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Many critics hold that Shakespeare’s King Lear is primarily a drama of meaningful suffering and redemption within a just universe ruled by providential higher powers. William Elton’s King Lear and the Gods challenges the validity of this widespread optimistic view. Testing the prevailing view against the play’s acknowledged sources, and analyzing the functions of the double plot, the characters, and the play’s implicit ironies, Elton concludes that this standard interpretation constitutes a serious misreading of the tragedy.
William R. Elton is professor of English at the Graduate School, City University of New York. He has published widely in English Renaissance drama and intellectual history.
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Shakespeare, King Lear, Religion in literature
Literature in English, British Isles
Elton, William R., "King Lear and the Gods" (2014). Literature in English, British Isles. 95.