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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Edmund and Edgar
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2296  Monday, 18 November 2002

[1]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 11:39:14 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar

[2]     From:   Matthew Cheung <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 21:51:46 +0000
        Subj:   Edgar and Edmund

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 14 Nov 2002 12:19:08 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 11:39:14 -0600
Subject: 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar

>Yes. And, indeed, all of the play can be read as a conflict between law
>and nature, with specific "trials" at central points,

Can it be acted as such?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Cheung <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 21:51:46 +0000
Subject:        Edgar and Edmund

I don't think Edmund acts as an older brother because he tells his
brother what to do.  I think he's acting more like a devious brother.
He's initiating all of this strife, so he would want  to be in control
of the situation. What's strange is that neither Gloucester or Edgar
call him on it.  Gloucester doesn't ask to see the letter and Edgar
believes him wholeheartedly.   Edmund is a very intelligent and
observant person.  He knows exactly what to tell Gloucester and Edgar to
get them to do what he wants.  He's probably noticed that Gloucester has
a fear of being usurped by his son and that Edgar really cares about his
father. He has to tell them exactly what to do or else the whole plan
will blow up in his face.

Matt Cheung

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Thursday, 14 Nov 2002 12:19:08 -0000
Subject: 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar

Puzzles ... Where does the idea that Edmund behaves as "the older son"
come from?  He's certainly dominant, but ...

His soliloquy in I.2 begins with age and +ends+ with bastardy, with an
elide somewhere in the middle.

Carol Barton pointed out to me that the whole idea of primogeniture in
the play is undercut, as if it ran, Goneril would inherit all.

Then there's Richard's initial soliloquy in RIII, where he complains
that no one loves him, and in the next scene, he successfully woos
Anne.  Dramatic action undermines motivational statement.  OK, 1591
isn't 1606, but I think there are parallels.  And neither play can
usefully be read in terms of psychological realism.

And (admitedly page, not stage) Edmund's I.2 soliloquy has exactly the
same number of lines as Edgar's 1st solilioquy at II.2, which also turns
on (though the word isn't explicitly used) nature.

Then at the end, Edgar the masked avenger confronting a
triumphantly-ennobled Edmund mutters through his visor, "My blood's as
good as yours, mate."

I think what I'm trying to say is you can't rip Edmund's soliloquy
out-of-context and expect to make sense of it.

Oh, add to all that, Mosca's parasite soliloquy in III.1 (?) _Volpone_.

Who's picking which pocket here?

Robin Hamilton

(As to Edmund's the one and t'other loved me juggling act over Goneril
and Regan, and the influence of Jonson on Restoration drama {which can
prolly be located in the Grace Wellborn sub-plot of _Bartholomew Fair_},
let's not even start on that.

You can't even rip bloody Lear from its source -- Bill goes OUT OF HIS
WAY to kill Cordelia.  Before Tate (or was it Cibber?) rewrites with a
happy-ending, the source-texts have Cordelia alive alive-o.)

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