Coherence and Incoherence in 'King Lear'

Michael Orange


King Lear offers so many meanings that at times it may appear to overwhelm audiences and readers, as well as its own characters, with an exhausted sense of meaninglessness. At times it takes on the status of an agonized religio-moral seminar conducted by refugees during a bombing-raid. Indeed, utter lack of meaning in life and hence in art is one of the possibilities that the play dramatizes. Nonetheless, a competition between meanings is not the same thing as meaninglessness and it is perhaps the abundance of potential meanings on offer, the number of possible interpretations which the play puts forward about itself, that leads at times to a sense of incoherence.

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