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Forum namePass The Popcorn
Topic subjectRE: I say he was certainly raised that way.
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=6&topic_id=229285&mesg_id=229453
229453, RE: I say he was certainly raised that way.
Posted by Walleye, Thu Nov-09-06 05:39 PM
>However, in terms of King Lear, I'd say that it's less
>Calvinism and more heavily influenced by the passing of
>Elizabeth. Shakespeare was almost certainly acquainted with
>Elizabeth, and I would say felt a certain fondness for her--
>she was after all his most famous fan, and she was the queen
>during Shakespeare's entire life up to that point. There is a
>notable shift in Shakespeare's stylistic choices, and it's
>around this time that he wrote the great tragedies. He shows a
>certain contempt for royalty for a period while Elizabeth was
>dying and after her death when James took the throne. I'd say
>especially in King Lear, this helplessness that can certainly
>be interpreted as a type of Calvinism is a result of the
>changing of the throne and the general uncertainty in the air
>if England could be run as smoothly as it did under Elizabeth
>(note that three of the four great tragedies deal heavily with
>succession of kingship and the problems that come with it).

Maybe I'm sitting too far out on the "it's *always* about God" branch, but if I want (roughly) contemporary examples of apprehension over political uncertainty, I can look at Montaigne and, to a lesser degree, Don Quijote. King Lear seems like a wholly different level of fretting than those two.

What I see in Lear is terror on a slightly grander scale. I guess it's not really appropriate for me to call it Calvinism, but he walks the line between God's sovreignty and God's hiddenness in so much the same way as Calvin does in "The Institutes". It's the examples in nature - that God's will is *actively* holding the physical universe together and that his will (in Lear's pre-Christian setting at least. for Calvin that's a whole different bag of marbles) is utterly inscrutable.

But... I don't know. I know you're right about succession. But it seems sort of neurotic to apply such cosmic tragedy to something relatively benign like political succession. I realize that it was a totally different sort of event in early modern Europe than it is now, but it's all still a bit much.

You certainly arrived at the right conclusion, though. I'll score another one for the papists.