The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2682 Wednesday, 28 November 2001
Date: Tuesday, 27 Nov 2001 09:26:12 -0700
Subject: 12.2676 Re: Does Goneril Commit Suicide?
Comment: Re: SHK 12.2676 Re: Does Goneril Commit Suicide?
My first reaction to Bill Godshalk's "How do we know that Edmund's lines
were ever spoken on the stage in the late sixteenth and early
seventeenth centuries?" was "How do we know that any particular line in
_Lear_ was ever spoken on stage in that period?" The same could be
asked of any of the plays, even if we know they were often performed.
We know, of course, that some of the lines--many of the lines, possibly
most of the lines--in play would have been spoken. But do we know which
ones? If not, does that then make us radically uncertain about whether
we can identify even one line that must have been spoken on stage?
I suppose we'd need a time machine to be sure. But certain inquiries
might enable us to make educated guesses: Which lines would be required
to give us something like a complete plot? Which lines are echoed or
alluded to in other sources (suggesting that somebody heard them)?
I think such inquiries are worth making. But in the meantime I wonder
if we may just want to stick with the text(s) as we have them.
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