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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: November ::
Re: Staging Gloucester's Blinding
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0810.  Monday, 11 November 1996.

(1)     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 1996 16:52:53 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0806  Qs: Lear

(2)     From:   Ellen Summers <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 1996 17:12:59 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0806  Qs: Lear


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 1996 16:52:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0806  Qs: Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0806  Qs: Lear

Larry,

I'm sure that other members of this list will point it out, but the text itself
supports Bevington's editorial stage direction at 3.7.69 (in my Signet
edition): "Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot."  I'm not sure what it is
about this action that strikes you and your students as absurd. The last time I
saw it performed in accordance with the text, Gloucester was bound to a chair
with his back to the audience.  At Cornwall's line, two servants tipped the
chair over backward so that Gloucester's head was resting on the floor, and
Cornwall ground the eye out as Bevington describes. Surely, however, there are
other ways in which the sequence could be performed.

                                                        Michael Friedman
                                                        University of Scranton

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ellen Summers <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 1996 17:12:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0806  Qs: Lear
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0806  Qs: Lear

To Larry Dessner, on staging the blinding of Gloucester:  Cornwall may find it
easier to put his foot against Gloucester's eye if Gloucester's head is lowered
until it is nearly touching the floor.  This may be easily accomplished on
stage if Gloucester, tied to the chair in which he is seated, is pulled down by
the chair's back by Cornwall, who then may find it convenient to lift his boot
up to Gloucester's eye.  If I remember correctly, Peter Brook's Cornwall wore
enormous spurs on his boots, making this moment even more extravagantly cruel.
The English professor in me wants to add that such a mode of staging helps to
crystallize the motifs of inversion and of atomization of parts of the body
that run through _Lear_.  Hope this helps.

Ellen Summers
Hiram College
 

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