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 *King Lear*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0271.  Friday, 7 April 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Tad Davis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 6 Apr 1995 15:01:01 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0268  Re: Ending of *Lear*
 
(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 7 Apr 1995 00:39:55 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0265  *Lr.* Ending
 
(3)     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 7 Apr 95 09:25:01 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0268  Re: Ending of *Lear*
 
(4)     From:   John Boni <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 7 Apr 1995 08:30:06 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0268 Re: Ending of *Lear*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 6 Apr 1995 15:01:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0268  Re: Ending of *Lear*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0268  Re: Ending of *Lear*
 
Is there a possibility that Edgar, when he says, "The weight of this sad time
we must obey," is using the royal "we"?
 
Tad Davis
(
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 )
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 7 Apr 1995 00:39:55 +0100
Subject: 6.0265  *Lr.* Ending
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0265  *Lr.* Ending
 
>  Is it King
>Edgar or King Albany?  [Certainly Cordelia's husband--King of France--is not a
>factor to be considered.] J.J.Hill
 
Doesn't it depend on who you give the last line to? Shakespeare appears to have
changed his mind when revising the play and, presumably thinking along similar
lines to J J Hill and his students, gave the last lines to Edgar to make him
more clearly the successor, rather than Albany who had the last lines in
earlier version. The role of Albany overall is reduced in the later version. I
am, of course, assuming the acceptance of the revision argument made by Wells,
Taylor et al.
 
I note with surprise that none of the first five responses touch on this
crucial textual issue.
 
Gabriel Egan

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 7 Apr 95 09:25:01 -0400
Subject: 6.0268  Re: Ending of *Lear*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0268  Re: Ending of *Lear*
 
I also think that Albany is speaking out of shock -- too much has happened too
fast and that Edgar will pick up the pieces -- in Act VI. It seems to me of a
piece that the obsessions of Act I -- who gets the kingdom, who loves me most,
I'm geting old [you'd better laugh, courtiers], prove it etc.-- all fade away
in act V well before Cordelia is murdered.
 
But while we are on the ending of King Lear would anyone like to comment on
what I see as a staging problem.  Shakespeare as he so often does carefully
writes the deaths of Regan and Goneril off-stage so that he has two less bodies
to contend with at the end -- which would  have left the good guys to come to
life right after Edgar's lines to take a bow -- something of an anti-climax.
He then pulls the two daughters back on stage to show us how irrelevant their
deaths now are to Lear (with all that this implies) and to create the
shattering stage metaphor of the four dead as ironic echo to the four living
father/daughters of Act I.
 
A modern blackout or 19th century curtain eliminates what I see as a problem
for the Globe or Blackfriars -- the anticlimax of all those bodies getting up
to take their applause after Edgar's four short lines have pointed out that
there is nothing left to say. Or was it just assumed that they would all be
gathered up by spare soldiers and processed off -- also an anti-climax it
seeems to me, unlike Hamlet.  I have always felt that in this one instance,
Shakespeare wrote not for his own stage but for a stageraft not then invented,
a theatre which would some day provide the conventions needed to bridge the
moment by hiding the dead from view.
 
Mary Jane Miller
Dept. of Film Studies, Dramatic and Visual Arts
Brock University
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Boni <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 7 Apr 1995 08:30:06 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 6.0268 Re: Ending of *Lear*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0268 Re: Ending of *Lear*
 
At the end of "Lear," Albany undergoes what I like to call his `nervous
breakdown.'  Throughout the play, if one examines his language, one notices the
extent to which he speaks in sententiae, attempting to frame the horror in
inadequate  language.  He is attempting to do the same at the end, speaking of
rewards and punshments, when the corpses of Lear and Cordelia are brought
onstage.  At that point, he stops.  His decision to have Edgar and Kent rule
reflects, to me, the fact that Albany has learned nothing through the events of
the play--he is willing to replace division with division.  A friend once
quipped that Albany keeps trying to end the play but no one will listen to him.
 
It is up to Edgar to end the play, saying what *can* be said.  (And, yes, I am
aware of the textual variant which ascribes the final lines to Albany; I am
unable to accept that on dramatic grounds.)
 
John M. Boni
Northeastern Illinois University
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.