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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0142.  Wednesday, 29 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Mary Jane Miller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 1997 10:34:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0135  Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

(2)     From:   John Boni <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 1997 13:37:12 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0135 Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

(3)     From:   Wes Folkerth <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 1997 12:02:19 -0500
        Subj:   Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

(4)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jan 1997 03:02:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0135 Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Jane Miller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 1997 10:34:50 -0500
Subject: 8.0135  Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0135  Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

" In this case it is the placebo that is the successful cure."

But it doesn't work  At the end of IV vi, still seeking death,   Gloucester
tries to run on Oswald's sword.His endurance and acceptance are very
fragile.When he learns of Edgar's true identity, caught without warning between
two 'truths' he dies smilingly --  but he dies.

Mary Jane Miller,
Brock University,

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Boni <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 1997 13:37:12 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0135 Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0135 Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

I agree with Ed Friedlander's assertion that Edgar's actions in *Lear* reflect
the emphasis on humans to aid (or hurt) other humans--in contrast to Albany's
continued assertions that the gods will reward, punsih, defend, etc.  (This
view constitutes a basis for the assertion that Edgar, not Albany, properly
closes the play, an earlier topic of exchange.)

Edgar loses his identity, assumes a number of shapes, and helps several of the
principals, most notably the father to whom he owes little, except the "bond"
of family, and humanity.  Edgar's lies are generous, not unjurious, even his
lie to the mortally wounded Edmund, which, to me, paints an inspirational
portrait of Gloucester's death, one successfully designed to achieve Edmund's
conversion, "exchange forgiveness with me...."

As Derek Wood writes, "too much truth" is problematic.  "Speak what we feel,
not what we ought to say."

John M. Boni,

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Wes Folkerth <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 1997 12:02:19 -0500
Subject:        Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

Hi all,

Early on in the "The Gutenberg Galaxy," Marshall McLuhan argues that
Shakespeare in this scene gives us the first poetic representation of
three-dimensional space, with Edgar's description of the cliff.

I'm writing a chapter on sound and the Shakespearean theatre, and would like to
consult the list members concerning the viability of one of my ideas, which is
that, given Shakespeare's translation of the technique of perspective from the
visual to the poetic medium, and that he has Edgar use this technique to trick
Gloucester into believing he's positioned somewhere other than where he
actually is (and, according to some of the previous messages concerning this
scene, the audience can be taken in as well) -- could Shakespeare be
experimenting with a kind of verbal anamorphism in this scene?

I welcome any feedback, positive or negative, on this one.

Yours,
Wes Folkerth

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(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jan 1997 03:02:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0135 Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0135 Re: Edgar, Gloucester, and "Dover Cliff"

I'd like to consider the recent question David Richman asks--"does the audience
think the ground is flat or that it is 'horrible steep'?"--in terms of genre.
If we "believe" the ground is flat, then the scene becomes 'comic' (like its
precursor with the Gobbo's in MV); if we accept Edgar's version (or 'lie'),
then we accept tragedy--the idea of the fortunate fall, for instance--(and this
can comment on the LEAR plot too--the idea of a larger than life character
shaking of the superflux). In a sense, the blind Gloucester becomes is the
audience who, initially skeptical of tragic machinations, comes to accept
them---or, Gloucester represents the part of the audience that NEEDS the tragic
lie, Edmund's recognition of this need for tragedy in the part of his audience
may be seen metadramatically. Edmund is actor-playwright--but the dual
perspective (like Pyramus and Thisbe's snug-the-joiner-lion) does not resolve
itself into an either/or dichotomy. The ground IS flat, even if that flatness
is necessarily the "ground" (or material base) of the theatre (in the round
globe).

But I do not think that Edgar's lie CURES G's despair (contra Derek Wood, and
others)---if anything, it suspends it, keeps it temporarily at bay, but does
not have a lasting influence....

chris stroffolino
 

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