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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Edgar and Edmund, Some More
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1117  Wednesday, 24 April 2002

From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Apr 2002 14:07:58 EDT
Subject:        Edgar and Edmund, Some More

Edmund Taft suggests that Edgar fitzGloucester plans, as king "

     to do whatever he feels like. "   Huh? I may have missed some of
     the earlier bits of this strand.  Does "Speak what we feel, not
     what we ought to say" indicate some bizarre leap into Edgarian
     narcissism?

     He's been exquisitely gentle to his suicidal father, careful,
     attentive to the niceties of persons and even things ("leave
     gentle wax").  He puts himself forward as agent of justice in the
     trial by combat, but he speaks respectfully towards his brother
     (who has just used subterfuge to needlessly send Lear and
     Cordelia to death).  He even exchanges charity with his nasty
     brother.  He tries to revive Lear (whether "Look up" is a
     theological or physical request.)

     I recall an essay on Edgar called something like "The once and
     Future King" by or in a volume edited by Rosalie Colie _King
     Lear: Essays in Prismatic Criticism_ U of Toronto Press.  She
     tracks Edgar in the chronicles.  He became one of the notably
     good ancient kings during whose reign wolves were eradicated in
     Britain.

     I can't see any evidence that Edgar is going to become
     immediately some neo-Lear.  We might feel that "Measure for
     Measure" promises a dim future in that post angelic Vienna, but
     all the signs look towards a brighter England.

     Steve EdgUrkowitz

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