Classic of the Month: King Lear

KingLearKing Lear by William Shakespeare

Published by Signet in June 1998

Genres: Classics, Fiction, Plays, Drama

Pages: 275 Format: Paperback Source: Library

2/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

King Lear, growing old and too tired to reign, decides to divide his realm amongst his three daughters, leaving the largest share to the one who loves him the most. His two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, foolish and deceitful children, are rewarded for their insincere flattery. His youngest daughter, Cordelia, however, speaks honestly and truthfully, which enrages the old king. He disinherits Cordelia, and then drives himself to madness, left to wander the heath with only his Fool, his servant Caius, and the madman Tom O’Bedlam for company. Once reunited with Cordelia, Lear is too late, repents his rashness, and must face the tragic consequences of his choices.


William Shakespeare’s King Lear brings us a story of three daughters vying for their father’s fortune and the tumultuous situations that come from this. It’s a tale of mistakes and regret, on being swayed by outside voices, and letting decisions ruin lives.

When I Discovered This Classic

I’ve obviously heard about most of William Shakespeare’s work during high school and college but this one didn’t stick in my mind until I read the Lear scenes in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Why I Chose To Read It

Not to sound like a broken record, but it was short and I ran out of time in July yet again. There are just too many books to fit into each month!

What Makes It A Classic

Well it is William Shakespeare after all. He has such a diverse set of writings, from comedies to tragedies, and his stories have lasted the ages.

What I Thought Of This Classic

I was not a big fan of King Lear, if I’m being honest. It didn’t hold my attention, the story was pretty dry, and it felt like nothing was happening. Lear and his three daughters didn’t develop for me and I struggled to feel a connection to the narrative. Plays are often hit or miss with me and King Lear was a definite miss. I’ve enjoyed a bunch of Shakespeare’s other plays though so maybe this was the lone wolf.

Will It Stay A Classic

Nothing by William Shakespeare will magically come off the classic list. His works have stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

Who I’d Recommend It To

I probably wouldn’t recommend this to most people unless you loved William Shakespeare and wanted to read all of his works.

So have you read Shakespeare’s King Lear? Was it lackluster for anyone else? How did it stand up to some of his other works? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

Since this year I am partaking in the 2016 Classics Challenge run by Stacey at PrettyBooks, I thought I’d answer the questions she sets out.
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