Corn Lear: A Perspective on the Agricultural Decline in King Lear
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In response to the trend of anachronistic, ecological readings of Shakespearean texts, the goal of this essay is to re-situate the ecological themes in King Lear back into their original context to gain a greater understanding of both the play and the contemporary ecological discourse in which it participates. To achieve this re-situation, the interpretive tools of ecocriticism are synthesized with those of new historicism to avoid the bias of presentist perspectives rampant in modern Shakespearean ecocriticism. The removal of the presentist bias leads to a new interpretation of King Lear in which early-modern discourses on nature, enclosure, paganism, and agricultural crises interact through the play's characters, staging, and thematic elements.