“King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare in which the titular character descends into madness after disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. Based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king . . . ” –wikopedia
Actor Christopher Plummer’s ETV special examines the consequences of King Lear’s angry, harsh attempts to extract love and loyalty from his daughters. He even alienates his youngest and dearly loved daughter, Cordelia. After losing his daughters, Lear begins to lose his mind. He searches for reality.
Only later, after losing all his position and power does his humility and deep appreciation for other people’s suffering blossom. His suffering enables him to identify with people. Being thrust out in the wild, the heath, unsheltered from raging storms, he discovers tenderness. He recovers his right mind and his relationship with his beloved Cordelia. His suffering was not wasted.
King Lear in part echoes the true story of a biblical king who was also trapped in pride and self. God took away his senses and put him out in the fields to live with animals. Then after seven years of eating grass, King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4.28-37) was restored to his senses, housing and throne. Nebuchadnezzar truly came to his senses and thereafter glorified God. Shakespeare saw how good (reality) could come from suffering.
- it may take losing all—one’s security, wealth, powers, position and relationships to find peace of mind and compassion for others
- Creator God created reality so life without God is living outside reality—it can bring despair, insanity
- everything God allows has purpose, including suffering–gold needs refining to be purified