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).
King Lear on Librivox.org
King Lear on youtube.com (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: 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)