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"Like Monsters of the Deep": Transworld Depravity and King Lear [Book Review]

Philosophy and Literature 37 (2):314-329 (2013)
The problem of evil in King Lear is particularly acute, so serious that many critics believe the play offers Shakespeare’s bleakest vision of the world, one that purportedly subverts belief in divine providence and moves in the direction of nihilism.1 William Elton thought that the play depicts the “annihilation of faith in poetic justice . . . within the confines of a grim pagan universe.”2 The play world in Lear has so often been construed as a place without God that at least one critic regards the issue as having been decisively settled.3 Reacting to such views, Maynard Mack demurred to what he called this “fashionable existentialist nausée” that sees in the play the idea that “we inhabit an imbecile ..
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DOI 10.1353/phl.2013.0021
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