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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shakespeare: King Lear

This play is one of the few of Shakespeare´s that can be pinpointed exactly as to when it was written. Isn't it cool to know that this play was performed for King James and his Court in the Christmas holidays of 1606?! And here we are nearing the same time of year ourselves! Interestingly, written into the play, there is a probable reference made by Gloucester to several eclipses that took place in 1605! A story familiar to many of the time, it is taken from a well known fable that was commonly inserted into an undocumented period of English history (which we read about last year in Birth of Britain), is actually referred to in Spenser´s Fairie Queen (which we are reading this year!! ...connections galore!), and had already been made into a play prior to Shakespeare´s version.

Despite the fact that the commentary I read said this play is a particularly difficult one, I still think this is going to be one of my favorite plays so far. It may even come to be a close rival to Cymbeline. The consequences of unchecked pride and unbridled anger are brought to our attention by means of a captivating story. I can´t wait to get further!

I´ve worked out three options for scheduling the play over a 12-week term. See/print the alternate schedules here. We'll read the play in 9wks. We'll include an intro, informal play & movie, if I can find a good version. Here's the schedule we'll follow:

Week 1: Intro: (read Lamb's? draw character map)
Week 2: Act 1, Scene 1
Week 3: Act 1, Scene 2 - 4
Week 4: Act 1, Scene 5 – Act 2, Scene 2
Week 5: Act 2, Scene 3 – 4
Week 6: Act 3, Scene 1 – 6
Week 7: Act 3, Scene 7 – Act 4, Scene 3
Week 8: Act 4, Scene 4 – 6
Week 9: Act 4, Scene 7 – Act 5, Scene 2
Week 10: Act 5, Scene 3
Week 11: Informal play
Week 12: Perform recitations chosen from selected excerpts OR watch movie of play (if applicable).

helpful links:
King Lear on
King Lear on (1971 version) - Parents should preview, I have not.
AO Shakespeare Rotation
Site that highlights monologues from Shakespeare's plays - men's parts, women's parts - (thanks, Nancy!)
Shakespeare: Cymbeline
Shakespeare: for all ages
What's so great about Shakespeare?
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bard? (...seeing local performances adds immensely to the Shakespearean experience)


Catherine Falce said...

This is fabulous.  We haven't read King Lear yet, but I'm sure we will be checking in here when we do.

I just dropped by after reading you're hosting the next Homeschool High School Carnival.  (I just finished my post.)

I'm loving reading your blog, and look forward to reading more!

Catherine (Australia)

Christy Hissong said...

XOXO, Amy! We've got King Lear scheduled for Term 3 and soooooo appreciate your links and schedule ;) One question: When you say "Informal play" in Week 11, do you mean your family acting it out? Watching the BBC's animated tales on YouTube? Please advise! We always read Marchette Chute's retelling of the play in Week 1 (like Lamb's but more to our taste), but I love the idea of a character map at this point, too -- you rock! Thanks for sharing, Christy in TN

leahrc said...

Thank you for the links!  We're doing Macbeth this semester and A Comedy of Errors next semester, but I will mark this for when we do King Lear. :-)

amyinperu said...

hey Christy! yep, you got it! informal play means within our family, but a CM support group w/in their group, or a co-op could do it within a co-op, etc. in our case, the kids know that the play is coming, so they can make plans themselves to do costumes and such if they want to, but otherwise, i think it will be VERY informal, as in, we'll pick out an act or scene to bring to life that week. i know lindafay's kids have rewritten and adapted scripts and all, which i would love if my kids did. but informal means, i'll leave it up to them how involved they want to get. ;)
i would think of a more formal rendition if my kids really got into it this term. i'd then plan it for next term or next year. then we could write a script, make a set and costumes - the whole works. maybe even film it. but that would take more planning and practices would probably need to be spread over a whole term... this is just my thinking based especially on the workshop from childlight last year :)
obviously, if there were a local performance that would be REALLY cool. and as to the youtube, yeah, i mean any acceptable (kid-friendly) version. i just happen to only have access to youtube, but others will have access to better resources in addition :) if you know of a better youtube link, please send it on!

Amy Tuttle said...

i just thought i'd add real quick as a sidenote: many find this play the most difficult of shakespeare's works, as i mentioned in the post. many find it difficult because of its complicated plot and content. please use caution with your younger readers if you decide to read straight from shakespeare. though if you go ahead, the wonderful thing about that is, many things go right over their heads. :)

anyway. here are some additional links that will probably come in handy (thanks AO forum!)...
King Lear DVD by BJU

Quotes from King Lear (shorter and better than the other monologue site for this particular play)

Bill Shakespeare said...

 I think it's
great that you make Shakespeare part of your home school curriculum. I am the
creator of a website to help find Shakespeare monologues called


I was hoping you
would consider sharing my site with your readers and students.  Also, if you had any comments
or suggestions about the site I would love the opportunity to make it better
for you.



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