“Sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” –Lear 1.4.295

Well at least I learned modern American families aren’t the most messed up in history.Royal families in medieval times are giving us a real run for the money.
When I watch a scary movie, or go back over a traumatic event, I don’t usually remember all of it.That’s nothing special, but rather part of a well-documented human reaction to suffering, drown it out.
To be honest, I think King Lear is a heart wrencher extraordinaire, even by Shakespeare standards.The tragedy of family love, the horrible struggle for power, the sad degradation of a mind, the inability to “go back” and undo a terrible decision, the manipulation of others through lies and sexual power, and an orgy of death at the end of the play.I mean, there is very, very little silver lining in the cloud folks.
This is a heart breaking play, and as I read it and cringed I asked myself why it isn’t more well known.There are few strong characters in this play (I like Kent the best, he’s feisty and loyal, but one could argue he’s just a pawn of the king).I pity Lear more than I respect him.He makes rash and impulsive decisions and easily swings into moments of extreme ire.He appears to lack control of his emotions and makes questionable decisions.The daughters are bizarre, intoxicated by power and not that believable.Even Cordelia isn’t a fully rounded character.She has a moment of strength in the opening scene, then she turns into another very hollow female character that lacks depth as the play progresses.
Maybe it’s me, but Lear just didn’t do it for me this time through.I’m going to have a read a comedy next just to wash this out my memory.I’ll certainly revist this down the road, perhaps I lack the life experience in terms of being a parent to appreciate this play.

Come not between the dragon and his wrath . –Lear 1.1.124
My life I never held but as a pawn / To wage against thine enemies. –Kent (1.1.155)
[In response to how old are you?] Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for anything.I have years on my back forth-eight. -Kent 1.4.38
I have seen better faces in my time / than stand on any shoulder that I see / before me at this instant -Kent. 2.2.49
We are not ourselves when nature, being oppressed, commands the mind to surfer with the body. –Lear 2.4.110 (an interesting point that says essentially if we make the body suffer our mind is at ease, see two quotes below)
To willful men the injuries that they themselves procure must be their schoolmasters.Shut up your doors.–Regan 2.4.300
When the mind’s free the body’s delicate.The tempest in my mind doth from my senses all feelings else save what beats there.3.4.13
[This is why Lear is weird, perhaps the strangest cheer up speech I’ve ever heard]Wipe thine eyes; the good years shall devour them, flesh and fell, ere they shall make us weep.We’ll see ‘em starved first. 5.3.22