• Reading Levels 3 - 5

King Lear

With old age comes loss in this play, which portrays today’s autocratsA leader who is not bound by constitutional norms or checked by other sources of political authority, like a parliament or the judicial system. and despotsRulers who have absolute power and use it in a cruel way. as well as if it had been written yesterday. Shakespeare’s King Lear (1606) depicts an aged and self-indulgent monarch who, satisfying his own vanity, decides to divide his kingdom according to the results of a test of his daughters’ love. Whoever can describe their adoration for the aged ruler with the most sycophanticPraising or flattering powerful people in a way that is not sincere in order to win favour. effusionOutpourings. will prevail: in this case, his scheming and deceitful daughters Goneril and Regan. But this ill-advised poll strips the lofty Lear of his power, dignity, comfort and friendship. Onto the heath emerges a new spectacle: friendless apart from his fool, betrayed and brought to earth, he is beholden to a madman and reduced to a version of a person no more than a “poor, bare, forked animal". In a world of social division, economic inequality and populistThe term comes from the People's Party, which operated in the USA in the 1890s. Now, it is often used to refer to any movement that makes a distinction between the "people" and the corrupt "establishment". leaders, King Lear’s assertion that “distribution should undo excess/And each man have enough” is as modern as it is bittersweet.

Continue Reading

The Day is an independent, online, subscription-based news publication for schools, focusing on the big global issues beneath the headlines. Our dedicated newsroom writes news, features, polls, quizzes, translations… activities to bring the wider world into the classroom. Through the news we help children and teachers develop the thinking, speaking and writing skills to build a better world. Our stories are a proven cross-curricular resource published at five different reading levels for ages 5 to 19. The Day has a loyal and growing membership in over 70 countries and its effectiveness is supported by case studies and teacher endorsements.

Start your free trial Already have an account? Log in / register