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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Edgar and Edmund
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1292  Monday, 13 May 2002

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 May 2002 03:50:17 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1286 Edgar&Edmund

[2]     From:   Michael Shurgot <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 May 2002 15:26:42 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1286 Edgar & Edmund


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 10 May 2002 03:50:17 -0400
Subject: 13.1286 Edgar&Edmund
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1286 Edgar&Edmund

Ed Taft wrote that Gloucester"s

>  punishment is
> appropriate, though severe, for his apparent abuse of lower-class women
> in the past.

What is the appropriate punishment, Ed, for someone who apparently
commits murder?

I see no evidence in the text that Gloucester actually abused any woman,
of any class.  For all that appears, his dalliance with Edmund's mother
was entirely consensual; it could even have been initiated by the lady
in question.  The fact that there was "good sport" at Edmund's making
hardly suggests an unwilling participant.

I also see no reason to suppose that Edmund's mother was "lower class."
If she were, would that require harsher punishment than if she were a
countess?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Shurgot <
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Date:           Friday, 10 May 2002 15:26:42 -0700
Subject: 13.1286 Edgar & Edmund
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1286 Edgar & Edmund

Dear Colleagues:

Could Edmund Taft's line, "Regan's wrath seems generated by Gloucester's
white beard, which reminds her of her own father," possible help
explain, at least partly, Lear's enigmatic line to Gloucester: "Ah,
Goneril with a white beard"? I.E.: Lear knows that his elder daughters
hated his patriarchic authority, symbolized by the white beard, and Lear
intuits that only one of his elder daughters could have engineered what
happened to Gloucester. Both Goneril and Gloucester are by this account
equally guilty: one (Goneril) of abusing a parent (Lear) and (and thus
partly through) his substitute Gloucester; the other (Gloucester) of
abusing a child. Both failed to see their errors. I still have never
seen (pardon the pun) a totally convincing interpretation of Lear's
line, which is of course precisely why the line remains so important and
so wonderfully enigmatic, like so much else in this play.

Perhaps this is old hat; but Ed's line struck me as perhaps saying more
than he intended, rather like a poet, I suppose.

Regards, and enjoy the weekend, which by now has probably already
arrived for most of you.

Michael

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