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Marxist Critical Theory: King Lear

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Gretchen Z

on 7 March 2014

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Transcript of Marxist Critical Theory: King Lear

Marxist/Economic Critical Theory
What is Marxist Critical Theory?
Based on the studies of Karl Marx

Marxist Goals:
Classless society
Revolution of the working class

The Theory itself:
Works of literature are products of history
Changes in society and history are driven by the hardships of the social classes
Trust in the Common Man
King Lear and Kent
Distrust of Nobility
Regan and Goneril
King Lear through Marxist/Economic Theory
Act 5, Scene 3
Marxism is evident in King Lear through:
King Lear and the Fool
"The worst affected from corruption is the common man." -Kailash Kher
"For the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him."

-Karl Marx
King Lear
Represents lower class and servants
Represents upper class and power
Who have I been?
Who am I now?
Who will I become?
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning, I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand
What role does social class play in King Lear?
So What?
Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City c.1885
Henry Ossawa Tanner

Viva La Vida
Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius
Musei Capitolini

1812 Overture
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Inverted Personages
Joan Miro
Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid?

Basket Case
The idea of distrust in nobility has not gone away
Financial Crisis of 2008
Dissatisfaction with social classes
Could King Lear happen again today?
“All they say, is trust in what is written, wars are made, and somehow that is wisdom. Thought is suspect, And money is their idol”

-Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening)
Full transcript