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For our seventh week we challenge you to interpret and share:
We’ve invited actors Linda Bove, F. Murray Abraham, and Okwui Okpokwasili to share their interpretations of this famous passage.
Act Three, Scene Four
WATCH: Check out the videos from our Public Theater family for inspiration on this page.
CREATE: Get inspired! Act, sing, rewrite, translate, paint, dance – whatever moves you!
CAPTURE: Record a video or snap a photo of your work.
SHARE: Post your interpretation and share it with us and challenge your friends! Tag @PublicTheaterNY on Twitter and Instagram or @publictheater on Facebook, and be sure to use the hashtag #BraveNewShakespeare.
BONUS POINTS: Tag a friend who you think is up for the challenge.
By William Shakespeare
Act Three, Scene Four
Prithee, go in thyself. Seek thine own ease.
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder....
Read the full passage here.
From James Shapiro, Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater.
Many leading Elizabethan dramatists ended up in trouble, and some in prison, for writing something politically provocative. While Shakespeare escaped that fate, he is doing something unusually daring at this moment in King Lear: dramatizing a moment when a ruler acknowledges how lacking in empathy he has been, and how oblivious to the suffering of his poor, hungry, and homeless subjects. We can only wonder what King James thought of this scene when Shakespeare’s company performed the play at court in December 1606. In this scene, King Lear—shelterless on the heath in a storm, and losing his wits—realizes for the first time in his long life that has taken “too little care” of the suffering of the needy. This in turn leads him to recognize the injustice of income inequality. When Lear says “Take physic pomp,” he means that the pompous ought to have a taste of this medicine; if they exposed themselves to the suffering of the poor, the rich would surely “shake the superflux to them,” that is, share their surplus and excessive wealth. It is rightly considered one of the most searing and memorable passages in Shakespeare’s works.
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