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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: April ::
Re: The Ending of *King Lear*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0299.  Saturday, 15 April 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Steven Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Friday, 14 Apr 95 08:35:45 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0271  Re: Ending of *King Lear*
 
(2)     From:   Steven Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Saturday, 15 Apr 95 06:13:34 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0271  Re: Ending of *King Lear*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steven Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Friday, 14 Apr 95 08:35:45 EDT
Subject: 6.0271  Re: Ending of *King Lear*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0271  Re: Ending of *King Lear*
 
(Sorry about the poor timing, stepping into this discussion weeks after it took
off . . . I've been a little punch-drunk recently from chairing in a
particularly battering spring semester.  Now the daffodils are fully sprouted,
I can turnto SHAKSPER . . . gardening in a minefield has its frisson of
horticultural grace in the face of imminent dismemberment.)
 
The idea of neat closure at the end of a play certainly has its appeal, but
many play and many other forms of art quite happily end with troubling
irresolution.  As I mentioned earlier, OEDIPUS AT COLONOS has a very nasty jar
after Oedipus takes off for heaven.  Daughter says she's going home to solve
theproblems between her brothers.  Rather like ending a romantic comedy with
the couple sailing away for a honeymoon cruise on the HMS Titanic.  (A bit of
possibly relevant theatre history: Scheduled to open on Broadway, December 8,
1941, was a romantic comedy set in the idyllic US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.
It didn't.)
 
I refer readers to my SHAKESPEARE'S REVISION OF KING LEAR for extended
discussion of the action and densely textured variants in the last scene.  And
I invite all to look at Richard Knowles' shabby exercise in misrepresentation
in everybody's favorite source of textual authority, SHAKESPEARE QUARTERLY,
soon to appear in your mailboxes.  I got mine yesterday.  Silly season in the
bibliographic wards  (meant to write "wars" there, allowing instead the typo to
stand).
 
My cardiologist says I shouldn't post stuff like this.  Off to the minefield to
plant this year's annuals.
 
                           Incineratingly,
                                          Steve the Gardener Urkowitz
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steven Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Saturday, 15 Apr 95 06:13:34 EDT
Subject: 6.0271  Re: Ending of *King Lear*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0271  Re: Ending of *King Lear*
 
About the bodies of Goneril and Regan at the end of LEAR: They do not have to
be "real" players.  Indeed, the players could be the anonymous bearers of their
own supposed corpses, since a rolled blanket or a faked stuff-manniken could be
used.  There aren't any references that I remember about players taking bows
after performances; I recall they came onstage to dance.  Just what kind of
music and steps would be chosen to follow the stately exits of the dead (and
their simulacra, perhaps) I've not been able to imagine.  Anyone have any
ideas?  reference?  Could this be an experiment to be tried out at the new
Globe?  (Such an experiment would violate our conventions, but that would
already be built into the Globe's project, with its efforts at reconstructing
the imagined environment of the 1600s.)
 
Steve Urkowitz,     
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