top of page


An elderly king decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. 

Is he capricious, foolish, or on the precipice of madness? His rash decision sets in motion the tragic tale of fractured families, feigned love, and betrayal. But also of duty, devotion and a hope for redemption. 

A bit of insight from the Folger Shakespeare Library Shakespeare’s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. What, then, keeps bringing us back to King Lear?

For all the force of its language, King Lear is almost equally powerful when translated, suggesting that it is the story, in large part, that draws us to the play.

The play tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty, on the one hand, and support and consolation, on the other. Emotions are extreme, magnified to gigantic proportions. We also see old age portrayed in all its vulnerability, pride, and, perhaps, wisdom—one reason this most devastating of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also perhaps his most moving.

bottom of page