4.2+King+Lear+3 - Suffering and Tragic Recognition in King...

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Suffering and Tragic Recognition in King Lear Jacobean Shakespeare:     King Lear , Lecture 3
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Aristotle’s  Poetics : Peripeteia (reversal)  and Anagnorisis (recognition) In complex tragedies, unlike simple tragedies, the tragic  catastrophe (outcome or ending) turns on  anagnorisis  and  peripeteia  (a  surprising or unexpected   reversal of  fortune). For Aristotle, these two go together.  Aristotle defines anagnorisis as:  “ a change from  ignorance to knowledge , tending either to affection or  enmity; it determines in the direction of good or ill fortune  the fates of the people involved.”  Anagnorisis and peripeteia in  Oedipus Rex  and in a lot  of other plays (including  Othello ) are presented at the  climax  of the play. 
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Recognition and reversal in  Othello’s climax Othello (recognition):  O fool! fool! fool! (5.2.325) Othello (reversal): I kiss'd thee ere I kill'd thee: no way  but this; Killing myself, to die upon a kiss. (5.2.358-59)  [ Dies ]
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Suffering and Tragic Recognition in  Lear Anagnorisis in  Lear  is not a singular, climactic  moment at the end of the play. The action does not   simply move toward a final moment of reversal and  recognition; it  unfolds through  a series of reversals and  discoveries. So in  Lear  we see  reversal and recognition  as the engine of the plot  rather than its final  destination.  The process of anagnorisis in  Lear  depends on  suffering. The play seems to suggest that without  suffering there can be no self-discovery. Suffering is  thus the pre-condition for penetrating to the heart of 
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Claudius Ptolemy’s World Map with wind  heads, 1486 C.E. : (ref:  Lear , 3.2.1: “Blow  winds, and crack your cheeks!”)
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P.127: 3.2.1ff: Lear in the storm LEAR: Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage,        blow!. ..              And thou, all-shaking thunder
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4.2+King+Lear+3 - Suffering and Tragic Recognition in King...

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