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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: Elisnore; Cordelia and the Fool
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0187.  Tuesday, 11 February 1997.

(1)     From:   Brian Turner <
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        Date:   Saturday, 8 Feb 1997 12:03:13 +1300
        Subj:   Re: Elisnore

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 07 Feb 1997 21:20:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0172  Re: Cordelia and the Fool


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Turner <
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Date:           Saturday, 8 Feb 1997 12:03:13 +1300
Subject:        Re: Elisnore

Shakespeare would have obtained information concerning wall hangings from a
(first or second hand) source - "The Hystorie of Hamblet". I quote with snips:

"... the councellor entred secretly into the queenes chamber, and there hid
himselfe behind the arras... Hamblet... doubting some treason... began to
come like a cocke beating with his armes upon the hangings... feeling
something under them he cried, A rat, a rat!... drawing his sword thrust it
into the hangings... pulled the councellor (halfe dead) out by the heeles,
made an end of killing him... cut his bodie in pieces, which he caused to be
boyled... that it might serve for food to the hogges."

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 07 Feb 1997 21:20:01 -0500
Subject: 8.0172  Re: Cordelia and the Fool
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0172  Re: Cordelia and the Fool

Thomas Larque writes:

>It is just possible that Lear's court would fail to recognise Kent or Edgar
>when smothered in mud or "Razed" (shaven?).  It seems rather more likely that
>they would notice if the Fool they had all known for some time had suddenly
>shrunk, and turned into an entirely different person.

But disguise in Shakespeare's plays seems to be absolute.  When a woman puts on
man's clothes, not even her father can recognize her, let alone the man who
says he loves her--witness <italic>As You Like It.</italic> In <italic>Two
Gentlemen</italic>, Proteus does not recognize the woman he used to
love--because she has on male apparel. Portia and Nerissa are similarly
unrecognizable in <italic>Merchant</italic>.

This may be a dramatic convention--the convention of the absolute disguise, or
maybe it has some kind of thematic relevance.  How you decide this question
will tell us what culture you come from.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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