King Lear is generally regarded as one of William Shakespeare's greatest tragedies.
It is based on the legend of King Leir, a king of pre-Roman Britain. After the Restoration, King Lear was often modified by theatre practitioners who disliked its
nihilistic flavour, but, since World War II, it has come to be regarded as one of Shakespeare's
supreme achievements. The tragedy is particularly noted for its probing observations on the
nature of human suffering and kinship on a cosmic scale. The title role has been played by many
great actors, but despite the fact that the king is an old man, it is usually not taken on by actors at
an advanced age, because it is so strenuous both physically and emotionally.
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