BB: King Lear, The Speeches

Artwork - Leigh MacRae
Artwork – Leigh MacRae

Welcome Brawlers – at long last – to the speeches podcast of King Lear!

King Lear is such an amazing play, filled to the brim with memorable speeches and scenes that we could have practically taken moments at random in the play and just posted that up. Instead, we decided to let you do the work for us.

Thanks, by the way. We appreciate it. We’ll pay you back later when we go viral.

Listen to or download the podcast.

“Hear me, my lord.” Act II, scene 4, lns 261-286 (Thanks to @everydayshakes for the suggestion!)
Speakers: Goneril, Regan and Lear
In this scene, Lear is berating his daughters for wanting to take away his entourage. They state that he shouldn’t need them because they have servants to take care of him. lear, however, responds to them by pointing out that without those desires and wishes for things which are not strictly necessary for survival, nothing separates us from beasts. As he mentions, his daughters don’t need jewelry and fancy dresses to survive and yet they want them just the same. So, as he says, don<t ask me why I want these knights – I want them because I want them.

“These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend…” Act I, scene 2, lns 104-133 (Thanks to @theshakesforum for the suggestion!)
Speakers: Gloucester, Edmund
Gloucester is giving us a lesson in astrology. He’s explaining that it’s only normal that the kingdom is being turned inside out given that the starts are themselves all out of whack. He appears to see disaster for humanity in every celestial event. As soon as he walks off-stage, Edmund tells us how he feels: what the hell does the day you were born on have to do with the decisions you make. You are the way you are because you choose to be, not because of some accident of birth.

“Away! the foul fiend follows me!” Act III, scene 4, lns 47-70
Speakers: Edgar, Lear, Fool, Kent
This is one of the many scenes where Edgar puts on his crazy hat and pretends to be Tom O’Bedlam, a wandering, mad, demon-haunted beggar. Why is he doing this/ To hide from Gloucester and everyone else trying to kill him. Parental advisory: includes a joke about nudity.

“Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile.” Act 4, scene 2, lns 39-69
Speakers: Albany, Goneril
The armies of France have landed in England and everyone is rallying to meet them on the field. Or, everyone except for Albany who has realized that Goneril is evil and that to fight on their side is basically to fight against Lear. In the end, he does decide to take to the field because he decides that English sovereignty is more important than this Goneril/Regan vs. Lear business. Here, Goneril is trying to get him to fight by calling him a pussy – “mew.”

“Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones.” Act V, scene 3, lns 263-319
Speakers: Lear, Kent, Edgar, Gentleman, Messenger, Albany
lear walk on stage holding the dead (?) Cordelia in his arms. Is this really how this is going to end? Don’t they deserve to be together one last time? Unfortunately, it is not to be and she is gone. We were going to include only the opening section but it’s such a powerful scene that we figured, what the heck: let’s let it run to it,s bitter end.

Next week (and it will be next week this time), something a little different from master Shakespeare? Something involving a shipwreck, maybe? And a happy ending?

Can’t wait to see how that one ends.

(Podcast recorded and edited by Daniel J. Rowe, Show notes by Eric Jean)

Sonnet 31 read by our first male sonneteer John dit Jack Konorska.

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