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When attempting to read criticism of Shakespeare plays one idea is clear if the review was written more than five or ten years ago the essay is likely to be exclusive when it comes to the women in Shakespeare Little attention had been given to the women of Shakespeare prior to the seventies feminist movement The women in King Lear deserve attention just as women in every Shakespearean play do A common idea among critics is that the women perpetuated evil and were not worthy of acknowledgment for anything else Goneril and Regan are believed to be vicious evil women and Cordelia the small sweet daughter and while this interpretation may be true there are other aspects to consider which are not typically presented when reviewing these female characters Each of these women is worthy of acclaim for her strengths of character as well as in opposition to the male characters and various subplots within Lear A common interpretation of Lear is one of the juxtaposition of good and evil within the play Many traditional critics have made this idea their primary focus in interpretations which often ignores the feminist and class conscious theme that are also present in King Lear Most recent critical essays of King Lear do make note of the class struggle within the play however critics tend to ignore the gender struggles which upon thorough reading are clearly as obvious as the class issues I have chosen an interpretation of King Lear from 1960 by Irving Ribner and set it in contrast with a 1991 review by Ann Thompson There are some interesting points made in both essays and some stark differences in what and who are the important themes and characters in LearIn Irving Ribners essay The Pattern of Regeneration in King Lear Ribner focuses on Lears regeneration as a result of the suffering he must undergoRibner 116 In the opening section of his essay Ribner makes clear that
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