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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: Does Goneril Commit Suicide?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2676  Tuesday, 27 November 2001

From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 26 Nov 2001 16:21:30 -0500
Subject: 12.2632 Re: Does Goneril Commit Suicide?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2632 Re: Does Goneril Commit Suicide?

Regarding our discussion of Goneril's possible suicide, M. Yawney
writes,

>This is starting to remind me of Treckies arguing over chronology and
>technical specs for the Enterprise--somehow the real point is getting
>lost in minutiae.

Perhaps the "real point" is the fact that we have no facts to fall back
upon.  There is no "real" Goneril who commits suicide, or is murdered.
We can't check the text to find out the truth -- because, of course,
there is no truth, no "real" offstage action, only our different
interpretations of the text.

And, yes, we are very much like Treckies, only we argue about
Shakespeare's texts, rather Gene Rodenberry's. Treckies make believe
that they believe in the reality of the Enterprise, and we make believe
that we believe in the reality of Goneril. A harmless pastime.  Keeps us
off the streets.

And, finally, my students were reacting to a production -- the recent
one at Cincinnati's Playhouse-in-the-Park -- a production which cut
Edmund's "The one the other poisoned for my sake,/And after slew
herself."  When hurrying for that curtain, these minor points sometimes
have to be cut.  And cutting the script has a venerable history; we have
very good evidence that it was practiced in Shakespeare's time. How do
we know that Edmund's lines were ever spoken on the stage in the late
sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries?

Yours, Bill Godshalk aka Chris Sly

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