2012 年 9 巻 1 号 p. 13-21
The purpose of this paper is to study the religious aspect of female characters in Shakespeare’s King Lear by comparing the play with its source materials.
Shakespeare created King Lear by rewriting the source materials, with two significant changes. One is creation of subplot around Gloucester and his family, and the other is the reversal of the historical fact of French victory in England-France battle.
As a result of these changes, on the one hand, Shakespeare focused on adultery between Goneril and Regan with Edmund in the Gloucester subplot. Here the problem of adultery by married women, and their death could be interpreted as representation of the moral and religious view of the time. On the other hand, describing the victory of England and the death of Cordelia, Shakespeare presented Cordelia’s death, not as the atonement for Lear’s sins, but as a trial given to Lear from God.