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Title: Pagan and christian elements in "King Lear"
Authors: Azzopardi, John
Keywords: Lear, King of England (Legendary character) -- Drama
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. King Lear
Paganism in literature
Christianity in literature
Issue Date: 1983
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Theology
Citation: Azzopardi, J. (1983). Pagan and christian elements in "King Lear". Melita Theologica, 34(1-2), 63-74.
Abstract: King Lear is the climax of Shakespearean tragedy. It is also the best transition play between the tragedies and the last plays. In King Lear we have the work of a mature poet and dramatist, such that if we may find Shakespeare's settled opinion on our subject in anyone play it is best to look for it, I think, in King Lear. Aristotle gave greater weight to tragedy than to history because tragedy deals with universals, history with particulars. Though a tragedy could be constructed on a single tragic event, the Elizabethan no less than the Greek playwright sought to penetrate to the universal world of guilt, passion and justice. In King Lear we witness the actions not of ancient Britons, but of humanity; we see not England, but the world. Both Greek and Elizabethan tragedy had religious origins; speculation on the ways of God to men was, therefore, an intrinsic part in them. The moralities were contemporary with the early Elizabethan drama so that the religious element in tragedy was not foreign. King Lear is in many ways a religious play,more than Hamlet or Macbeth. Shakespeare's other equally religious play is Measure for Measure.
Appears in Collections:MT - Volume 34, Issue 1-2 - 1983
MT - Volume 34, Issue 1-2 - 1983

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