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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: Lear and Suffering

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0847  Wednesday, 12 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 May 1999 14:18:32 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0844 Re: Lear and Suffering

[2]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 May 1999 20:18:02 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0844 Re: Lear and Suffering


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 May 1999 14:18:32 +0000
Subject: 10.0844 Re: Lear and Suffering
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0844 Re: Lear and Suffering

Julia K. Taylor asks,

>So on that note:  what do you think is Shakespeare's
>overarching worldview?  Particularly, does he portray a chaotic,
>nihilistic universe in Lear, or does he attempt to reinforce the
>stability and order of the Great Chain of Being?

Doesn't this exclude an awful lot of other possibilities?  Would the
world be value-less just because nature is chaotic?  Is ethics
necessarily linked to natural order?  Bear in mind that Calvin thought
humankind completely depraved, and the world therefore irredeemable, but
also believed in providence rather than coincidence or chance.  Could
the world of Lear call for an ethical response, without positing an
ethical order to which we have to conform ourselves?

Cheers,
Seán.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 11 May 1999 20:18:02 -0400
Subject: 10.0844 Re: Lear and Suffering
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0844 Re: Lear and Suffering

Lear is a Worst Case Scenario. Neither God nor personal individual
virtue will save anyone under a bad leader in a kingdom divided by civil
wars. Lear against his daughters is the ultimate in civil strife. Lear
resigning his crown's responsibilities while intending to maintain its
privileges is the Unforgiveable Crime in Shakespeare. It leads to the
destruction of every good thing.

What lesson could be learned if, as in some much later versions, the
virtuous Cordelia lived? That virtue triumphs? A nice Victorian comfort
of no use whatever to Shakespeare. In civil wars, virtue dies like
everybody else. In religious wars, every combatant is pious. Shakespeare
of England feared war on English soil. He feared a bad king who would be
the cause of such war.

 

 

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