King Lear Play vs. Movie Essay

1860 Words Aug 17th, 2010 8 Pages
King Lear

Summer Reading Report # 1

Alejandro Ramirez

July 28, 2010

Mrs. Colton

King Lear by William Shakespeare tells the tragedy of Lear, King of England, who slowly, throughout the course of the play becomes mad and eventually dies. There have been many film adaptations of the play all of which try and remain as close to the original play; however, none appear to keep the same meaning of Shakespeare’s text more than director Richard Eyre’s film version of King Lear (1997). Shakespeare focuses in on each character’s flaws and their contributions to the consequences at the end of the play and although Eyre does the same in his film, he adds minor actions and scenes to the play to give characters of the play a light
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This makes the audience view Lear as obviously superior to Kent and it also demonstrates the total control and power Lear has over Kent by banishing his servant. The remainders of Act I and Act II in Eyre’s film focus on the conflict between Lear and his two daughters, Goneril and Regan. Goneril and Regan begin looking down on their father and take away more of his privileges every chance that they get. They reduce Lear’s hundred knights down to fifty. Goneril and Regan’s tone of voice when arguing with Lear about reducing his number of knights down is vehement. Goneril complains about how the palace seems more like a tavern because of Lear’s knights’ demeanor, her voice quivers slightly, making it seem like she doesn’t want to have to argue with her father, in the play this change of tone is absent. This suggests that although Goneril cares more about the way others see her and material objects than the safety of her father. Both Shakespeare and Eyre emphasize the consequences of Lear’s choice to give up his power and give it to his two eldest daughters, Regan and Goneril. In Act III, a violent storm had broken out. Lear, not wanting to dismiss any of his knights, refused to stay with either of his daughters and headed out into the storm. It is out in the storm, where Lear and Kent meet Poor Tom (Edgar). Lear seeing Poor Tom, with no luxury admires him and tries to imitate his style.
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