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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Edgar and Edmund
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1091  Monday, 22 April 2002

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Saturday, 20 Apr 2002 10:41:29 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1077 Re: Edgar and Edmund

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Saturday, 20 Apr 2002 20:07:07 -0400
        Subj:   Edgar and Edmund


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Saturday, 20 Apr 2002 10:41:29 -0700
Subject: 13.1077 Re: Edgar and Edmund
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1077 Re: Edgar and Edmund

Martin Steward,

If you promise not to assume my motives, I'll promise not to assume
yours. Onward.  I wrote:

>"Q is Q and F is F.  You don't have to chose one reading over another".

You wrote:

>One simply cannot employ two different readings.

I thought it was obvious that I meant READ Q and F.  I believe that is
what we were discussing, not editing different texts as if they were
one.  You comments about editing and performance made it clear that we
were indeed talking about different things.  You suggested in an
unquoted portion of your post that we are on different *wavelengths.*
It appears so.  I hope we have found the same frequency now.

Brian Willis,

I assume you have read my comments to Martin Stewart.  We seem to have
had the same problem re: reading and editing.  Thank you for the
apology.  I appreciate it.

Best to both,
Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Saturday, 20 Apr 2002 20:07:07 -0400
Subject:        Edgar and Edmund

Annalisa Castaldo writes:

"The reason Lear is so tragic, far surpassing the other plays, is that
nothing is learned from the mistakes, and nothing is fixed. Albany
suggests exactly what caused all the problems (dividing the kingdom),
Edgar never rises above shallow moralizing and no one else of note is
left alive (assuming that Kent is either dying or dead). Even Lear may,
finally, be as deluded as he was in Act 1 ("Look on her, look; her lips;
Look there"). Surely in a play that suggests we all of us make mistakes,
suffer intensely for those mistakes and learn nothing that might help us
or the next generation avoid such suffering, there is no possibility for
a hero."

Exactly -- I'm sorry I misread your previous post, and I apologize for
the error. I'd add one further speculation to your statement: WHY is it
that no one learns from his/her mistakes in this play?  Could it be that
the failure to acknowledge mistakes is the reason they cannot be
rectified?  Maybe the division of the kingdom is not the only mistake
Lear makes (or made in the past). After all, why are Goneril and Regan
such emotional basket cases? Did Lear mistreat them in a way somehow
analogous to the way Gloucester mistreated Edmund? The parallelism
between the main plot and the subplot suggest that this is a strong
possibility.  If that is so, perhaps we critics need to do a better job
of identifying exactly what Lear fails to acknowledge.

Sean Lawrence asked in a previous post whether I thought that Edgar was
worse than Edmund. No, not for the majority of the play. Edmund is a
villain all right:  anyone whose parting good-by is "Yours in the ranks
of death" has achieved villain status.  But I do think, Sean, as I said
before, that Edgar and Edmund trade places in Act 5. Edmund makes a good
end, while, in my view, Edgar casts off his moralism and is now ready,
as king, to do whatever he feels like. This sentiment, I would suggest,
is a sure formula for disaster. Just as Richard II.

Best to both of you,
Edmund

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