Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: April ::
Re: Ending of *Lear*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0268.  Thursday, 6 April 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Apr 95 16:30:37 -0500
        Subj:   Ending of *Lear*
 
(2)     From:   John Owen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Apr 1995 15:52:44 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0265  Q: *Lr.* Ending
 
(3)     From:   Cliff Ronan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Apr 1995 17:09:41 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0265  Q: *Lr.* Ending
 
(4)     From:   Diane Mountford <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Apr 1995 20:23:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: *Lr.* Ending
 
(5)     From:   Helen Ostovich <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 6 Apr 1995 11:05:45 +0059 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re:  *Lr.* Ending
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 5 Apr 95 16:30:37 -0500
Subject:        Ending of *Lear*
 
I always thought that no one at the end of *Lear* was really ready to pick up
and move on. I do think, however, that Albany is abdicating and that Kent is
saying I'm not going to be alive much longer, so I pass. Edgar's statement is
more general, but implicit in what he says (to my mind, at least) is the
recognition that as one of the "young," it is his obligation to take on the
kingship. His experiences as poor Tom, with Lear and with his father, have been
the necessary preparation for that role, as has--in another role--his defeat of
Edmund in one-on-one combat and their susequent reconciliation. I'd be
delighted to hear other perspectives.
 
Chris Gordon
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 5 Apr 1995 15:52:44 -0700
Subject: 6.0265  Q: *Lr.* Ending
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0265  Q: *Lr.* Ending
 
Regarding the end of Lear, I had always assumed that Albany WAS in fact
offering the split crown to Kent and Edgar. Why assume otherwise? That is what
he says, and there seems to be no strings attached. Besides, recall that Albany
is ineffectual, almost feeble-minded, during most of the play. He might well
doubt his own ability to govern properly. I certainly do. Kent's reply is a
direct answer -- "No, I am dying". Edgar's reply is not so much general as it
is indirect. He seems to be saying that the area littered with corpses is not a
fitting place for the discussion of who will succeed to the throne. There can
be no doubt that Edgar is in real control, like Octavian at the end of JC, and
that it is he, and not Duke Dimwit, who will reign. BTW Edgar, by defeating
Edmund single-handedly, has redeemed his own sagging reputation.
 
 John Owen
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cliff Ronan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 05 Apr 1995 17:09:41 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0265  Q: *Lr.* Ending
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0265  Q: *Lr.* Ending
 
Dear James Hill,
 
I think the conventional wisdom is that King Edgar (a name with a finely
English Anglo-SAXON ring) will now reign, but for a few seconds there has
indeed been a sovereign status for the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Kent.
The issue of divided rule, with which the play starts does indeed appear to be
coming back into the play at the end.  So too of course does the issue of
whether one should speak one's heart and mind, as Cordelia did at the start and
Edgar now says he will at the end.  Perhaps the point of these supposed
examples of how `no one seems to have learned anything!' is that the new
situation differs from the old in being suffused with true good will.  That
supposes that we should note an element of angry pride in Cordelia's initial
truth-telling, just as we see an element of wilful ignorance in Lear's
questionable generosity in awarding Cornwall and wife a third of the kingdom,
and vicious Regan another third.
 
Actually the thought of sovereignty for Albany may have surprised fewer in the
original audience than in today's.  For one meaning of Albany seems to have
been "Scotland," whose king had obviously just acceded to the English throne
and was trying to redefine it as the British throne.
 
Cliff Ronan, Southwest Texas SU
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Diane Mountford <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 5 Apr 1995 20:23:44 -0400
Subject:        Re: *Lr.* Ending
 
I vote for King Edgar.
 
I've always thought that Albany indeed abdicates, then Kent abdicates, leaving
Edgar.
 
A little game of 'hot potato' with the English crown?
 
Cheers
Diane Mountford
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 6 Apr 1995 11:05:45 +0059 (EDT)
Subject:        Re:  *Lr.* Ending
 
I always assumed Albany was looking for someone to rule the whole kingdom:  he
tried to give it back to Lear, but Lear wouldn't pay attention.  It seems to me
the point is that when you break something you can't always glue it back
together again.  Albany has no real right to the throne, since his contact with
it is through marriage.  Kent has no further interest in political life, and
Edgar (whose only claim is that he's Lear's godson) expresses no interest in
anything but mourning.  So yes, Shakespeare did create a play in which order is
not reestablished, and no rightful claimant appears.  If you see Albany as
perpetuating Lear's  error of dividing the kingdom by passing on the divisions
to Kent and Edgar, I see no problem with that.  But the final fact seems to be
that no one wants to pick up the pieces.
 
Helen Ostovich
Department of English / Editor, _REED Newsletter_
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada  L8S 4L9
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.