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By S. L. Goldberg

Professor Goldberg deals a examining of King Lear that avoids the pitfall possible choices of idealism, moralism, absurdism, and redemptionist sentimentality. He sees the play as a problem to our judgment of right and wrong and our want for a sense of common justice, yet as undercutting all effortless solutions. That it doesn't enable them is considered one of its details. The essay lines a constructing reaction to the full of the motion because it proceeds, making no untimely judgments. It springs from a thought of experience of what a poetic drama is and the way it really works: in particular the way it offers 'character' and the way the perspectives of the characters relate to the entire goal of the play and the author's personal imaginative and prescient of lifestyles. Many readers tend to imagine this the main passable try they've got but learn to do justice to this nice play; simply because Professor Goldberg responds to it with intelligence and sensitivity, simply because he doesn't impose a ready-made that means on it, and since he has thought of Shakespearean drama in a manner which makes this short publication a different level within the background of feedback in view that Bradley and Wilson Knight.

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Sample text

Each becomes locked in his self-conscious ego, and one driven ego becomes locked hard against the other: one imperfect consciousness against the other, one tightly knotted will against the other . . Two wrongs don't make a right, but people who are close are often willing to take them as a very acceptable substitute. IV One reason why the next meeting of these particular 'hard hearts5 - the reconciliation scene at the end of Act I v - is so moving is that each does simply yield, not only to the other but also to itself, both of them at last releasing what has been visible to us all along.

Shakespeare's characters (like any great dramatist's) are symbolic, as Wilson Knight insisted; but that does not make them mere symbols. Since the characters' experience must, in essentials at least, seem humanly real, it must seem to be really theirs, not just a put-up job by the author. This is not to deny that dramaticfigurescan be symbolic in many different ways, but it does mean that whatever else they 40 SIGHT, VISION', AND ACTION are made to symbolize, they symbolize primarily the kind of experience, attitudes, and values that the whole play makes us see embodied in their consciousness, actions, sufferings, inter-relationships, and conflicts.

Character5, he has insisted, is essentially the embodiment of a 'spiritual and psychological state with which the given experience is confronted5, or more accurately, the embodiment of a'possibility of living5, away of encountering the universe; and it is at once expressed and criticized both in the poetry given to the character to speak and in the dramatic interplay of such 'possibilities5 with each other. To have seen this and stated it so clearly is itself a notable contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare; and as Knights has argued, it means that we must treat the tragedies as 'imaginative wholes rather than as dramatic constructions designed to exhibit "character55, however fascinating5, and not allow 'conventional "sympathy for the hero55 .

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