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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: August ::
Re: Edgar; Altering Lines
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0626.  Saturday, 19 August 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Tom E. Hodges <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Aug 1995 15:02:26 GMT-6
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0617  Q: Edgar
 
(2)     From:   Balz Engler <
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        Date:   Saturday, 19 Aug 1995 09:17:06 +0200
        Subj:   SHK 6.0624 Qs: Altering Lines
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom E. Hodges <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Aug 1995 15:02:26 GMT-6
Subject: 6.0617  Q: Edgar
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0617  Q: Edgar
 
Another thought on why Edgar does not reveal his identity to Edmond before
their duel: Does not this brother-vs-brother fight echo that other familiar
dramatic emblem on the Elizabethan stage, the father- who-has-killed-his-son
and son-who-has-killed-his-father?  The dramatic movement and the thematic
effects seem similar.
 
As for this image of the "family at war with itself," the HOMILY AGAINST
DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFUL REBELLION preaches as follows:  "But when these
mischiefes are wrought in rebellion by them that should be friends, by
countreymen, by kinsemen, by those that should defend their countrey, and
countreymen from such miseries, the misery is nothing so great as is the
mischiefe and wickednes when the Subiects vnnaturally doe rebell against their
Prince, whose honour and life they should defend, though it were with the losse
of their owne liues: countreymen to disturbe the publique peace and quietnesse
of their countrey, for defence of whose quietnesse they should spend their
liues: the brother to seeke, and often to worke the death of his brother, the
sonne of the father, the father to seeke or procure the death of his sons...."
(Short-Title Catalogue 13675. Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.1 copyright 1994
Ian Lancashire, ed., U Toronto)
 
So in this last scene, we have all of these varieties of rebellion (and sister
vs. sister thrown for good measure) capped by Edgar's revelation to Edmond--a
momentary triumph of good over evil. But this peak just helps to set up the
fall, as Shakespeare toys briefly with the audients' hopes and fears for Lear
and Cordelia; then enter Lear, howling.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Balz Engler <
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Date:           Saturday, 19 Aug 1995 09:17:06 +0200
Subject: Qs: Altering Lines
Comment:        SHK 6.0624 Qs: Altering Lines
 
Why shouldn't we change Shakespeare's text in performance? Mark Goldman's query
seems to be based on the assumption that there is an authentic text that has to
be followed in production. I don't quite know what he is referring to.
 
Even if you want to have your *authentic* (whatever that is) Shakespeare play
in the theatre you have to change the texts available. Shakespeare certainly
did not write the kind of gibberish actors and actresses sometimes have to
speak, frantically trying to make us forget the words with the help of all
kinds of ingenious business.
 
Balz Engler
Basel University
 

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