Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0191 Tuesday, 21 March 2006
From: Hardy M. Cook <
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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