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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: May ::
Distinguishing Goneril from Regan
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0341  Tuesday, 15 May 2007

[1] 	From: 	Edmund Taft <
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 	Date: 	Tuesday, 8 May 2007 13:56:07 -0400
 	Subj: 	Distinguishing Goneril from Regan

[2] 	From: 	Mario DiCesare <
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 	Date: 	Tuesday, 08 May 2007 23:18:06 -0400
 	Subj: 	Distinguishing Goneril from Regan

[3] 	From: 	Elliott Stone <
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 	Date: 	Wednesday, 9 May 2007 08:23:40 -0500
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0326 Distinguishing Goneril from Regan


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Edmund Taft <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 8 May 2007 13:56:07 -0400
Subject: 	Distinguishing Goneril from Regan

About an earlier post of mine, Larry Weiss comments:

"Ed Taft seems to suggest that the sisters' birth order and supposed 
differences in the paternal affections they received gave Goneril a 
preference for weak men while Regan preferred strong ones. If that were 
so, it would be likely that Regan would exhibit other submissive 
characteristics, but she does not.  Then, having made this point in the 
absence of any real evidence in the text, Ed has to strain to explain why 
the sisters (with supposedly diametrically opposed personalities and 
preferences in men) should both fall in love with Edmund."

This is a very intelligent comment, but it doesn't quite put the pieces of 
the puzzle together. First off, Goneril would prefer weak men if she was 
once Lear's favorite but is no longer. Having been supplanted by Cordelia, 
Goneril now hates Lear, who has forsaken her.

The fact that Regan chooses a Lear-like husband suggests that she NEVER 
was Lear's favorite.

Hence, she hates her father too. It doesn't mean she is passive; it means 
she wants what she never got.

There's no "strain" in explaining why both women fall in love with Edmund 
[not Edgar, thanks, Larry!].

The Lear-like, young Edmund gives Goneril a chance to get Daddy back, 
while it gives Regan one last chance to get Daddy in the first place.

It all fits, Larry. Modern psychological theories do not help us 
understand every early modern text, but they "fit" THIS one - just as, for 
example, they help explain _Coriolanus_.

Best,
Ed

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Mario DiCesare <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 08 May 2007 23:18:06 -0400
Subject: 	Distinguishing Goneril from Regan

Dear Colleagues,

This has been quoted and commented on more than once in this quite 
interesting thread:

    "Both, of course, fall in love with Edgar, whose overwhelming 
masculinity...."

I guess it's what one of my merrier teachers called a "lipsis languae" 
[sic]. Fine. But that it should be repeated....

Cheers,
Mario

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Elliott Stone <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 9 May 2007 08:23:40 -0500
Subject: 18.0326 Distinguishing Goneril from Regan
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0326 Distinguishing Goneril from Regan

Do we all agree with Brad Berens statement "--I think, worth pointing out 
that Shakespeare never expected the primary manner in which people would 
interact with his plays to be via reading"? There are many people that 
take this as fact. However, could it possibly be true? We all puzzle when 
we read the Shakespeare plays and poems over the most pleasing and 
sophisticated thoughts. The depths of the works can never be plumbed in a 
single performance on the stage. We need to read the works over and over 
again. Can we honestly believe that Shakespeare was writing just for an 
uneducated class of yeoman who filled up the yard and rough benches at the 
Globe?

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

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