Considered to be one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, the tragedy King Lear portrays some of the darkest aspects of human nature that can be found in literature. The helplessness of the human condition, as we fall prey to our destinies, the injustice and random cruelties practiced by people, suffering and humiliation, the lust for power and the greed for wealth are all depicted in this magnificent play. And through it all, runs the golden thread of love and sacrifice, daughterly affection and the true nature of our relationship with our parents.
Little is known about the writing of the play. It is thought to have been drafted some time in 1603 but the authorship of Shakespeare was finally attributed to it only in the 1623 First Folio. Early 17th century audiences disliked the gloomy aspects of the play and it was given a happy ending. However, in the 19th century, the original was brought back and with it, Shakespeare's unerring grasp of human nature, love and family values.