Last Thursday we watched the “Storm” sequence in Peter Brook’s & Paul Scofield’s King Lear (1971).
Storm: Afterwards we talked about ways directors and readers can imagine the storm. Brook’s storm is both literal and figurative (if not entirely realistic owing to technological constraints). We compared the storm outside to all the weeping in the play (Lear 7.434-37; Edgar 13.54-55; Eye Gouging in Scene 14; Cordelia’s tears in the First Gentleman’s report 17.14-16; and Lear, “Why, this would make a man of salt/To use his eyes for garden water-pots,/Ay, and laying autumn’s dust” (20.184-86); and, of course the tears the audience sheds). I asked, what does the storm convey that words cannot? And, is the storm magical, unnatural, or manmade?
Edgar (Natural Man): What sorts of stories does he tell about himself and why (Scenes 11 & 15); and Lear’s famous phrase,”Unaccomodated man” (11.96) and the question of nakedness as pertains to ways to distinguish man from nonhuman things.
Q1 v. F1: near the end of class I mention several scenes/passage we read for Thursday and today occur only in Q1 (1608) and not in the “revised” Folio (1623). The following are some Q1 only passages/scenes:
- The arraignment sequence in the hovel: 12.15-49
- Edgar’s final speech that begins, “When we our betters bearing our woes” (12.91-105
- Gloucester’s two servants planning to help him after he looses his eyes (14.95-110)
- Albany’s part in Scene 16 is reduced by 50 or so lines
- Scene 17 where Kent meets with the [First Gentleman] and he gives his report of Cordelia’s response to Lear’s transformation; and the Folio version cuts another exchange between Kent and the [First] Gentleman, 21.77-95.
- In Q1, Albany gets the last lines of the play and in F1 Edgar speaks them, “The weight of this sad time we must obey,/Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say./The oldest hath borne most. We that are young/Shall never see so much, nor live so long” (24.298-301).
Part I. Group Activity
- 1. Kelsey, Madison, Patrick, Hannah P, & June
- 2. Beau, Ainee, Hannah M., Caroline, & Sun
- 3. Robert, Kira, Sarah, Nicholas, & Jeffrey
- 4. Isabelle, Shamala, Thomas, Danny, & Tony
- 5. Angeline, Chan, Alexandra, & Bailey
There sure are a lot of letters in King Lear. Complete the following to explain why:
Trace some of the letters sent throughout the play, compare their content, and use your findings to draft a claim about the function of the almost hyperbolic exchange of letters in King Lear.
Part II. Discussion: King Lear and Contemporary Environmental Crisis
What sorts of connections did you make between the play and current natural events/crisis? What sorts of language is used to describe contemporary events? How does that succeed and/or fail? What themes, images, and/or relationships does the play provide to help us figure nature in the modern world and redress natural problems?