Internet Shakespeare Editions


Staging Lear

The geography of Lear is curiously indeterminate. Albany is a fictitious dukedom, we are never told where Lear's castle is, and many of the scenes could be almost anywhere in England.

The advantage of Shakespeare's flexible stage was that specific locations were not necessary; when action had to take place somewhere definite, the actors could indicate the location by the language, or by simple props. This convention means that the attempted suicide of Gloucester would have been simple to stage--he simply slumps forward on the flat stage--but Shakespeare's audience might have been as confused as Gloucester as to whether he had "really" fallen.

Learn about the actor Robert Armin who first played the Fool.