Superflux and Silence in Shakespeare's 'King Lear'

William Christie

Abstract


This article outlines and develops the Romantic understanding of Shakespeare's King Lear, looking at the variety and virtuosity of language in the play and at the way its language tends towards both superflux and its opposite, silence. Opening with the Romantic attempt to reclaim the play from its attenuated version on the eighteenth-century stage and to exalt it as the consummation of the Shakespeare canon, the article uses Romantic criticism to recover the existential provocation represented by the play in its attempts to take the measure of an equivocal human nature.

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