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How is religion presented throughout Shakespeare's King Lear?

King Lear was written in the early 17th century, a time in which devout Christianity dominated England. Undoubtedly, the Christian Jacobean audience that would have first viewed the play would have interpretted the actions of its characters as deviating from these religious morals. The characters themselves espouse pre-Christian idealogies, coming into stark contrast with the contemporary religious beliefs. Gloucester refers to gods when he remarks 'as flies to wanton boys are we to the gods', suggesting a pagan belief system. These pagan beliefs are often depicted as cruel throughout the play. However, critics such as Jan Kott have indicated a complete absence of religion in Lear, suggesting 'orders of established values disintegrate', suggesting all religious morals, pagan or Christian, disappear.

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