Notes on Lear. King Lear can be looked at in many ways ' as an Aristotelian tragedy, a family drama, a psychological drama, a Freudian interpretation as a comedy of the grotesque and a feminist interpretation as a patriarchal play. Tyranny and rejection between parents and children can lead to extreme cruelty, suffering and madness. In the 20 th century Lear has been re-evaluated ' where it was once see as un actable, it is now regarded as a relevant, popular and effect ible play. The movement away from a strictly Christian or nihilistic interpretation is towards a version which celebrates the play's complexity and its courage in attempting to reflect the mysteries and ambiguities of both life and humanity. Freud's interpretation saw Cordelia's silence as representing death and Lear's rejection of her silence as his unwillingness to face death.
There is great controversy over whether Lear is pessimistic or optimistic. Feminist reading of King Lear: feminist scholars have challenged precious notions and assumptions about man's destiny' in a tragic universe. In 1981, Marianne Novy called for radical reappraisal of the plays, claiming that feminist critics had responded to Shakespeare with the loyalty that a dutiful daughter might have for a parent'. Feminist critics have not responded to the Shakespeare establishment as Cordelia does to Lear's demand for her filial devotion.
Instead of saying nothing they have criticised the question, challenged Lear's position as patriarch, reconsidered the position of women in Renaissance society. A misogynistic representation of women in King Lear can be seen. The female characters in the play are either demonic or saintly. Goneril and Regan are portrayed a despicable, demonic women while Cordelia is a virtuous, angelic daughter.
King Lear is a play about the perpetuation of patriarchal power and sexual inequality. Kathleen Mckuskie ' King Lear dramatists a connection between sexual insubordination and political anarchy. The order of the state is seen to depend upon careful regulation of sexual and family relationships. When Lear rages against the collapse of order, it is women's lust that is blamed as the cause of chaos and corruption.
Cordelia's enduring love is not a virtue that redeems nature' but a response that restores patriarchal authority. Resistance to emotional power of the play to compel us to sympathise with Lear, and urges us to exchange the pleasure of identification for the pleasure of critical insight and Page 2 understanding. Her aim is to interrogate, rather than accept, the views of gender and sexuality that inform King Lear. Copp elia Kahan ' psychoanalytical reading of the play. The absent mother' allows one to see King Lear as a tragedy of masculinity.
Lear's progress is not towards spiritual redemption but towards a recognition and acceptance of the woman in himself'. The tragic power if the play issues from its awareness of the terrible human price paid by a society that represses female instincts and feelings. Regan and Goneril betray and disappoint Lear by not being mothers to him', their behaviour issues from their masculine instincts'. Lear as a religious play.