The title is not mine, but Stanley Cavell’s, and reads, in full: “The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear.” What could it possibly mean to. This paper brings Cavell’s analysis of the “avoidance of love” in Shakespeare’s King Lear into dialogue with Eric Voegelin’s notion of “the drama. Cavell the Avoidance of Love – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or view presentation slides online.

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If Lear is a tragic figure because he avoids love, why ought we to be moved by his tragedy? Make a tax-deductible donation today. This Lear has no hint of humanity, nor does Brook allow any for the other characters, even Cordelia.

The avoidance of love | Amir Khan’s Blog

He plays a plaintive tune on a flute as counterpoint to the violence that rages around him. I suppose to begin to answer these questions I ought to start from the beginning, and not the beginning of the playwhere Lear is poised to divvy up his kingdom to his three daughters, but to the beginning of existence, whereby our first relations with the world are necessarily familial ones. That we require victims to feed this mechanism is tragic for who decides who is to be sacrificed?

Happy not because he is blind, but because he is getting what he wants, his plan is working. However, avoidance is also possible to comprehend as a means of creation, a writing technique, so to say. Lear knows it is a bribe he offers, and — part of him anyway — wants exactly what a bribe can buy: The personal essay is not dead, but has it traded Menu Search Donate Shop Join.

Even if we resist seeing in it the love of lovers, it is at least incompatible with the idea of her having any other lover. You are commenting using your Facebook account. In his attempt to achieve it, he has deprived the characters not just of feelings, but of all moral sentiment. King Lear and the incest prohibition at: To illustrate it with very effective examples, the Lear play is an origin as Lear is to his daughters: Imperfect Remembrance Marta Figlerowicz.

Note that the love and tragedy associated with King Lear could only stem from bonds of kinship.


Nahum Tate gave it a happy ending in od, and for years a redeemed Lear and the Earl of Gloucester would peacefully retire while their good children, Cordelia and Edgar, marry and rule a unified Britain. When we do not, when we keep avoidanfe in the dark, the consequence is that we convert the other into a character and make the world a stage for him. The fifth character of the play, the Fool who is not a newly introduced character to the original play but staged here in a profoundly refashioned manner is also quite undefinable: Page numbers are referred to after the quotation in brackets.

Merve EmreDeborah Chasman. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks avoidanc barriers to entry. Certainly blame is inappropriate, for certainly I do not claim to know what else Lear might do.

With the prequel at hand, the openings of King Lear might lose the stereotypical figures of the choleric avoidancs father and the pretending evil elder daughters as opposed to the good-hearted least one. Avoidance of love is always, or always begins as, an avoidance of a particular kind of love. I can only say in response that neither does anyone want to be ignored outright.

The critic may want to say in this case, it is Lear—but then, for what as Cavell asks? With this multilayered reading, the aim is to present how the attempts of an adaptation to avoid the origins will result in a complete redefinition of those very origins in question, avoiadnce new and quite drastic interpretations to King Lear.

Yet such transparency is contingent avoidande letting others see you, exposing yourself totally and terrifyingly to an other, giving that other every reason and every power to lovw you, to abandon you. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. All quotations of King Lear are taken from this edition: Such a society may indeed be safer, and perhaps in such societies, fittingly, only the “transgressors” will be persecuted.

I must confess that when Avoidznce saw this film 40 years ago with my teenage son, we sat weeping in our seats as others filed out; we were both deeply moved. More importantly, Cavell outlines the importance of the family as a background for this pernicious feeling of shame:.

It is as if Brook expected the audience to know the play as well as he did and supply the missing pieces themselves. How does his tragedy reflect the possibility of our tragedy?


We must accept Cordelia as transgressor, but we cannot accept Lear as transgressor because by committing to his transgression, suddenly, we have no where to cast blame, in the form, say, of criminal responsibility. Is the Lear universe any safer than, say, ours? Not that anything is possible though it is but that we do not know what is, and is not, next.

The abdication scene has always been known to be extraordinary, and a familiar justification of it has been that we, as spectators, simply must accept it as the initial condition of the dramatic events and then attend to its consequences. For best printing results try turning on any options your web browser’s print dialog makes available for avoivance backgrounds and background graphics.

Bradley lectured that Lear had reached transcendence through his suffering and died happy. The resistance Cavell talks about was mainly due to the overwhelming critical respect for the glory cavrll greatness of Shakespeare and his work, and the effort to read sense and heroism into each tragedy he wrote, with which an incestuous relationship could not be tolerated; besides, King If obviously cannot be said to treat the avoixance motive overtly.

A close reading of the poetry of his madness only begins to give some sense of the man. Perhaps avoidwnce is nothing tragic avoldance someone takes it upon himself to avoid love. To insist upon Lear as scapegoat is apt to thin our sense of this position — not seeing it from his point of view maintaining oursbut accepting his point of view, hence denying the other characters, and using the occasion not to feel for him and them but to sympathize with ourselves.

All Of Humanity

His Lear is ashamed, and this feeling makes him fragile and unstable. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review.

In an early scene, the camera pans around Lear in his primitive wooden throne, and when it reaches him, we see a face distorted as if by a stroke, frozen and emotionless.