The content explored within William Shakespeare's play King Lear is riveting at the very least, and retrospectively an inherent influence on most (if not, all) modern dramatic story-lines that I have minded. One needn't even consider the time-period in which Shakespeare created the entanglement of moods and matters found within his characters to appreciate the clarity of each one's personality, even in just reading the lines of his work as a story-book (though the consideration of such makes it all the more astounding).
As the Elizabethan dialect used in all of Shakespeare's works can often be misunderstood to someone who is not familiar with this form of the English language, making sense of the deeper significance within certain characters' lines was often very challenging. Exhaustive critical assessment of King Lear yields many displays of symbolism and imagery behind several of the lines throughout, but even considering the content at a relative face-value demonstrates the complexity of the characters' thoughts and feelings.
Every character seems to play an important role in adding to a collective group of emotions, each one's actions based off of their own and influencing the other(s); a domino effect. In particular, Lear's character is easily the most influenced by the emotions and actions of those surrounding him. This influence can be attributed by his position throughout the plot: being someone who is elderly, Lear could have more of a “fragile” mind; because of his surrender of kingship and its results, he understandably develops feelings of isolation and of being forsaken, although this is not entirely rightfully so.
Interestingly, Lear's descent into madness is partly a product of his own stubborn nature and misinterpretation of his circumstances, as even those who express their honest intentions out of concern are rejected by him. Aside from being hung up on some vocabulary in Shakespeare's writing, I really enjoyed King Lear, particularly Lear's character. His reactions to what happens around him are very entertaining to say the least, and I felt great sympathy towards Lear in the final scene of the play.
In the last scene, all of the antagonistic characters seem to reveal their intentions in a more blatant fashion, giving a solid representation of their selfish nature. The end of the final act, with all of its byproducts of death and deception, really targets Lear at the brunt of it. Clearly, his episode in the sixth scene of the fourth act is when Lear reaches his pinnacle of madness, and though he somewhat recovers from this, it doesn't really compare to the emotional toll taken on him by the hanging of Cordelia.
Amidst Lear's disbelief and frustration at the death of his daughter, he is unable to comprehend any appreciation of what the loyal Duke of Kent speaks, delving into his madness again before finally dying. I found that the final words uttered before King Lear passed away to be very ambiguous, yet oddly enough I could feel or imagine and almost make sense of his thoughts and actions in looking over the lines of text.
I find it difficult to articulate precisely what this is, but even in my previous reading of another of Shakespeare's plays, there were often points in Macbeth that gave me a similar emotional reaction of “understanding” or just “knowing” without being able to necessarily communicate the respective significance. It was like a feeling of being in the position of the character and standing within his or her shoes, so to speak, yet I was sensing a greater importance that affected mood rather than something intelligible.
The greatest comparison I would compare this to is musical audition. All music evokes a mood within its listener, whether or not the listener can or chooses to acknowledge this, and to varying degrees of subjectivity based on who is listening and its tonal qualities. Often times music evokes a sense of depth, and is not necessarily something that can be categorised into a simple mood description, which I feel is the best way to compare what I've experienced in reading King Lear among other Shakespearean works.