2006

Shakespeare in Time Magazine (Europe)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0219  Monday, 27 March 2006

From: 		Gary Taylor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 3/24/2006 11:12 AM
Subject: 	Shakespeare in Time Magazine (Europe)

Shakespearians (and Middletonians) might be interested in--or outraged 
by--the cover story on Shakespeare, Inc. in this week's edition of Time 
Magazine (Europe).

http://www.time.com/time/europe/html/060327/story.html

The story does not appear at all in the US edition (which itself says 
something interesting about transatlantic differences in Shakespeare's 
status).

When two actors, Henry Condell and John Heminges, started putting 
together a book of all their friend's plays, they could not have guessed 
where it would lead. But they did know publishing was an expensive and 
risky business - if their labor of love wasn't going to end in financial 
disaster, it had to sell. By the time he died in 1616, William 
Shakespeare was already a popular playwright and well-known actor in 
England. So when Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & 
Tragedies hit the shelves seven years later, the title page carried the 
author's name in big letters. Underneath it was a portrait that would 
have been familiar to anyone who had seen Will on stage - the 17th 
century equivalent of putting Paul Newman's face on a bottle of salad 
dressing. Half of Shakespeare's plays had already appeared in print, and 
there were a few that Condell and Heminges either chose not to or 
couldn't include; but to assure readers that they were still buying 
something special, the price for the collection, known today as the 
First Folio, was set at a steep 20 shillings, the cost of over 100 
loaves of bread. "The fate of all bookes depends upon your capacities, 
and not of your heads alone, but of your purses," the editors wrote in 
their introduction. "Whatever you do, buy."

Even back then, Shakespeare's value as an artist was tied to his worth 
at the till. Not that it was a hard sell; he was pretty handy with a 
quill. From Macbeth's tortured soul to Much Ado About Nothing's romantic 
antics, he had the uncanny ability to put into words what it means to be 
human. "More than any other writer, he can teach us enormously about 
ourselves," says American Shakespeare critic Harold Bloom. "He has this 
almost miraculous ability to keep inventing language, to think more 
deeply, and more capaciously, than any philosophical mind and to show us 
how far thinking can go."

But without that weighty tome published by his two friends, Shakespeare 
might never have gone from local boy made good to global literary icon. 
"If you believe that Shakespeare's words have survived because they were 
written by a great poet and playwright, you're wrong," says Gary Taylor, 
English scholar at Florida State University and co-editor of the Oxford 
University Press's authoritative edition of Shakespeare's complete works 
(see Viewpoint). "His words have survived because someone put them into 
pieces of type, set those into forms, pressed those inked forms into 
sheets of paper and sewed those sheets together in a particular order." 
And because someone else bought them.

That relationship between culture and cash has followed Shakespeare ever 
since. . . .

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
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editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Shakespeare and Religion Chronology

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0218  Monday, 27 March 2006

From: 		Dennis Taylor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 24 Mar 2006 16:26:55 -0500
Subject: 	Shakespeare and Religion Chronology

The Shakespeare and Religion Chronology web page, with a revised address,

http://www.bc.edu/publications/relarts/supplements/shakespeare/

has been updated.

Suggestions and Corrections are most welcome.  Note that the Chronology 
has 2 purposes:

1) to chart the course of sectarian religious interpretations of 
Shakespeare, i.e. Catholic, Protestant, secular.

2) to chart the interaction of Catholic, Protestant, and secular 
currents in our culture especially as they impinge on literature.

The motive behind the construction of the web page is to encourage our 
seeing Shakespeare as at the heart of this great cultural debate.

Dennis Taylor
Professor of English
Editor
Religion and the Arts
25 Lawrence Ave.
Boston College
Chestnut Hill MA 02467
6175523729
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0216  Friday, 24 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 18:18:39 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0194 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

[2] 	From: 	Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, 24 Mar 2006 02:12:22 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0204 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 18:18:39 -0500
Subject: 17.0194 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0194 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

Gerald E. Downs writes in detail about the way some biographers of 
Shakespeare too often have presented their assumption as to what Chettle 
thought of Shakespeare as though it were a fact. However, I believe that 
almost all biographers of Shakespeare say somewhere or other that much 
of what they say is based on guesswork. Perhaps footnotes stating that 
not all scholars believe Chettle mentioned Shakespeare in his famous 
Epistle to Kind-Harts Dreame would be proper in the works of those 
biographers. On the other hand, loading a biography with caveats about 
every detail the biography is based on would (if even practical) cost 
the biography far more in readability than it would add to it in 
scholarly integrity.

Moreover, as I have shown 
(http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/1492/chettle), it is near-certain 
that Chettle was speaking of Shakespeare. Yes, we all are aware that 
since "A target not included in (the group of three playwrights the 
Groatsworth letter was addressed to) will not qualify without convincing 
argument." But I present such convincing argument--as have many others 
besides "The only post-Erne publication" Downs saw "arguing this 
issue"--D. Allen Carroll's *Reading the 1592 Groatsworth Attack on 
Shakespeare", Tennessee Law Review, v. 72, Fall 2004) that Downs bothers 
to consider. Rather than present my arguments yet again, I will limit 
myself here to comments on what Downs says in his post against 
Shakespeare as one of the playwrights Chettle apologized to.

1. Downs says, "To say that "If the apology is directed to Shakespeare, 
then 'quality' refers to acting," then argue that "Peele was not an 
actor," is to beg the question. If the apology was not directed to 
Shakespeare, then 'quality' was in reference to someone else. This seems 
rather to be arguing that 'quality' referred to acting with an 
exclusivity that is not warranted by surviving usage, as Erne notes (& 
may be noted further)."

Who says "if the apology is directed to Shakespeare, then 'quality' 
refers to acting? What I and others say is that "quality" could refer to 
acting; Shakespeare was an actor; ergo, the use of the word "quality" 
suggests that Chettle was referring to the actor Shakespeare. No 
question-begging there.

2. Downs says that "Comparing insults does not narrow the field. One may 
offend another deeply and not give a hoot, but regret a minor slight to 
yet another." This is supposed to demonstrate that several persons 
besides Marlowe and the Crow could have been offended by the 
Groatsworth, so Chettle could as easily have been apologizing to two of 
the former as to Marlowe and the Crow. It demonstrates no such thing. 
If, as is clear, the Groatsworth insults Marlowe and the Crow 
significantly more that it insults anyone else (and it partly 
compliments Peele), then we can properly reason that Marlowe and the 
Crow were MORE LIKELY to have been offended than the others, and more 
likely to have gone to Chettle about the matter and gotten an apology 
from him.

3. I agree with Downs that Chettle's "spare' is not very likely a 
reference to Shake"spare."

4. Downs thinks "Erne effectively argues that Shakespeare is not likely 
to be referred to as 'scholar.'" I don't. Chettle's letter is clearly 
rushed. He doesn't directly call the play-makers he apologizes to 
scholars, he just reminds his readers that he has long "hindered the 
bitter inueying against schollers." This suggests he means "schollers" 
as writers, to me--but what if he didn't think the second playwright he 
apologizes to was a "scholler?" Would he have said, "With neither of 
them that take offence, one of whom was not a schollar, was I 
acquainted?" He's concerned in this sentence with the two who took 
offence, not with whether they were scholars or not.

I doubt he was trying for great accuracy, anyway. Moreover, he could 
simply not have known whether or not the second playwright was a 
university man. He himself was not. So he used the term (as I once 
addressed a jr. college teacher of mine as "doctor," thinking he must 
have had a Ph.D., although it turned out he did not). Or he could have 
known the man was not a university graduate but wanted to compliment him 
by suggesting, very indirectly, that he was. Still, I think Chettle was 
just writing fast, as everything in his preface indicates. This also, of 
course, is my (main) explanation for his forgetting that the second 
playwright was not one of the "divers play-makers" the Groatsworth was 
addressed to.

5. Downs: "The opinion that Chettle is responsible for the 'lying 
pamphlet' is not an assumption but a carefully argued case paralleling 
the 'apology' issue."

Me: Actually, it is an inconclusive, standard scholarly attempt to show 
superior counter-intuitive originality by going against direct evidence.

According to Downs, however, "The strong prima facie case for Chettle's 
forgery was effectively told by Chauncey Sanders in the thirties, but 
the facts almost speak for themselves. The copy was in Chettle's hand. 
The book was entered at his 'peril.' Most importantly to my mind, the 
very friends addressed in GGW pegged it for a forgery. They were in a 
better position to judge, in every way."

This doesn't mean much to me. Should the book have been published at 
Greene's peril? And Nashe is the only one of the three it addressed who 
wrote anything about it, and I don't believe he claimed it was a 
forgery. Without, so far as we know, having read it.

As for the thing being in Chettle's hand, Chettle himself says he copied 
it out for the printer. I note that among the facts overlooked are the 
book's title-page.

6. Downs introduces the possibility that Chettle wrote the Groatsworth, 
because "If Chettle wrote the vicious attack on Shakespeare, would he so 
easily be motivated to apologize for it? If he inadvertently offended 
one of 'Greene's' addressees (while purposely attacking Marlowe); in the 
process bringing suspicion on himself as the perp, wouldn't his apology 
make sense? In other words, it may matter if Chettle wrote the letter."

Not at all does it matter. If he wrote the letter, Chettle's apology 
could make good sense for any or all of the following (and other 
similar) reasons: (a) he really didn't know Shakespeare but targetted 
him because of a rumor he mistakenly accepted, and when he found out the 
rumor was wrong, he apologized; (b) he knew little about Shakespeare but 
was jealous of the success of his HenryVI play so attacked him, later 
realizing how petty he'd been; (c) he attacked him because he thought 
him a marginal figure but found out he had powerful friends, so tried to 
get on his good side with his apology; (d) he attacked him because he 
knew Greene would have, then found him a decent fellow, so apologized to 
him; (e) he thought apologizing to him would help distance him from 
authorship of the Groatsworth--that is, if he was seen to think 
Shakespeare a good chap, it would be less likely that he'd be suspected 
of having attacked him.

7. "As Carroll shows, Greene's previously published material was 
ingeniously used to mimic Greene, taking advantage of Greene's own habit 
of borrowing from himself." I quote Downs here only to reveal how he 
takes Carroll's opinion as a fact after inveighing against biographers 
who have taken Chettle's apology as to Shakespeare as a fact.

Downs ends with an assertion that errors were caught long ago. "Because 
publications have been slow to address these problems, a forum such as 
this has a chance to discuss them with clarifying effect." That I can 
agree with, but with the understanding that, for me, "the problems" are 
not the allegedly caught errors but the misguided attempts of certain 
scholars to prove themselves superior to common sense.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 24 Mar 2006 02:12:22 EST
Subject: 17.0204 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0204 Chettle, Greene, Shake-scene

Julia Griffin asks:

 >On the issue of Greene and GGW: does Professor Downs [I'm not]
 >have an opinion about the image of Greene himself in this work?
 >I'm interested in the representation it gives of his misery and
 >degradation, which some critics (e.g., Lorna Hutson) have dismissed
 >as a literary trope.  The same wretched picture emerges from the
 >flurry of Greene pamphlets that appeared after his death, and from
 >Gabriel Harvey's cruel Four Letters, but it seems to be denied, or
 >partially denied, by Nashe in Strange News.

I am skeptical of all accounts, for various reasons (most forgotten). 
The later pamphlets are not credible. Greene's own works set the stage 
and publication of 'Quip' coincident with the death of Harvey's brother 
seems to account for a cruelty that probably included lies.  Nashe's 
engaging style makes him a better witness. GGW follows Harvey's 2nd of 
the 4 Letters from the press, which may have set the scene.

Marcus Dahl asks:

 >As I'm sure everyone will be aware, if Chettle is the [main] author
 >of GGW and the supposed attack on Shakespeare is actually
 >aimed at Marlowe/ Nashe/ Peele, then it also seems to affect the
 >issue (to which it is always attached) of the authorship of 1HVI.
 >I wonder if you have a view on this?

Bob Grumman answers for me: "He does," but Bob has not read carefully. 
Don Bloom responds to the question differently:

 >I find myself puzzled. Is he saying that "Shake-scene" does not
 >refer to Shake-speare? Or, the puppet, the upstart crow, and
 >the ape?

I didn't address the GGW attack on "Shake-scene." I did mention the 
attack on Marlowe (based on the atheism 'Greene' renounces), to whom 
Chettle did not apologize. Dahl's question should then be restated 
before anyone can properly respond. However, the point I take from 
Erne's argument is that the attack on 'Shake-scene' should be read 
unmixed with the KHD apology unless better argument comes to its rescue. 
As unwelcome as this may be to tradition, it is a simplification of the 
issues.

I'm not sure what is asked of 1H6 if the parodied line is from 3H6.  I 
have not studied Dahl's arguments (or anyone else's lately) on these 
plays. With little certain about GGW, I take 'Shake-scene' to be 
Shakespeare and agree that the parodied line is attributed to him. I 
assume the passage it comes from was much admired..  The play it comes 
from is problematic because the derivative H6 bad quartos were in the 
offing. Did Chettle refer to True Tragedy or to 3H6?

Gerald E. Downs

_______________________________________________________________
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Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0217  Friday, 24 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 18:48:21 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0207 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

[2] 	From: 	Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 18:26:09 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0207 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 18:48:21 +0000
Subject: 17.0207 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0207 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

Joe Egert wrote: "Is the Machiavellian Duke once more evading his own 
responsibility and selecting yet another Angelo in Lucio to clean up his 
(the Duke's) own mess?"

For my money, that is precisely what he is doing. I can't see 'divine 
right' real or assumed. His 'disguise' as a monk is an affront to the 
monastic calling, and as cynical as you can get - exploitation and abuse 
of the secrecy of the confessional, assumption of the role of a priest 
to learn stuff from unsuspecting and innocent women / girls - I mean, 
what else do you want?? THEN has the temerity to accuse Lucio of 
terrible things? Pot and kettle and black come into the same sentence 
here for me.

The guy is a failed ruler, abdicates, schemes, deceives, lies, gets 
people to trade sexual favours for political advantage - he is the 
darkest of all dark corner dukes. Comes out unscathed and, mirabile 
visu, restored to the throne.

I am afraid I think he and Isabella deserve each other to be honest. I 
do not like her noli me tangere procuring of Mariana to save her 
virginity and effectively try to save her brother. Sorry.  Leaves a very 
nasty taste - as I suspect both Duke and Isabella are meant to. Whited 
Sepulchres?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 18:26:09 -0500
Subject: 17.0207 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0207 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

Bravo, Ed Taft (why am I not surprised?). I never said that Isabella 
didn't have problems of her own-or that a male who has been compromised 
by another man could not imagine what it felt like to be in Isabella's 
predicament.

Following Ed's train of thought, there are many repressed females (some 
of whom engage in S&M as a result) who are only comfortable copulating 
if they appear to be "forced" into the act. A Freudian could give you a 
more colorful explanation; suffice it to say (from me) that Isabella's 
puritanical attitudes are also suspect-but *not* because she is a 
"whore," willingly bartering sex for her brother's emancipation. She 
rejects responsibility for her own sexuality, and wants (for a better 
way to put it) to hide from men and the world behind her novice's veil 
(something like Maria in "The Sound of Music," but far less innocent). 
HOWEVER---

the fact that she needs to seem "unwilling" to be capable of being 
receptive to a man (the Duke) does *not* entitle a man to whom she is 
truly unreceptive (Angelo) to corner her into accepting his 
attentions-which was the point of my earlier post. It is difficult 
(biologically) for a woman to rape a man-but the same impediments don't 
exist, for a man to force either an unwilling woman or an unwilling man 
into unwanted coitus-and I'm sure the sense of violation (even between 
two homosexual males) is equal to what I described, that case.

I hope I've offended no one's sensibilities, in this exchange.

Carol Barton

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
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Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0215  Friday, 24 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 14:26:23 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

[2] 	From: 	Bob Marks <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 16:19:45 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

[3] 	From: 	Matt Henerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, 24 Mar 2006 00:06:01 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 14:26:23 -0700
Subject: 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

John-Paul Spiro makes some good points.  But I would respond that having 
a character like Portia-or Kent, Edgar, Henry V, Vincentio, Rosalind, 
Viola, etc., etc.-in disguise (even cross dressing) is quite different 
from having an actor play two different characters: that is, two 
characters the play intends us to take as separate and distinct persons.

The difference comes partly from the fact that, in the case of disguise, 
the audience knows the character is in disguise and hears dialogue 
alluding to the disguise and highlighting the ironies, while the play 
texts are in no way equally explicit about doubling.  As far as I know, 
the texts we have from Shakespeare's time never explicitly require 
doubling or indicate which parts should be doubled, nor do they use the 
presumed doubling of particular parts as the source of clearly 
demonstrable effects.  The doubling practiced in Shakespeare's time 
would (as I think) have had pragmatic reasons and limitations that would 
at the very least have put symbolic and ironic reverberations on the 
back burner.

But my thinking would be swayed if someone could provide concrete 
evidence of doubling in Shakespeare's time deliberately designed for 
symbolic or thematic effect.

I still think such symbolic and ironic doubling is a modern practice 
that we should be on our guard against reading back into Shakespeare's time.

My complaint about directors confusing or abusing audiences comes from 
the fact that heavy-handed directorial message-telegraphing has done 
more damage than perhaps anything else to the productions I've seen over 
the past 20 or 30 years.

But I admit that sometimes directors' attempts at symbolism, if done 
subtly and intelligently enough, have worked for me.

Bruce Young

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Marks <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 23 Mar 2006 16:19:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

In discussing the doubling of Fool and Cordelia here we are skirting 
around the possibility that Cordelia never left England but stayed 
behind and served her father disguised as his Fool - the original Fool 
having been Oswald who left Lear's service and joined up with Goneril 
(in Leir).

I know that this idea must seem to be off the planet to many of you, but 
I assure you that there are many good reasons for it. I have an 
extensive website dedicated entirely to the idea. Some of you may not 
have seen. It begins at: http://users.bigpond.net.au/catchus/student.html

Not a joke!
Bob Marks

Cordelia:
...since what I well intend, I'll do't before I speak...that you make 
known It is no vicious blot....

Fool:
...Why, this fellow has banish'd two on's daughters, and did the third a 
blessing against his will...

Lear:
And my poor Fool is hang'd! ... Do you see this? Look on her, look, her 
lips, Look there, look there!

http://users.bigpond.net.au/catchus/chapters.html
http://users.bigpond.net.au/catchus/a000.html

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Matt Henerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 24 Mar 2006 00:06:01 -0500
Subject: 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0203 Doubling of Cordelia and the Fool: Again

Mr. Ackroyd can offer no evidence in support of this doubling in 
Shakespeare's company, and I, in my turn, can offer no real evidence for 
my repudiation of the idea.  Of the three--soon to be four--LEARs I've 
appeared in, the roles were only doubled in one, and that didn't work 
very well.  The actor, a very young, petite and athletic woman--she 
played Ariel in the same season--was a strong Cordelia, but she didn't 
have the gravitas to oppose a much older, much larger Lear.  Other than 
that production, I've never seen the doubling tried, although I thought 
Emma Thompson a wonderful Fool in an otherwise forgettable production 
for the Renaissance Theatre Company in the early 90's, and she recorded 
Cordelia for the same company a few years later, so she could certainly 
have carried it off.

The problem for the contemporary director is that he or she is most 
often forced to look for a Cordelia who can also play Fool, rather than 
a Fool who can also play Cordelia, and Cordelia is a much more 
physically specific piece of casting.  She must be a woman, and while 
the Fool can be either sex, the role is written male.  She must be the 
youngest of three sisters, all three of whom are potentially sexually 
active.  This is not to say that people don't have sex into their 
eighties, but Goneril and Regan tend to be cast in their thirties and 
forties.  The Fool has no sexual stakes in the play, and he may be 
played--in fact he seems to me to work best when he is played--as an 
older man.

While Mr. Ackroyd, and others who argue in favor of this double, 
emphasize the links between the characters, I find the differences 
between them equally compelling.  Certainly both try to force Lear to 
acknowledge the folly of his behavior, but the way in which they each go 
about it emphasizes the gulf of age and experience which separates them. 
  Cordelia has the absolute faith and rigorous moral convictions of the 
very young.  All she needs to do is tell her father the truth, and he'll 
see the error of his ways.  In defending her position, she advances a 
50-50 division of a woman's love between a parent and a husband as the 
natural order of things.  There is no gray area here, none of the little 
concessions to psychology or personal politics which adult children have 
been making to aged parents since just after the flood.  "But goes thy 
heart with this?"  Of course it does.  She doesn't even seem to pick up 
on the fury just barely concealed by "So young and so untender?"  She 
begins a new line with three perfect iambs: "So young, my lord, and 
true." as if that will end the discussion.  And the storm breaks upon 
her unawares.

The Fool knows his man better; he's probably known him longer.  His 
attacks are much more sophisticated and indirect.  He knows exactly how 
far he can go before he's whipped, and he recognizes the danger to Lear 
in provoking him to an ungovernable fury.  In fact, he's forced to watch 
in complete silence in II iv, as Goneril and Regan do deliberately 
exactly what Cordelia did unconsciously in I i.  "All thy other titles 
thou hast given away, that thou wast born with." makes much more sense 
in a middle aged or elderly mouth.  Its owner has seen all sorts of 
titles--permanent, transient, actual and metaphorical--come and go, and 
no twenty-something would seriously advise anybody to "Leave thy drink 
and thy whore/And keep in a door/And thou halt have more/Than two tens 
to a score."  The conservatism, not to say the puritanism, in the 
injunction to lay aside the good stuff and save a little something for 
your retirement makes the line an injunction from one old man to 
another.  The youngest daughter says "Dad, you're an idiot."  The old 
friend and/or retainer can plausibly say "Come on, Old Man, act your age."

All of which is not to say that there are not some young actresses out 
there who can't pull both characters off, but one of the many things 
that makes Emma Thompson so marvellous is that there aren't that many of 
her.  It's a bromide in the profession that anybody capable of playing 
Juliet is too old to be cast in the role, but we've all seen marvellous 
Juliets.  The role is, after all, written as and for a young woman/man 
by the greatest of practical playwrights.  I am convinced--and again I 
can offer no evidence--that the Fool was written for Robert Armin, a 
profound and intelligent middle aged comedian, a fact which would make 
it necessarily difficult for a young woman to play him.  I've seen it 
tried several times, with and without doubling Cordelia, and I've never 
seen it work.

Matt Henerson

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