Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: King Lear's Daughters
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1217  Thursday, 2 May 2002

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 1 May 2002 17:43:23 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1212 Re: King Lear's Daughters

[2]     From:   Miranda Johnson-Haddad <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 01 May 2002 16:27:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1212  Re: King Lear's Daughters

[3]     From:   Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 1 May 2002 13:52:37 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1212 Re: King Lear's Daughters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 1 May 2002 17:43:23 +0100
Subject: 13.1212 Re: King Lear's Daughters
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1212 Re: King Lear's Daughters

>Why would [one] assume that Goneril is 25, or that R and C are several
>years younger and why does it matter?" asks Judi Wilkins. "If Shakespeare
>hasn't made their exact ages integral to the playing out of his action, then
>he presumably didn't think it was important.  If Lear is 80, (and he does
>burble on about his age), what is the 'real' or mimetic problem with his
>having fathered children in his middle age?

There are two ages in King Lear - very, very old and youngish. Lear is
staggeringly, exaggeratedly old. Part of the problem of the play's
politics is the fact that Goneril and Regan have had to sit about for a
good many years waiting for their dad to kick the bucket, so that they
can have a go at running things, as is their birthright.

This is perhaps more acutely felt here in the UK, where we are faced
with the problem of powerless royals dying young and powerful ones
enjoying an awkward longevity. And this in a world where, more than
ever, "Ripeness is all".

m

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Miranda Johnson-Haddad <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 01 May 2002 16:27:15 -0400
Subject: 13.1212  Re: King Lear's Daughters
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1212  Re: King Lear's Daughters

This thread has a timely relevance for me today, because my Shakespeare
class at UCLA this morning spent some time debating what was gained or
lost by portraying Goneril as being of a certain age.  Specifically, we
were watching the 1997 version starring Ian Holm (yes, I plead guilty to
being one of those academic lightweights, so disparaged by some members
of this list, who finds it useful to show performance clips in class).
Several of my students suggested that Lear's cursing Goneril with
sterility carries particularly nasty significance if she is older and
perhaps has been "trying" to have a child (the quotation marks are my
students').  As I tell my students, if we carry this kind of thing too
far we wind up speculating about "how many children had Lady Macbeth?"
Nevertheless, I think when there are implications for performance /
comprehension, some discussion of this kind of topic can be productive.
It certainly was in class this morning.

Best,
Miranda Johnson-Haddad

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 1 May 2002 13:52:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1212 Re: King Lear's Daughters
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1212 Re: King Lear's Daughters

Judi,

I agree wholeheartedly with your points. I do wonder, however, the age
and sex of the actors playing Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. Did boys play
all three?  Did older men play the two older sisters or all three?  It
might also have some bearing on the fertility curse of Lear and it might
have something to do with our perceptions of these characters. I have
read that older actors were known to play older women. If Cordelia was
played by a boy, and the other sisters by older men, how does that alter
our perceptions of the three? Cordelia would probably seem even more
innocent and the sisters more experienced.

I suppose there is no way to prove who played who in this play, but it
does raise questions that indeed the text does not raise.

Brian Willis

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.