King Lear

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King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare considered to be one of his greatest works, in which the title character descends into madness from the consequences of foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king. It has been widely adapted for stage and screen, with the role of Lear played by many of the world's most accomplished actors.

The play is believed to have been written between 1603 and 1606 and later revised. The earlier version, The True Chronicle of the History of the Life and Death of King Lear and His Three Daughters, appeared in quarto in 1608. The Tragedy of King Lear, a more theatrical version, first appeared in the First Folio in 1623. Modern editors usually conflate the two versions, although some argue that each version has its individual integrity that should be preserved.[1]

After the Restoration, the play was often modified with a happy ending by theatre practitioners who disliked its dark and depressing tone, but since the 19th century it has been regarded as one of Shakespeare's supreme achievements. The tragedy is particularly noted for its probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.


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