LISTEN: For the last MONTH of my LIFE, I have been the dethroned madman King Lear, and Dante has been my mocking Fool, and my RAINY HEATH has been my grandmother’s condominium. This is not much of a stretch, dude!
I have had several King Lear moments in my life. If I thought about it I could tell you when all of them occurred, and why they occurred, but I’m pretty sure no one in the history of humankind wants me to do that. Hell, even I don’t want to!
But I was watching ‘RAN’ in the bath today and thinking that the only thing keeping me alive sometimes is the thought that one day, if I live that long, I’ll actually be a crazy old man, and I might have a magnetic enough personality to attract some jester-like youngster into following me around and poking fun at my folly as we both claw through stinking earth during some awful fit of madness in the rainy gloam.
I haven’t read ‘King Lear’ in a few years, but it’s my favorite one. One of the best papers I ever wrote in college (which isn’t saying much since it was all shit) was about, uh, the concept of “nothingness” in Lear. There’s a lot of nothing in there! It is a word that appears often. I had a good time writing that thing.
But it is a confusing play, in terms of who is who, since characters keep switching identities and pretending to be other people, and there are letters going back and forth between the two evil sisters, and so on. I was reading the Wikipedia article to iron out some of the little baby details I was hazy on, and I saw this line:
“Lear appears, by now completely mad. He rants that the whole world is corrupt and runs off.”
Yeah that rules so hard. So does this, which is from that scene:
“When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools”
You said it, brother.