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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: June ::
New and Improved Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1096  Wednesday, 15 June 2005

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jun 2005 12:02:50 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 16.1092 New and Improved Lear

[2]     From:   David Basch <
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 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Jun 2005 22:28:41 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1086 New and Improved Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jun 2005 12:02:50 -0400
Subject: New and Improved Lear
Comment:        SHK 16.1092 New and Improved Lear

Judy Prince concludes that

 >'Yet, stepping back, one can see a world, from all the vast eons and
 >rolling up to these very Shaksper messages, of Satanites who continue to
 >curse those they create. '

Quite. But only in the south, surely?

T. Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Jun 2005 22:28:41 -0400
Subject: 16.1086 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1086 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 consume her."
 >
 >The voice of the patriarch is heard in the land! So,
 >David Basch joins Goneril in blaming the victim.

Like the Bible, which shows its people in three dimensional ways, warts
and all, so does Shakespeare. The politically correct mantra so
mindlessly prevalent today would absolve a victim of any contribution to
the plight that made him into a victim. But when you see the world in
two dimensions, you are crippled in your ability to deal with it.

Shakespeare is not politically correct in Lear. He shows all. He not
only shows the tragedies befalling good persons in the play but even
shows their own contributions to the tragedies. The bastard's father in
the play eventually recognizes how dearly he paid his night of
recreation that eventuated in the twisted, evil bastard son who turns on
him. The father's blindness to his good son also eventuates in his own
being blinded. Lear's self-centeredness, of course, also accounts for
his tragedy. So why would we not weigh Cordelia's failure to honor her
father as a contributing factor to the tragedy? Her self righteous zeal
makes her more motivated to teach her father a lesson in front of the
court than to protect the honor of the father she loves. Here is tragedy!

Without Cordelia's fatal flaw, there would have been no story, nor would
the story have proceeded the way it did had not others contributed their
flaws to the mix. Shakespeare gives his audience much to think about in
terms of human responsibility and the high price we pay for our
willfulness and carelessness in what we think are slight matters that
all too often become important indeed. Who would not want to learn from
the world that Shakespeare puts before us? And honor thy parents happens
to be a good, wise, and life affirming policy even though it is
recommended in the Bible.

David Basch

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