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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: January ::
Re: Religion and Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0137  Tuesday, 26 January 1999.

From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Jan 1999 09:03:54 -0800
Subject: 10.0134 Re: Moth;
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0134 Re: Moth;

Roger writes:

>To think about: why the double plot?  can the characters be arranged in
>a spectrum from good to evil? why the movement from references to pagan
>deities to God at the end of the play (God's spies)?  How is that
>reference to God's spies to be interpreted?  etc.

I'm also very interested in the religious dimension of King Lear, but,
as I understand it, "Gods" appears without the apostrophe in the F1 text
(available on-line from the Internet Shakespeare editions at
http://web.UVic.CA/shakespeare/Annex/DraftTxt/Lr/Lr_F/Lr_F5.3.html --
there's a link to a facsimile should you doubt the stenography), and in
the Q1 text (also available at
http://web.UVic.CA/shakespeare/Annex/DraftTxt/Lr/Lr_Q/Lr_Q5.3.html).

The apostrophe in "God's" is an editorial emendation.  There's no
particular reason not to write "Gods'" in the plural, or even "Gods,
spies" as an apositional association of the two groups most obviously
involved in objective surveillance.  This is a bit of a stretch, but it
might tie in interestingly with Kierkegaard's ideas on irony.

In any case, apart from the majuscule, there isn't much reason to assume
a shift to the Christian God from pagan gods.

Cheers,
Se

 

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