King Lear

The Mindless Iconoclasm of Our Age

Galla Placida, the regent for her young son, the emperor Theodosius III, was shocked when Saint Augustine died in 430 on August 28, three months into the siege of his city Hippo by the Vandals. He may have died of malnutrition, if not stress, because the wheat crop had not been harvested. As destroyers go, [...]

Epiphany: A Feast of Light

Several years ago, I had a student in my English class who was blind from birth—Charlie had lost his eyesight due to oxygenation at his premature delivery, weighing less than two pounds when he came into the world. We were reading Shakespeare’s King Lear that day. Not an easy thing to do with a class [...]

Seeing Love: A Reflection on King Lear

What do we see? And what does it matter? As an older father and educator of my youngest daughter, now sixteen years old, I have the joy of truly learning Shakespeare for the first time. In recent months we have tackled two Shakespeare plays, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. One is billed as the [...]

Shakespeare’s King Lear

Lear’s loyal servant Kent advises the king to "see better," when Lear unjustly banishes his beloved daughter Cordelia for not flattering him with the bombast of her sisters proclaiming they love their father “Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty./ Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,/ No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, [...]

Hail, Sol Invictus!

Let’s imagine for a moment that Christmas had never happened and that the Roman Emperor Aurelian had succeeded in establishing the feast of Sol Invictus on December 25 back in the year 274 AD. Instead of Christmas, we would have had the Feast of the Unconquered Sun. At this time of year, just after the [...]

The Greatest English Teacher

  The Rev. John Becker, S.J., sat at the front of the classroom, paperback in hand,  glasses pushed to the end of his nose. As he spoke, he looked intently from one student to another. “This semester, I am going to teach you how to read King Lear,” he said. “It may be Shakespeare’s most [...]

Why Marriage Matters

I have long chronicled the decline of moral values in America, but I must admit that even I was shocked to read recently that the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that nearly 40 percent of American births in 2007 occurred out of wedlock. Perhaps it's unsurprising when teenagers or members of lower socioeconomic classes [...]

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