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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0191  Tuesday, 21 March 2006

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Subject: 	Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

Many, many times in <I>Shakespeare: The Biography</I>, Peter Ackroyd, 
regarding contentions that both he and others advance, offers some 
version of the following: "It is an argument that has the undoubted 
advantage of being incapable of proof" (265). Of course, making this 
assertion in no way hinders Ackroyd from then offering whatever 
arguments suit his fancy. I have not kept count, but it appears to me 
that there are significant numbers of such unprovable but currently 
discredited assertions throughout the work. For example . . .

" . . . in doubling [Shakespeare] could also create some wonderful 
effects. Thus the doubling of Cordelia and the Fool in <I>King 
Lear</I>--the Fool mysteriously disappears when Lear's good and faithful 
daughter reappears in the plot--allowed for deeper ironies beyond the 
reach of words" (265).

Isn't it generally assumed that Robert Armin played the Fool in 
<I>Lear</I>? And isn't it unlikely, if not preposterous, that Armin 
would double the part of Cordelia, which most certainly was played by a 
"boy" of the company?

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