MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Finding Refuge in King Lear: From Brexit to Shakespeare's European Value

    O'Neill, Stephen (2019) Finding Refuge in King Lear: From Brexit to Shakespeare's European Value. Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance, 19 (34). ISSN 2300-7605

    Download (199kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    This article considers how Shakespeare’s King Lear has become a Brexit play across a range of discourses and media, from theatre productions and journalism to social media. With its themes of division and disbursement, of cliff edges and tragic selfimmolation, Lear is the Shakespearean play that has been turned to as metaphor and analogy for the UK’s decision following the 23 June 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. Reading this presentist application of Shakespeare, the article attends to Shakespeare as itself a discourse through which cultural ideas, both real and imaginary, about Brexit and the EU are negotiated. It asks how can we might remap Lear in this present context―what other meanings and histories are to be derived from the play, especially in Lear’s exile and search for refuge, or in Cordelia’s departure for and return from France? Moving from a consideration of a Brexit Lear to an archipelagic and even European Lear, this article argues that Shakespeare is simultaneously a site of supranational connections and of a desire for values of empathy and refuge that reverberate with debates about migration in Europe.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Shakespeare; Brexit; EU; Maps; Archipelago; Presentism; Refuge;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 13471
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Stephen O'Neill
    Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2020 11:57
    Journal or Publication Title: Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance
    Publisher: De Gruyter
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads