid get out of 125 So . . . peace, as As I hope to rest peacefully in my grave 126 Who stirs? i.e., Jump to it; don't just stand there. 128 digest assimilate, incorporate 129 Let . . . her Let pride, which she calls plain speaking, be her dowry and get her a husband. 131 effects outward shows 132 troop with accompany, serve..   Ourself (The royal "we.") 133 With reservation of reserving to myself the right to be attended by 136 th'addition the honors and prerogatives 137 sway sovereign authority 139 coronet (Perhaps Lear gestures toward this coronet that was to have symbolized Cordelia's dowry and marriage, or hands it to his sons-in-law, or actually attempts to divide it.) For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate and the night, 110 By all the operation of the orbs 111 From whom we do exist and cease to be, 112 Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity, and property of blood, 114 And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee from this forever. The barbarous Scythian, 116 Or he that makes his generation messes 117 To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom Be as well neighbored, pitied, and relieved 119 As thou my sometime daughter. KENT Good my liege-- 120 LEAR  Peace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I loved her most, and thought to set my rest 123 On her kind nursery. [To Cordelia] Hence, and avoid   my sight!-- 124 So be my grave my peace, as here I give 125 Her father's heart from her. Call France. Who stirs? 126 Call Burgundy. [Exit one.] Cornwall and Albany, With my two daughters' dowers digest the third. 128 Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. 129 I do invest you jointly with my power, Preeminence, and all the large effects 131 That troop with majesty. Ourself by monthly course, 132 With reservation of an hundred knights 133 By you to be sustained, shall our abode Make with you by due turns. Only we shall retain The name and all th'addition to a king. 136 The sway, revenue, execution of the rest, 137 Beloved sons, be yours, which to confirm, This coronet part between you. KENT Royal Lear, 139 Whom I have ever honored as my king, 143 Make from Get out of the way of 144 fall strike..   fork barbed head of an arrow 149 To . . . bound Loyalty demands frankness 150 Reserve thy state Retain your royal authority 151 And . . . check and with wise deliberation restrain 152 Answer . . . judgment I wager my life on my judgment that 155 Reverb no hollowness do not reverberate like a hollow drum, insincerely. 156-7 My . . . wage I never regarded my life other than as a pledge to hazard in warfare 158 motive that which prompts me to act. 160 The true . . . eye i.e., the means to enable you to see better. (Blank means "the white center of the target," or, "the true direct aim," as in "point-blank," traveling in a straight line.) 164 vassal i.e., wretch..   Miscreant (Literally, infidel, heretic; hence, villain, rascal.) Loved as my father, as my master followed, As my great patron thought on in my prayers-- LEAR The bow is bent and drawn. Make from the shaft. 143 KENT Let it fall rather, though the fork invade 144 The region of my heart. Be Kent unmannerly When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man? Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor's bound 149 When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state, 150 And in thy best consideration check 151 This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment, 152 Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those emptyhearted whose low sounds Reverb no hollowness. LEAR   Kent, on thy life, no more. 155 KENT My life I never held but as a pawn 156 To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it, 157 Thy safety being motive. LEAR   Out of my sight! 158 KENT See better, Lear, and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye. 160 LEAR  Now, by Apollo-- KENT  Now, by Apollo, King, Thou swear'st thy gods in vain. LEAR  Oh, vassal! Miscreant! 164 [Laying his hand on his sword.] ALBANY, CORNWALL  Dear sir, forbear. KENT Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow 170 recreant traitor 171 That In that, since 172 strained excessive 173 To . . . power i.e., to block my power to command and judge 174 Which . . . place which neither my temperament nor my office as king 175 Our . . . good my power enacted, demonstrated 180 trunk body 183 Sith Since 187 your . . . approve may your deeds confirm your speeches with their vast claims 190 shape . . . course follow his traditional plainspoken ways. 190.1 Flourish Trumpet fanfare used for the entrance or exit of important persons 193 address address myself Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift, Or whilst I can vent clamor from my throat I'll tell thee thou dost evil. LEAR Hear me, recreant, on thine allegiance hear me! 170 That thou hast sought to make us break our vows, 171 Which we durst never yet, and with strained pride 172 To come betwixt our sentence and our power, 173 Which nor our nature nor our place can bear, 174 Our potency made good, take thy reward. 175 Five days we do allot thee for provision To shield thee from disasters of the world, And on the sixth to turn thy hated back Upon our kingdom. If on the tenth day following Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions, 180 The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter, This shall not be revoked. Excerpted from King Lear by William Shakespeare All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 6
William Shakespeare: life, plays, theater, versep. 8
King Lear: date, sources, textp. 15
King Lear
Original text and modern versionp. 17
Activitiesp. 286
Charactersp. 286
Structure, themes and imageryp. 301
Textual questionsp. 305
Examination questionsp. 309
One-word-answer quizp. 311
What's missing?p. 313