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The Bible in Shakespeare$
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Hannibal Hamlin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677610.001.0001

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The Patience of Lear: King Lear and Job

The Patience of Lear: King Lear and Job

(p.305) 8 The Patience of Lear: King Lear and Job
The Bible in Shakespeare

Hannibal Hamlin

Oxford University Press

King Lear is Shakespeare's response to the Book of Job, exploring the challenge that innocent or disproportionate suffering presents to belief in divine justice and a providential universe. By means of biblical allusion, King Lear is set in comparison to Job, but, like many others in Shakespeare, the parallel between Lear and Job is partly contrastive. The patience of Job is legendary, but Lear is passionately impatient; on the other hand, Job himself is less patient than his reputation maintains. The complex workings of this allusive and thematic relationship become more recognizable through reading not just of Job itself, but also allusions to Job in the Epistle of James, as well as interpretations of Job in the Geneva Bible glosses and John Calvin's sermons

Keywords:   shakespeare, king lear, job, john calvin, suffering, providence, skepticism

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