I am not an artist. I can’t stress that enough, and when I was looking over the things to do for badges, creating a work of visual art didn’t strike me as something I could do well, but then today I was thinking about it and wondered about the visual of Lear’s crown, how I might go about making a visual work out of it. And I did. In my own unpracticed, unskilled hand.
When I was working on this, I had this quote of Shakespeare in my head: “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” (Henry IV, II, III). The crown had to be gold to represent the wealth of Lear as a king, but also it is a heavy metal, and his crown, his being king, is a heavy burden that cost him.
I made leaves and little flowers on the crown, symbolic of Lear’s crown of weeds and flowers towards the end of the play. The flowers have three petals, symbolic of the three daughters, and the red jewel stands for the bloodshed caused by the division and union of the sisters. At the centre of the crown is a black and red space where a different jewel would be but has been removed – this colour represents the darkness and death brought by Lear’s disowning of Cordelia, and to the left you can see the jewel.
I decided on a pearl for the jewel because of the line in Act IV that compares Cordelia’s tears to pearls – “as pearls from diamonds dropped”. Pearls are beautiful (as Cordelia is frequently called) and are extremely rare – I think there is something to be said about one third of Lear’s daughters being good and loyal. The pearl is crushed and there is blood around it to symbolize Cordelia’s end. On either side of the space of the removed pearl are two red jewels to symbolize Regan and Goneril, and also there is a pattern of two blue dots – there is clearly a space for one in the middle, and I decided not to fill one in to represent the loss of Cordelia from the family.
The broken pearl is in the shadow of Lear’s crown, symbolizing the darkness in the play that is spurred by her disownment. As well, the shadow under Lear’s crown is several different colours to represent the madness of Lear, as there is no clear path for him, shown by how there is no one clear colour.