Saturday, 26 December 2009

On this day...

One of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, 'King Lear' is noted for its first ever performance in 1606. During the reign of James I, a known advocate and admirer of Shakespeare's works, the play was performed in court, yet the actual date of its writing remain unknown. Undoubtedly one of Shakespeare's later plays, most scholars believe it to have been written between 1603 and 1606 due to other documentation of the time. However, there are a minority, most of whom doubt the authorship, that think it written earlier, given its parallels with contemporary history of 1589. The play, in its numerous adaptations, has always been noted for its depiction of human suffering and many other psychoanalytic interpretations have been offered as to its meaning.


  1. Juse a question: How would you know that this was the "first performance ever"? Your claim assumes a complete and transparent performance record, an assumption which any honest early modern scholar knows is false. In actuality, Elizabethan and Jacobean performance records preserve only a small percentage of actual performances. Any actual record therefore represents the date before which the play was written, but never a definitive date of actual *first* performance.

  2. Of course you are right. When I said it was noted for its first ever performance, I meant that that was the first performance of it ever recorded. Sorry if I caused any confusion :-)