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Book Review On King Lear

King Lear is one of the four great tragedies written by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is one of the most renowned English writers of all time. As with many different works of Shakespeare, the general themes of life, death and nature are prevalent throughout the play.

Of course, being written in ‘Ye’ Old English,’ it isn’t a piece of literature that just anyone can read. In fact, it highly recommends that you have a dictionary on hand when reading the play. Even for people who have a firm grasp of the English language have trouble with Shakespeare.

King Lear, in essence, is about humility, hubris, and the process of which King Lear goes from the arrogant man that he is and becomes a more humbled version through the plights and conflicts presented to him throughout the play. Additionally, other relevant themes are prevalent throughout the game including; rule vs chaos, justice vs mercy, redemption, family, man vs nature, nature and gods.

These are themes usually present within most of Shakespeare’s plays, however, within King Lear these issues are abundant.


Regarding character development, Shakespeare is a master. He indeed creates living sculptures within his literary devices to capture the essence of what a human being is. Even the antagonist, Edmund, comes off as ‘human.’ It’s hard to hate someone when he douses with sympathy, despite the fact that he’s the textual “villain” of the story.

Shakespeare managed to capture the very essence of humanity within every character. Even ones that don’t seem as important provide a unique angle to the story that furthers the plot and creates a more intricate tale telling mechanism that means something to the reader.

Regarding writing style, it is quite difficult for those who don’t dominate the English language and even painful for those who do. To fully understand everything you’ll have to slowly read the lines, make sure you know what they are saying and don’t be afraid to look up the meaning of the words in a dictionary. These days people use their phones so having a dictionary on hand isn’t too complicated.

Nonetheless, the transition you as the reader experience as King Lear goes from being a prominent nobleman to a raging lunatic, ultimately holding the dead body of his excellent daughter in his arms will make you question your morality.

It is the power of well-written literature. We see the characters through our reactionary perceptive filters. What this does is allow us to relate to the events that are occurring within the plains of fantasy, allowing us to question our moral fabric without having to risk any compromise within our moral structure.


King Lear beautifully captures the essence of humanity and lays it out on the table for all to see. There are many personal lessons one could take away from it if you allow yourself to dive deep into the literature.

I know that some people would probably be dismayed by the language barrier. However, it is worth a read.

Out of all of the four great tragedies of Shakespeare, King Lear is probably the rawest of them all. Of course, Shakespeare also has gruesome tales such as Titus, but that’s a whole other story.

Even compared to Hamlet, which is probably one of his most renowned works alongside Romeo and Juliet, King Lear is, in my opinion, the best. There is a broad sense of reality interweaved between the lines that speak to the very essence of your spirit.

I guess this is why Shakespeare is so renowned. He managed to tap into the core of what it means to be human. He sheds light in the darkness within our beings that we would much rather hide out of plain sight. King Lear takes those “dark thoughts” and places them out in the open for everyone to see.

I think one of the underlying notes within King Lear is that our perception is limited to our experience. As King Lear undergoes his transformation, new paradigms are instilled expanding his knowledge of the world as it is and not as how he perceived it.

However, ultimately King Lear is a story of redemption and reconciliation. It’s about facing your demons and coming out the victor.

If you haven’t read King Lear, I highly recommend that you do. If you allow yourself to be taken in by the story, you too can discover a sliver of the darkness that resides in all of us. Perhaps, your transformation won’t be as lunatic as that of King Lear.


Joan Young
Joan Young is an aspiring journalist and copywriter with deep interest in literature, sociology, inventions and technological progress. When not traveling, she provides online tutoring sessions to international students and finds immense pleasure in witnessing their writing progress. Some of her insights can be found in her author’s column on

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