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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
New and Improved Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0953  Friday, 20 May 2005

From:           James Doyle <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 May 2005 16:41:04 +0100
Subject:        New and Improved Lear

Those who point out that Shakespeare changed the ending by having Lear
and Cordelia die rather than reclaim the throne are correct, but I think
there is a rationale behind it:

In the original story in Geoffrey of Monthmouth's History of the Kings
of Britain (I'm not sure if Holinshed's version is the same), Lear is
restored to the throne by Cordelia, but is later deposed by the allied
sons of Goneril and Regan.  So one could say that Shakespeare's change
was more of an abridgement, avoiding a problematic generational change
on stage, and ending up with the winning and losing sides, if not
personnel, the same.

James Doyle

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