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Power Structures in Lear

            Has your study of King Lear and its reception in a range of contexts lead you to believe the play supports or sabotages structures of power?.
             Support your view with readings and productions.
             Structures of power are intrinsic to the play King Lear and its function as a seventeenth century power play. Ultimately, King Lear supports structures of power, as the responder is enabled to see the destructive consequences of the reversal of what Elizabethans believed as the natural order of things, with characters undergoing various personal conflicts as a result of this inversion of order. Interpretations of this message have varied since the initial performance of King Lear in 1606 and are continually adapting to changes within society and human development in general. Similarly, productions of the play have differed considerably depending upon the personal circumstances and views of the director as well as the audience, who are ultimately responsible for discovering their own interpretation of the play. Imre Csiszar's 1981 interpretation of King Lear is one of several attempts to adapt the play to its specific audience and context, with his interpretation emphasising the economic issues of the play and centring on Marxist ideology. Similarly, The Bondi Production of 2002, directed by Tanya Benny emphasises the issue of power structures through a feminist interpretation.
             An extremely relevant issue in King Lear is that of political authority and the power that accompanies it. Elizabethans held strong beliefs in the Wheel of Fortune, with each element in the universe having its own natural order. As the Elizabethans saw it, violations of nature and abdication of power amounted to one thing; man, through aspiring too high - as Lear did - would tumble off his place in the divine order and become like an animal. As seen in Act one, scene one, by Lear believing that he held a God-like status, he lives in a parallel world and is morally blinded by his foibles, he wants to abdicate his power, yet maintain the status that is attached to it.

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