The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1261 Monday, 14 June 2004
Date: Friday, 11 Jun 2004 15:20:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Thighs and Sighs
Graham Hall asks:
>"Is there any recorded academic suggestion or
>dismissal for a connection between the thigh
>mutilation in J C (TLN 942-3) or/and 1H4 (TLN 3092)
>with that recorded by William of Malmesbury's account
>of the post-mortem wound to King Harold at Hastings.
>There is clearly a dishonour association between the
>Hotspur and Harold cases."
No academic sources here, but the theme of a king (or Ceasar, I suppose)
wounded in the thigh corresponds to old legends like Parsifal and the
Sangreal, The Grail King, The Fisher King, etc. The theme of the
unhealed wound of the dying king (typically in the thigh, which may be a
euphemism for the groin) was later explored by the likes of Wagner and
Jung, but the old legends date to well before Shakespeare's time.
The old king's unhealed wound was thought to signify his inability to
heal and maintain his lands.
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