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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Two Questions about Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1533  Monday, 18 June 2001

From:           Barrett Fisher <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Jun 2001 10:44:11 -0500
Subject:        Two Questions about Lear

Here are a couple of basic questions about "Lear" raised by my
non-Shakespearean wife as we were listening to an audio adaptation
during a recent car trip.  When we reached the end of act 2, she asked:

1. Where does 1.1 take place?  (Presumably, it takes place in Lear's
court, thus leading to the next question.)

2. What happened to Lear's own castle (or great house), so that he was
left with only the options of Regan's or Goneril's (or Gloucester's)
hospitality?

My first response was to treat this as a "How many children had Lady
Macbeth?" inquiry, but that won't do, as the questions really are
germane to the action.  My own answers are:

1. The play opens in Lear's court.

2. Lear no longer "owns" a residence, wherever that may be.  Presumably,
it is now controlled by one of the sisters and is no longer accessible
to him.

Further, Shakespeare is less interested in property than propinquity, so
he expects us to stop thinking about inaccessible dwellings in order to
focus on ungrateful daughters.

Other perspectives?

Barrett Fisher
Bethel College (MN)

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