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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Re: Shakespeare and Arthur
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1041  Monday, 15 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Nicole Imbracsio <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 May 2000 15:27:24 -0700
        Subj:   Shakespeare and Arthur

[2]     From:   John Smeds <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 May 2000 14:06:42
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1022 Shakespeare and Arthur


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicole Imbracsio <
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Date:           Friday, 12 May 2000 15:27:24 -0700
Subject:        Shakespeare and Arthur

I believe that a subtle-and very intriguing-reference to the legend of
Arthur exists in Henry IV, part one. The character of Owen Glendower is,
supposedly, a descendant from Merlin and in Act III, scene one there is
a wonderful parlay between Hotspur and Glendower on the subject of
Glendower's magic powers.  If you want further information on the actual
man, check out R.R. Davies' book "The revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr" (Oxford
UP: 1995).

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Smeds <
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Date:           Monday, 15 May 2000 14:06:42
Subject: 11.1022 Shakespeare and Arthur
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1022 Shakespeare and Arthur

Re: References to Arthurian legend in Shakespeare.

In King Lear 3.2.93 the Fool delivers a prophecy beginning

        When priests are more in word than matter;
        When brewers mar their malt with water; etc.

The prophecy ends in an allusion to Arthurian legend:

        This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time.

Shakespeare clearly addresses an audience here with the presumption that
they not only have heard before about Merlin, but are also so much aware
of his character as a wizard and magician, capable of making prophecies,
that they can see the joke of having a pre-Arthurian fool making
prophesies about what Merlin will predict in a time which lies in the
future reckoned from King Lear's days.
 

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