Students' queries and replies in a school study of Shakespeare's King Lear

No obligation can be undertaken for material appearing here. It is offered not as definitive but as responsive.

30 Apr 2001
i am a year 12 student currently doing an assessment on king lear.
i am finding it rather difficult and challenging.
I have been asked to rewrite a soliloquy from the play in contemporary perspective but maintaining the same tone.
i was thinking of edmund's soliloquy from act 5 scene 1, but simply dont know where to begin. its hard to make a 2 min soliloquy run for 4min!!! im finding the whole shakespeare language concept rather hard to grasp. If you could possibly help me in any way it would be greatly appreciated. im running out of time
thaks for your time
well done with the site
yes this too is a good one but the problem is i have to rewrite it in modern perspective adding my own parts!
> i understand that the soliloquy is indicating Edmund's basic attitude for life, and to him nature signifies a world without legitemacy. He relishes the notion of being a bastard.
> It indicates Edmund's total absense of a controlling metaphysical component to human life.
> We are being assessed on clarity, tone, etc. but most of all textual knowledge, so how do I incorporate my knowledge of the text into Edmund's soliloquy?
> This is just an example of what we are suposed to be on the lines of doing:
> "This is the excellent floppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune, often the surfiet of our own behaviour etc"
> and we have to rewrite it thus:
> "it is the overwhelming vast foolishness of this world, that when things are not going the way we like, often the overindulgence of our own behaviour
> Do you understand what I mean? The language barrier is killing me, and I simply am not creative or confident enough with my writing to express all my knowledge in a way in which I accomplish the task properly. I am worried as soon I run out of time
> thanks for being so willing to help
> alisha
Dear inquirer,
I agree - modern perspective is hard to create.
What famous bastards boast about it today?
Could you refer to them? or current events? eg. Monika Lewinski's baby?
'Total absence of metaphysics' - yes there's plenty of irreligious stances to take up: pragmatism, etc.
I fear your example of the rephrasing is NOT what is expected.
There is a low level task and relatively unproductive. Rather,
Couch it in terms contemporary people would understand, like:

From: Jess D
> Dear Sir,
>I have just been looking over your Lear website and found it very
> useful. I am currently in year 12 in Sydney, doing Lear for the HSC. I was
> wondering what you think of the specimen question we have been given:
> Every new reading of Lear implies a reconcideration of the way
> audiences value and respond to the play" Discuss this statement with
> reference to one scene and outline it's impact on the play as a whole. I'm a little confused with what direction I should take with my answer, and I was hopeing you could help me out.Thanks for your time.
Hi Jess,
This seems to be just a variation on 'relevance to every age' type questions.
See my "Relevance" and "Objections" pages.
Every generation reads it with their particular context in mind just as Shakespeare's audiences heard it with their own historical contexts in mind: see my comments click here.
Suggest you stick to one scene say, Lear on the Heath, or Edgar and Gloucester on the
supposed cliffs of Dover
and list your reactions as a modern reader
Compare them with what what said, intended and possible readings.
Modern scientific, 'psychological' views will differ.
Why not study the various websites I've listed showing actors portraying
Lear in various ways, or see the four or five versions of Lear I got at the video shop (Schofield, BBC, etc) Or find a history of how the play was done e.g., the 19th century dropped the eye torture as too serious? We are also disgusted such violence whereas the groundlings 1606 thrived on
it. Read the Friedlander site too. Bradley's essay at and keep hitting 'Next' to follow the discussion.


thanks for the address. You aked me what specifically helped me with my study -
that was your character appraisals, themes and motifs, lins to other lear sites
(especially helpful) and notes on Bradley.
Keep up the good work

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