The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1086 Monday, 13 June 2005
From: Joseph Egert <
Date: Friday, 10 Jun 2005 20:07:20 +0000
Subject: 16.1045 New and Improved Lear
Comment: Re: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear
David Basch writes, "Cordelia violates the Bible's cardinal word 'to
honor thy father'...that puts into orbit the calamities that in the end
The voice of the patriarch is heard in the land! So, David Basch joins
Goneril in blaming the victim.
Who is most sinn'd against in this drama if not Christlike Cordelia,
come on her "Father's business...to redeem all sorrows"? It is the
fathers who fail to fairly honor their sons and daughters. These
self-absorbed patricians know neither their children nor themselves.
Nor, for that matter, do lords of the Earth like Lear know even their
subject children. After much trial and suffering, repentance may come,
but often too late to save the Cordelias of this world. Shakespeare will
not distort Nature's mirror to spare our feelings.
Love's neglect lies at the heart of the matter--a love craved by those
neglected ("Yet Edmund was belov'd"). Edmund, Goneril, and Regan have
always dwelt in the suburbs of their fathers' esteem and affection.
Their longing has decayed to predatory lust for land and power. Their
envy of the favored child has hardened their hearts. This envy carries
an ancient pedigree, harking back to Satan, jealous of God's love for
Adam and Jesus, the New Adam. Why else is Abel attacked by Cain, or
Joseph by his brothers? As for the descendants of C.ain and A.bel,
namely fiery Cornwall and moral Albany, it is yet unclear which of the
Dukes the King of Hosts "values most", or whether in fact we swear our
Gods in vain.
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