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COLLECTIONPublished articles
TITLEGenesis in King Lear: Joseph's Many-Colored Coat Suits Shakespeare
AUTHOR 1Tom Lysaght
TITLE_PARENTJournal of Bahá'í Studies
PUB_THISAssociation for Bahá'í Studies North America
ABSTRACTCreative comparison of the biblical figure of Joseph and the character of Edgar in Shakespeare's King Lear, in light of the Báb’s and Bahá'u'lláh's Writings.
NOTES Article mirrored from See also the complete issue [PDF].
TAGS- Christianity; - Interfaith dialogue; - Judaism; Arts; Bible; Genesis (Bible); Joseph (Prophet); Literature; Literature, English; Qayyumul-Asma (book); Shakespeare
About:If we tire of the saints, Shakespeare is our city of refuge.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

A luminary of five religions, Joseph of Egypt looms larger than life. Bahá’u’lláh even likens Himself to “the Divine Joseph” (Gleanings 103:4). However, Joseph’s gradual unveiling as a minor prophet also renders him humanly relatable in ways a Manifestation of God can never be. In the West, Shakespeare and the Bible have each served as paths to knowledge, and their union a way to wisdom. That assertion proves especially true upon comparing Joseph’s odyssey of becoming with Edgar’s in King Lear. Both the prophet and the fictional character, each brother-betrayed, transform unjust adversity into psychological and spiritual growth. They each attain an exemplary sovereignty of self over and above their separate temporal kingships. A comparison of the two aff ords a deeper appreciation of Joseph’s prominent place in scripture, particularly in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

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