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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Now God stand up for bastards
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1894  Tuesday, 30 September 2003

From:           David Cohen <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Sep 2003 13:44:45 -0500
Subject: 14.1874 Now God stand up for bastards
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1874 Now God stand up for bastards

By my count, there are five bastards (individuals born illegitimate) in
Shakespeare's 37 plays: Edmund of "King Lear"; Don John of "Much Ado
About Nothing"; Philip Falconbridge of "King John"; Magarelon of
"Troilus and Cressida"; and The Bishop of Winchester of "Henry VI, Part
1" (bastard born of Catherine Swynford, mistress of John of Gaunt,
though later in life made legitimate by Gaunt's decree.  Of the five,
three-Edmund; Don John; Winchester are bad guys.  One other character,
Thersites (Troilus and Cressida), claims to be a bastard, but only when
confronted by a real bastard, Margarelon, who calls Thersites a coward.
While Thersites surely acts like a "bastard," his momentary hyperbolic
claim cannot be taken as a fact.  I hope I haven't committed any errors
of commission or omission.

David Cohen

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