Excerpt from Shakespeare's King Lear: With Introduction, Notes, and Examination Papers (Selected) Shakespeare also appears to have taken some hints - as he was ready to take hints and suggestions from every quarter - from an older play, first acted in 1593, called T be T rue Clrronicle History of King Leir and bis three Daugh ters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella. (the form Cordelia, Shakespeare took from Spenser.) It may be added that, in the reign of Charles IL, when taste and literature were at their lowest ebb, this play of Shakespeare was 'adapted to the stage by two of the worst poets that England ever produced - Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady - whose met tical version of the Psalms was in use for nearly two cen tuties. With the story of kinglear, Shakespeare has in terwoven the tale of another father and an unfilial son the Duke of Gloucester and Edmund - which he found in the Arcadia of Sir Philip Sidney (published in It is there called The pitifull state, and storie of the Paphla gonian vnkinde King, and his kind sonne, first related by the son, then by the blind father.' The introduction of this ad ditional story into the more simple narrative of King Lear, has served two good purposes, (a) the misery of Gloumeter serves as a measure of the vaster and deeper ai diction of the king, and (b) it has enabled Shakespeare to find motives - to manage the motivation of the play more easily. Thus, the assistance given by Gloucester to the old king supplies the Duke of Cornwall with a motive for punishing him, and for promoting his son Edmund. Both stories are, of course, the mere canvas upon which Shakespeare painted his picture. In modern times, the play of the Spanish Gypsy, by George Eliot, has the same subject.
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