King Lear, believing that he is surrounded by his enemies at every turn, is building a great defensive wall to protect his kingdom. However, his greatest enemies are not outside the wall, but within it: his two ambitious daughters, Bodice and Fontanelle. Betrayed by the traitorous sisters, Lear escapes to the countryside, where a kindly boy and his wife provide him with a glimpse of a more simple life. But when the boy is murdered by Bodice’s marauding soldiers, his wife - Cordelia - rises to become the new dictator, and enacts her own revenge on Lear’s daughters and Lear himself.
Edward Bond’s 20th century re-imagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear is deeply politicized and designed to invite social critique. A fairly loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, Lear is both shocking and highly symbolic, using images of brutal violence to illustrate the intense power dynamic between the working class and their rulers.
Lear guide sections