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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Edmund
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1114  Friday, 6 June 2003

[1]     From:   Michael Shurgot <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Jun 2003 08:31:00 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1090 Re: Edmund

[2]     From:   John-Paul Spiro <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 Jun 2003 16:49:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1078 Re: Edmund

[3]     From:   Jack Hettinger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Jun 2003 19:38:35 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1090 Re: Edmund


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Shurgot <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Jun 2003 08:31:00 -0700
Subject: 14.1090 Re: Edmund
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1090 Re: Edmund

Dear Colleagues:

Re: Professor Taft's latest note about Cordelia and France. Surely
France "leaves" to go home because the reunion that matters is that
between Cordelia and Lear, not between Cordelia + France and Lear.
Inferences may be called for, but the primary experience of the audience
in a theatre is what is played before them, not idle speculations that a
critic might dream up in his/her study. This discussion is not about
"rules"; it is about what happens when actors stage a play. I honestly
cannot imagine that any spectators in a truly superior production of
King Lear are wondering why France is not on stage in 4.6; everyone is
watching Cordelia's emotionally terrifying yet beautiful reunion with
her father. That is the "business" of 4.6; France has nothing to do with
it.

Regards,
Michael Shurgot

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John-Paul Spiro <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 Jun 2003 16:49:44 -0400
Subject: 14.1078 Re: Edmund
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1078 Re: Edmund

I do not deny that Regan and Goneril love Edmund, as much as either of
them are capable of love.  However, he does not seem to actively pursue
love from either of them.  They take a fancy to him once they see him in
action, and he accepts their advances, ultimately deciding to play them
against each other ("Neither can be enjoyed,/If both remain alive"
(5.1.59-60)) and ensure that Goneril will kill Albany ("Let her who
would be rid of him devise/His speedy taking off" (5.1.65-66)).  He
never expresses any direct love for either of them, nor does he seem
interested in their love for him as anything other than useful in his
quest to destroy everyone around him and ascend to power.  I don't want
to sound too Foucauldian here, but it seems like Edmund is far more
interested in power than in love.

I don't deny that sounds in names are important.  However, "Edgar" does
not sound like "rage," and I find the "'d for Dad'" a bit of stretch.
(Am I alone in this?)  "Edgar" is an anagram for "raged," but then
again, it is also such for "grade."  Can you explain this?  Can you tell
me where he shows his rage for his father?  And what is the connection
between "Lear" and "real"?  Is it like the connection between "Elvis"
and "lives"?

John-Paul Spiro
CUNY Graduate Center

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Hettinger <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Jun 2003 19:38:35 -0400
Subject: 14.1090 Re: Edmund
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1090 Re: Edmund

Ed Taft writes:

>As for Spiro's seeming disdain for studying the names in this play, he
>should look at them again:
>
>Regan = Anger = Rage(n)
>
>Lear = L(ear) = Leir = Real
>
>Surely the Regan example needs no explanation. Just look at what she and
>Cornwall do to Gloucester. Lear's name announces to us the importance of
>sound in this play, the connection to the old Leir play, and hints that
>there is more going on in _King Lear_ than a casual reader/spectator
>might think.  Other names/letters are also important, as you might
>expect in a play dominated by lots of letters going back and forth
>between characters.

And I say don't stop there, doggone it. Look at this:

Goneril = Reno Girl {if I may use the r twice}-she definitely crapped
out on Albany

Cordelia = Rad E. Coli or Dracolie-either of which goes a long way to
explaining why France hies himself home at the war's crucial moment.
Wouldn't you?

Then there's Edmond of The Tragedy of King Lear forming "ddemon," a
stuttering devil, but it's suppertime and I must go.

Jack

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