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Considered one of his greatest tragedies, Shakespeare’s King Lear has held a special fascination for modern readers with its themes of madness, betrayal, suffering, and love. The legend of old, mad King Lier became, in Shakespeare’s hands, a poetic, deeply touching, and multi-layered examination of the conditions of human existence. In this seminar, we will read and discuss carefully each act, scene, and line of Shakespeare’s masterwork. We will also look into the historical and philosophical contexts for what many believe to be Shakespeare’s most uncompromising utterances on the nature of fate and the human condition.
Guide: Christopher Zinn was educated at Georgetown and New York University. An independent literature scholar, he has taught at Reed College and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. He currently teaches humanities at the Portland Waldorf High School.