Find all the pieces from our new supplement hereby Sameer Rahim / December 15, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
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In King Lear, Shakespeare took an old story about the disintegration of Britain and re-fashioned it for the Jacobean era.
As James Shapiro writes in his book 1606, published last year, England and Scotland were in an uneasy alliance under James I. Shortly before the play was performed, extremist Catholics had tried to assassinate James. He was accused of giving away too much power to his favourites. What better time for a play that showed an unwise king ceding authority to his daughters, recognising his folly (“Oh, I have ta’en / Too little care of this!” he says of his homeless subjects) and eventually being reinstated with his daughter Cordelia by his side?