Struggle between Feudalism and Bourgouise and Shakespeare’s Involvement to it with King Lear

by burakdharkan


            It is vital to make a Marxist reading of King Lear to get a full grasp of the struggle between feudalism and bourgouise, but it also helps reader to understand to what extend and how Shakespeare is involved in it.

            First of all, the social text and the ideologies diffused in it must be understood properly. Understanding what was Shakespeare’s involvement is important to figure out what was the struggle really about and how close Shakespeare was to any of this ideologies or maybe if he is not close at all.

            In King Lear, neither of the discourses were dominant, in fact, with the use of literary word Shakespeare tried to blur the lines between the two sides of the play. We see the rise of a new class and the old one is really concerned about it, but what makes it interesting is that they are two systems of value existing in one another. They value their status and nobility, but the next scene we see them selling titles. So basicly, in a marxist reading we see how Shakespeare shows us that two sides are pretty much the same, after all, in King Lear, the defining concept of the play is greed.

            Ideology of the text is sympathetic to the order and well being of it. There are small flaws with system, and they are shown, but at the end of the day, they are not a big deal. In the end of play, all characters talk in according to the wellness of the order, even the evil admit its glory. But of course, in history direct opposite has happened. So, if this whole thing was inevitable, was Shakespeare foreshadowing it in his work? The answer is most likely yes. In the Marxist reading we see how system’s chaotic qualities causes the new one to emerge. Nobles of feudal class tries to critisize newly rich bourgouise and their excessive spending, though they can’t see how ridicilous it sounds when they mention such a thing. God-send powers of King also indicates that there surely will be a rise against it. And last, even though play depicted them evil, bourgouise’s ideas were futurist and was for the good of people.

            So after analyzing King Lear like this, we see the true involvement of Shakespeare according to this struggle. His text is both subversive and questioning, making it an intersection of ideologies. So yes, maybe we can’t be one hundred percent sure about if Shakespeare completely and purely intentionally foreshadowed the eventual demise of feudalism in due time, but in a Marxist reading it is quite clear that he hints about it, or maybe even tries to give the implication that it he believes this is what is going to happen.