Category Archives: Today

RQ: Intro (1-40) & Richard II

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Genealogy of the English MonarchyElizabeth_I_(Armada_Portrait)

According to Yachnin & Dawson, why does Richard II occupy “an important place in the Shakespeare canon” (1)? Why doesn’t the play get taught more often?

What does Queen Elizabeth mean when she says, ““I am Richard II know ye not that…He that will forget God will also forget his benefactors…this tragedy was played forty times in open streets and houses” (Chambers, II 326-7 (4)?

Devereaux_essex4
Why did supporters of the Early of Essex commission a special performance of Richard II in 1601? What came of the performance?

How and/or why does the printed text of Richard II change between the late 16th and the early 17th?

Was the deposition scene (4.1) cut from or added to the printed editions (both Q & F) after 1608? Why?

Why was the deposition more of an issue than the regicide?

According to the editors, “What thoughts can honor and allegiance not think?” (18).

What are the “king’s two bodies” and how does he get them (17)? Is the King subject to the law, or is the law subject to the King?

Who eventually deposes Richard and why?

How does the play set-up the audience as judges of affairs of state? How else the does the play position the roles of playgoers (ex:3.4 & 5.2)?

“What is the nature and source of political authority and under what circumstances is it legitimate to resist or even overthrow that authority” (21)?

What are some standard purposes of historical writing and how does Richard II meet those standards?

What is “sacral kingship” and how does it play out in Richard II?

Richard II, Act I

What does it mean that Richard refuses to arbitrate the quarrel between Bolingbroke and Mowbray?

Does it show his weakness or his that his strength comes from God b/c he allows God to arbitrate via trial by combat?

Does the courtliness get in the way of the fighting? Is it a substitute for fighting, or is the violence a substitute for courtliness? Violent rhetorical skirmish and lots of repetition, who’s all that rhetoric for?

When Richard interrupts the tournament at 1.3.55 (or so), does he interrupt God’s judgment

Why banish Bolingbroke?

Act 4

How does the phrase free speech pepper this act? How has its meaning or effect changed since the courtroom scene in act 1?

Of what does Bagot accuse Aumerle (4.1.11-13) and how does Aumerle respond?

How does act four repeat the actions and rhetoric in act 1? How is it different? What’s the point of the repetition?

Why won’t Bolingbroke let Bagot pick up Aumerle’s gage (duel challenge)?

What testimony does Fitzwater give against Aumerle? What proof does he offer? Why does he throw down his gage?

What testimony does Percy give against Aumerle? Does he offer any proof? Why does he throw down his gage?

What testimony Another Lord give against Aumerle? Does he offer any proof? Why does he throw down his gage?

Does Surrey give false testimony in the court? How can Bolingbroke know if he’s lying or not & why may the undecidability be a problem?

Why all the puns on “lie” (4.1.68-90)?

What does Aumerle do when he runs out of gloves to throw down to challenge his interlocutors?

How does Bolingbroke resolve the quarrel amongst his nobles? What can Norfolk do to help find out the truth about Gloucester’s murder (4.1.90)? Why can’t Norfolk provide testimony after all?

With what news does York interrupt the proceedings?

What does York mean when he says, “Ascend his throne, descending now from him,/And long live Henry, of that name the forth!” (4.1.112-13)? Can humans just do that, or do the intrude on divine decision?

How does Henry respond? How does Carlisle (4.1.115-50)?

Why is Richard so much more active in this scene that Henry? Are you surprised?

Why does Henry call Richard in front of the court? Why not just kill him?

What does Richard communicate through his “hollow crown” metaphor (4.1.182-89) that he could not have communicated more plainly?

What does Richard give to Bolingbroke and what does he keep for himself?

What does Richard loose and what does he gain? What’s lost with Richard? What loss do we experience?

What service does Richard ask of Henry and how does Henry respond? Does Henry grant his request?

What does Northumberland require of Richard and how does Richard respond?

How is Richard like Kate? Is he a scold?

How does York anticipate Titus Andronicus?

If Shakespeare puts absolute sovereignty on trial to be adjudicated by the audience that he has transformed into a jury, what sorts of appeals does the play make for and against sovereignty and what is your final assessment?

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Workshop. 22 Oct.

Darkest London, Marc Haynes

Letters in Lear

 

Edmund’s letter that tricks Gloucester (2.45-57); Oswald’s letter to Regan or Gonoril sends Oswald with a letter to Regan to report on Lear’s rowdy knights (4.315); Regan explains to Gloucester that she received messages from her father and sister (6.122); Kent makes the best of a night in the stocks by reading his secret letter from someone sympathetic to Lear (7.156-166); Kent gives ring to the First Gentleman as a sign of his identity (8.39); Gloucester tells Edmund that he has a secret letter from French forces sympathetic to Lear (10.10-11); Edmund turns over the secret letter to Cornwall and Cornwall uses it to interrogate Gloucester (14.1-3); First Gentleman relates to Kent Cordelia’s reaction to the letters he sent (17); Regan tries to get Oswald to show her the letters for Edmund (19.6); and Gonoril’s letter to Edmund asking him to kill Albany (20.254-62).

What sorts of claims can we make about all these letters?

  • Miscommunication: is it easier to communicate fact-to-face or in writing, why or why not?
  • The letters model strategies for interpretation
  • Of course most of the letters never arrive, there is no King to insure basic systems function properly
  • Shakespeare uses the letters to help the audience imagine space and time
  • The letters are more like telephones.

Validity of Scholarly Sources

We reviewed the Digital Edition assignment. Specifically ways to respond to the prompt; how to search for scholarly articles/books; and how to determine the validity of scholarly work.

  • To find secondary sources on Shakespeare (i.e. literary studies), search the MLA International Bibliography using key word combinations usually made up of the title of the work you are writing about and your major topic of inquiry. Be prepared to narrow or expand your inquiry topic. Ex: Politics to Sovereignty, or Language to Simile.
  • There are several ways to determine the validity of scholarly articles, publication date, publication location, and institutional affiliation. For our purposes, articles published in the last 10 years are more likely to speak to our topical interests. The following are the major journals in Shakespeare Studies and early modern literature: Shakespeare Quarterly, Early English Literature, English Studies, Studies in English Literature, Shakespeare, Shakespeare Yearbook, Studies in Philology, English Literary History, Exemplaria, Postmedieval, and Interdisciplinary Studies for Literature and the Environment.
  • To determine the validity of a book, first look up the author. Most professors have a department site or personal cite with their CV (curriculum vitae: sorts of resumes used by people in the humanities), and discern what sorts of work they have published and where. Also, look up publishers you do not recognize and read the “About” pages on their websites. For example The University of Minnesota Press.

Validity of Internet Sources

How do you determine the internet sources you link out to from your text are authoritative?

  • Institutional affiliation: Resources on King Lear posted to a PBS affiliate are likely more useful to a reader than unattributed sources
  • Publication dates and/or most recent update dates listed
  • Location on Google (or another search engine) results list. Does traffic equal validity? 
  • The validity of the source doesn’t matter as much as how you use it. In other words, if the link support, extends, challenges your reading then the validity matters less b/c you have put that source into context and given your users a reading strategy. 

I. Digital Edition Workshop, Pairs

Get into pairs, trade drafts, read the drafts, and then respond to the drafts. Use the questions below to guide your discussion:
  • Does the introduction make a claim? If not, brainstorm the claim with your partner and/or revise the topic into an arguable claim.
  • Does the draft include two of the following categories: textual criticism, critical responses, performance history, or Lear today? If not, brainstorm possible sections. Also, does the information in those sections help support, develop, extend the introduction?
  • Does the draft include a scene from Lear? Does the scene chosen support the claim? Or, why did the author decide on that scene?
  • Are there any links and/or footnotes? How do they develop the claim/goal of the project?
  • Discuss formatting strategies.

II. Digital Edition Workshop, Full Class

 

Post. Oct 19.

wax-seal

Recap

Last Thursday we watched the “Storm” sequence in Peter Brook’s & Paul Scofield’s King Lear (1971).

Storm: Afterwards we talked about ways directors and readers can imagine the storm. Brook’s storm is both literal and figurative (if not entirely realistic owing to technological constraints). We compared the storm outside to all the weeping in the play (Lear 7.434-37; Edgar 13.54-55; Eye Gouging in Scene 14; Cordelia’s tears in the First Gentleman’s report 17.14-16; and Lear, “Why, this would make a man of salt/To use his eyes for garden water-pots,/Ay, and laying autumn’s dust” (20.184-86); and, of course the tears the audience sheds). I asked, what does the storm convey that words cannot? And, is the storm magical, unnatural, or manmade?

Edgar (Natural Man): What sorts of stories does he tell about himself and why (Scenes 11 & 15); and Lear’s famous phrase,”Unaccomodated man” (11.96) and the question of nakedness as pertains to ways to distinguish man from nonhuman things.

Q1 v. F1: near the end of class I mention several scenes/passage we read for Thursday and today occur only in Q1 (1608) and not in the “revised” Folio (1623). The following are some Q1 only passages/scenes:

  • The arraignment sequence in the hovel: 12.15-49
  • Edgar’s final speech that begins, “When we our betters bearing our woes” (12.91-105
  • Gloucester’s two servants planning to help him after he looses his eyes (14.95-110)
  • Albany’s part in Scene 16 is reduced by 50 or so lines
  • Scene 17 where Kent meets with the [First Gentleman] and he gives his report of Cordelia’s response to Lear’s transformation; and the Folio version cuts another exchange between Kent and the [First] Gentleman, 21.77-95.
  • In Q1, Albany gets the last lines of the play and in F1 Edgar speaks them, “The weight of this sad time we must obey,/Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say./The oldest hath borne most. We that are young/Shall never see so much, nor live so long” (24.298-301).

Digital Edition: I made a model of both a first draft and a second draft.

 

Part I. Group Activity

Get into the groups listed below; introduce yourselves; and then respond to prompt. Be prepared to cite specific examples from the text during discussion.

Groups

  • 1. Kelsey, Madison, Patrick, Hannah P, & June
  • 2. Beau, Ainee, Hannah M., Caroline, & Sun
  • 3. Robert, Kira, Sarah, Nicholas, & Jeffrey
  • 4. Isabelle, Shamala, Thomas, Danny, & Tony
  • 5. Angeline, Chan, Alexandra, & Bailey

Prompt

There sure are a lot of letters in King Lear. Complete the following to explain why:

Trace some of the letters sent throughout the play, compare their content, and use your findings to draft a claim about the function of the almost hyperbolic exchange of letters in King Lear.

 

 

 

Part II. Discussion: King Lear and Contemporary Environmental Crisis

What sorts of connections did you make between the play and current natural events/crisis? What sorts of language is used to describe contemporary events? How does that succeed and/or fail? What themes, images, and/or relationships does the play provide to help us figure nature in the modern world and redress natural problems?

Digital Edition Example (draft)

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Below you’ll find the first draft of a Digital Edition that I wrote. Feel free to use it as a model for the blog post you have due on Thursday. I also revised the DE into a second draft called King Lear‘s Eco-Futurity.

Introduction

From the division of the Kingdoms to the final “Never, never, never!” (24.303), King Lear seems totally sterile. Consider the infertility rings out in Lear’s refrain: “Nothing can come of nothing” (1.81 and 4.126); the way that the rosemary and pins Edgar “strikes” in his “bare arms” suggests nothing can grow in the earth (7.181-82); and the image of the failed graft with which Albany figures Gonoril’s “disposition” (16.32-36 Q1) as just three instances of King Lear‘s barren nature.

And yet, for all the “Never’s,” “Nothing’s,” and “O’s” (24.304), the play teems with animal and vegetable life. There is a veritable assemblage of foxes, horses, cats, adders, vultures, bears, crows, choughs, and all manner of dogs. Add to the menagerie of animals rosemary, samphire, and of course, “rank fumitory and furrow-weeds,/With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,/Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow/In our sustaining corn” (18.3-5), and the play seems less a barren waste and more a seething aggregate of viability. Not only does the play stage vegetable excesses amid the total collapse of civilization, characters constantly attribute ruin to cataclysmic natural events. For instance, Gloucester attributes several crises to “These late eclipses in the sun and moon” (2.101-102), just as Kent credits “the stars/The stars above us” for their dire conditions. Despite the ruin, waste, and nihility with which the play engages its audience, I argue King Lear offers a model for sustainable futures. The prototype for human, nonhuman, and inhuman ecology the play provides is an especially useful resource for 21st century readers. Since we live after radical environmental change, i.e. humans effect the world now more than ever, we need to reconsider the future we have imagined for ourselves. If we look to our past, as Shakespeare looks to his, we can find ways to face our mistakes to develop a more capacious regard for forms of life.

Critical Responses

King Lear has been a regarded as an exemplary instance of the pastoral in English since its inception. In recent years the play has become a key text for Posthumanism. Two key examples of Posthumanist King Lear scholarship are Laurie Shannon’s “Poor, Bare, Forked: Animal Happiness and the Zoographic Critique of Humanity,” from her book, The Accommodated Animal: Cosmopolity in Shakespearean Locales and Andreas Hofele’s “‘I’ll see their trial first’: Law and Disorder in Lear’s Animal Kingdom,” from his book Stage, Stake, and Scaffold: Humans and Animals in Shakespeare’s Theater.

Though Shannon and Hofele both agree that King Lear engages the animal kingdom as much as human sovereignty, they make two different arguments. Shannon argues XXXXX.  Summarize and compare both authors. Then explain how a synthesis of their argument informs my edition.

Recent Performance History

Animals, vegetables, and minerals are important in two recent production of King Lear.

When John Lithgow played Lear in Central Park two summers ago, one commenter explained how a raccoon crossed the stage while Mr. Lithgow was off of it. The blog provided a record of all sorts of unexpected nonhuman interventions over the course of the production, as well as Mr. Lithgow’s delightful reflections on the production. XXXXX. Develop with citations XXXXX.

Consider also a recent production of the play in London in which the director cast one human and nine sheep. In Lear with Sheep, Develop with citations from page.  Summarize and compare both performances. Then explain how a synthesis of their argument informs my edition.

King Lear, Scene 17 (the text below is cut and paste and illegible. Will need to format using easy bootstrap short code plugin tools such as columns or a table. Also, no links or gloss yet)

Enter Kent and a Gentleman.
Kent. Why the King of Fraunce is so suddenly gone backe,
know you no reason.
Gent. Something he left imperfect in the state, which since his
2347.5comming forth is thought of, which imports to the Kingdome,
So much feare and danger that his personall returne was most re
quired and necessarie.
Kent. Who hath he left behind him, General.
Gent. The Marshall of France Monsier la Far.

2347.10Kent. Did your letters pierce the queene to any demonstratiõ

Gent. I say she tooke them, read them in my presence,
And now and then an ample teare trild downe
Her delicate cheeke, it seemed she was a queene ouer her passion,
Who most rebell-like, sought to be King ore her.
2347.15Kent. O then it moued her.
Gent. Not to a rage,patience and sorow streme,
Who should expresse her goodliest you haue seene,
Sun shine and raine at once, her smiles and teares,
Were like a better way those happie smilets,
2347.20That playd on her ripe lip seeme not to know,
What guests were in her eyes which parted thence,
As pearles from diamonds dropt in briefe,
Sorow would be a raritie most beloued,
If all could so become it.
2347.25Kent. Made she no verball question.
Gent. Faith once or twice she heau’d the name of father,
Pantinglyforth as if it prest her heart,
Cried sisters,sisters, shame of Ladies sisters:
Kent, father, sisters, what ith storme ith night,
2347.30Let pitie not be beleeft there she shooke,
The holy water from her heauenly eyes,
And clamour moystened her, then away she started,
To deale with griefe alone.
Kent. It is the stars,the stars aboue vs gouerne our conditions,
2347.35Else one selfe mate and make could not beget,
Such different issues, you spoke not with her since.
Gent. No.Kent. Was this before the King returnd.
Gent. No, since.
Kent. Well sir, the poore distressed Lear‘s ith towne,
2347.40Who some time in his better tune remembers,

What we are come about,and by no meanes will yeeld to see his

Gent. Why good sir?
Kent. A soueraigne shame so elbows him his own vnkindnes
That stript her from his benediction turnd her,
2347.45To forraine casualties gaue her deare rights,
To his dog-harted daughters, these things sting his mind,
So venomously that burning shame detaines him from Cordelia.
Gent. Alack poore Gentleman.
Kent. Of Albanies and Cornewals powers you heard not.
2347.50Gent. Tis so they are a foote.
Kent. Well sir, ile bring you to our maister Lear,
And leaue you to attend him some deere cause,
Will in concealement wrap me vp awhile,
When I am knowne aright you shall not greeue,
2347.55Lending me this acquaintance, I pray you go along with me.

 

 

RQ: King Lear, Scenes 16-24

White_Cliffs_of_Dover_4_(Piotr_Kuczynski)

Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read King Lear Scenes 9-15. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

How does Oswald’s reply to Gonoril mark a turn in the plot and/or in Lear’s fortunes (16.4-11)?

Why does Edmund have to “Decline” his head to Gonoril (16.21)?

What accounts for Albany’s change in perspective? Was he already more on Lear’s side than his wife’s?

How does Albany express his disdain for Gonoril’s life choices? What sorts of metaphors does he use?

According to Albany, what sorts of things make humanity monstrous?

How does Gonoril respond to Albany’s critique of her sovereignty? Which character makes the more persuasive argument and why?

What happens to Cornwall?

How does Cordelia respond to Kent’s letters?

Why does the King of France return home?

Who/what controls human fate according to Kent? How does his POV accord with his own life trajectory?

Why won’t Lear agree to see Cordelia?

How does Cordelia describe her father?

What sorts of treatments does the Doctor prescribe for Lear?

What request does Regan make of Oswald, why? And how does Oswald respond?

How does Edgar trick Gloucester? Why does he “trifle” with his father’s “despair” (20.31)? Is he successful?

What does Edgar’s description of the vista at the Dover cliffs (20.11-23) reveal about his perspective? What does the speech reveal about perspective in general?

How is Scene 20 a miniature version of the whole play?

How does Edgar describe his father’s fall? What imagery does he use to figure the fall?

Why does Edgar change character again?

When Lear reenters at 20.80, we haven’t seen him since the end of Scene 13. How has changed? What sorts of linguistic markers suggest his transformation?

In what does Lear suggest that Gloucester might, “behold the great image of authority” (20.152)?

Where does Lear think the [First] Gentleman is taking him and how does he react?

Why does Edgar lie to his dad for a second time about who he is and where he comes from? In other words, why doesn’t Edgar reveal his real identity to Gloucester?

How does Oswald react to Gloucester when he meets he and Edgar on the road? How does Edgar react?

What requests does Oswald make of Edgar just before he dies?

What does Gonoril request Edmund do in the letter that Edgar intercepts?

How does Edgar respond? How does does Gloucester?

Why doesn’t Ken change out of his disguise in Scene 21 even though Cordelia knows who he is?

How do you respond to Cordelia’s questions 21.38-34?

How do the doctor and Cordelia attempt to cure Lear? Are they successful, why/why not?

How does Lear respond to his reunion with Cordelia? Does it break your heart?

How does Edmund deal with his two girlfriends problem?

Compare the processions with which Scene 23 opens to the procession in Scene 1, and compare the two sets of Father/Child in the opening to Scene 23.

What’s Lear’s plan for life in prison with Cordelia (24.7-19)?

 

 

 

Judgement. 15 Oct.

Lear_2

Recap

Nature in the abstract:
The open ended discussion of what nature means was especially productive last week. You all provided some very interesting & useful definitions that include, but are not limited to, the following paraphrases: people convert (manufacture) nature into culture; nature both precedes and exceeds culture; nature is a word that denotes rocks, plants, animals, humans, and the universe; human nature is a synonym for a force that drives people from the inside despite their best efforts; humans classify nature into hierarchies; nature represents the limits of human thought (i.e. dumb as a box of rocks); nature is insensible to human classification; and nature functions as a benchmark for determining value and/or has inherent value.

Nature in King Lear
  • Edmund’s soliloquy (2.1-21): He gives us nature as an abstract noun (anthropomorphism); state of nature that precedes (&exceeds?) culture, and as such can be made to function as an arbiter of value (i.e. bastards are better than legitimate babies); “natural ties of human feeling” (ft. nt. 1 p.116); natural, denoting “related to blood.”
  • “Book of Nature” and/or Omens: “An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of the stars!” (1.2.119-20).
  • Edgar’s transformation (7.166-85): Does Edgar decide to turn from culture to nature? Is his transformation inevitable, or does he choose to put on a disguise or costume? Also, & according to the play, can humans ever be naked? Is nature something a man can perform?
  • Nature as vitality: Lear telling Gloucester and Kent, “We are not ourselves/When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind/To suffer with the body” (7.268-70).
  • Unnatural: Lear’s criticisms of his daughters: “O, Regan she hath tied/Sharp-toothed unkindness like a vulture here” (7.294-5) & “Looked black upon me, struck me with her tongue/Most serpent-like upon the very heart” (7.317-18), to name just a two of many, many instances.

Part I. Judgement and Peter Brook’s & Paul Scofield King Lear (1971)

Keep the following in mind while we watch the heath scene from Brook’s Lear:
  • What interpretive choices does Brook make? Are they successful? Why or why not? 
  • What difference does it make to any of the action that follows that the decision at the center of the play is ambiguous? Also, after Lear who gets to choose?

Part II. Rhetorical Analysis of the Introduction

Take ten minutes to respond to the following and be prepared to cite specifics from Stanley Well’s introduction. Pay specific attention to pages 1-3 & pages
1
What sorts of arguments does Stanley Wells make in his Introduction? Could you read the play differently? 
2
What sorts of subheadings and information does the Introduction contain?
3
What’s unusual about the Wells edition of King Lear? How does he solve textual problems and why?
4
How do the Introduction and the footnotes in the text work together to produce a theory of the play?

Assignment Overview

Digital Edition

RO: King Lear, Scenes 9-15

Kelling_Heath

Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read King Lear Scenes 9-15. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Does the play in performance give audiences on stage and/or in the theater enough time to understand what the Fool says and sings? Why or why not?

Why don’t Cornwall and Regan allow Lear and his train into Gloucester’s castle? Is there decision justified? What sorts of mistakes do they make?

Does Lear cause the storm, or vice versa? What is the relationship between the storm and Lear’s “woman’s weapons” (7.435)?

Why does Shakespeare give audiences a report of Lear in the storm before we see him out on the heath?

What secret does Kent tell the First Gentleman in Scene 8? What surety of his story does Kent offer the First Gentleman?

If you were staging Lear, how would you portrait the “Storm” in Scene 9? Why?

Whom does Lear address in the opening lines of Scene 9? How does Lear’s address compare to the Boatswain’s first few lines in The Tempest?

Is the storm magical or sentient? How is it possible, in Lear’s assessment, for the storm to “Find out their enemies now” (9.51)? Compare the power Lear attributes to the storm in 9.50-60, i.e. the storm can discover who all the villains are even if they are wearing disguises, to 11.25-33. Does the storm transform Lear, from a seemingly unsympathetic man to a deeply sympathetic one, OR, does is he another counterfeit exposed? Could you even, ever tell the difference between the two? If not, so what?

Is Lear, “More sinned against than sinning” (9.60)?

What ideas or emotions does the storm convey to stage and theater audience, as well as readers, that words cannot (11.6-20)?

What motivates Lear’s pity for Tom? Is Lear sincere? How can you tell and so what? Also, does it matter that Tom is really Edgar, disguised nobleman?

When Edgar describes Tom’s life before the hovel, is he telling the truth? If yes, assess his character. For instance, are you surprised he chose to take on the costume of a beggar?

If you were directing this play, would you have Lear take off all his clothes at “Unaccomodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings! Come on, be true” (11.96-99)? Why or why not? AND, can an actor really ever be naked on stage? Also, did Derrida’s cat really see him naked? Is nakedness a feature of man that separates us from animals?

Where, or even how, do you think Edgar learned to curse?

What does Poor Tom eat? For what does his diet qualify him?

What, as Lear asks, is the “cause of the thunder” (11.139)?

Why can’t Gloucester recognize his own son?

Contemporary environmental discourse is often carried on by people who don’t live and work with animals or complex ecosystems. Is Edgar part of this tradition? OR, what might an actual wandering, wildman have to contribute to conversations about environmental justice?

Does Lear’s maddness come from inside or outside?

Where are they in Scene 13?

Why do you think that several key lines and actions in Scenes 13 & 14 are missing from F1? (13.15-45; 13.91-105; & 14.96-106). What difference does it make to what comes before or what comes after if these scenes/lines are cut?

Is Lear’s condemnation of his daughters in the mock trial justified? What does he see when he anatomizes Regan?

Why does Tom/Edgar taxonomize the all those dogs even as he disperses them?

Are Regan and Cornwall’s “revenges” (14.5) against Gloucester justified, why or why not?

How does Regan and Cornwall’s interrogation of Gloucester compare with the ‘mock trial’ scene that precedes it? What happens to the rest of the play if the mock trial scene is left out?

What does Gloucester see after he looses his eyes?

Where does he ask Edgar to lead him? White_Cliffs_of_Dover_4_(Piotr_Kuczynski)

 

 

Crisis. Oct 8.

VanKessleFishes

Recap

On Tuesday we discussed the infographics; wrapped up Shrew; talked briefly about literary genre; and made an initial assault on Lear. I want to know why Lear divides his kingdoms, and/or if the kingdoms are divided prior to the line: “Meantime we will express our darker purposes” (1.36).

Was the decision made in advance?
YES: Gloucester seems to know the king plans to divide the kingdoms (1.3-5); Gonoril and Regan seem to have prepared their speeches in advance (1.49-55 & 1.63-69); and Burgundy seems to have some prior knowledge “of what your highness has offered” (1.184).

Was the decision made in the moment?
YES: The outcome of the ‘love pledge contest’ Lear declares is serious, especially when we consider the ambiguity of lines like: “Tell me, my daughters,/Which of you shall we say doth love us most,/that we our largest bounty may extend/Where merit doth most challenge it” (1.44-47); Cordilia is not prepared for the contest (1.70-73); Lear ultimately splits the kingdom in half because Cordlia’s speech does not flatter him; and both Cordilia and Kent attempt to persuade Lear to recant what they think is a bad, or perhaps rash, decision (1.140-43)

Types of Choices


Choices Descriptions
Incentive Moment “Aristotle explains that a peripeteia occurs when a character produces an effect opposite to that which he intended to produce, while an anagnorisis ‘is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined for good or bad fortune.’ He argues that the best plots combine these two as part of their cause-and-effect chain (i.e., the peripeteia leads directly to the anagnorisis); this in turns creates the catastrophe, leading to the final ‘scene of suffering'” (Outline of Aristotle’s Theory of Tragedy)
Rash Boon A blind promise that often spurns the action in Romances or fairy tales (EX: Knight in Wife of Bath’s Tale); when a character vows to grant a wish and then is bound to follow through on the vow, despite not knowing the terms of the contract or what is expected of him in advance
Suspension “’To suspend: ‘To debar temporarily’…’To hold in an undecided state, to keep from falling off sinking’… “Suspension may denote a pause in action, but this pause could be considered akin to the precautionary principle, in which we recognize that the world’s intra-active material agencies often make it prudent to await ‘further information’” (Alaimo 476 & 477)
Decision (worthy of the name) “Because every decision (by its essence a decision is exceptional and sovereign) must escape the order of the possible, of what is already possible and programable for the supposed subject of the decision, because every decision worthy of the name must be this exceptional scandal of a passive decision” (Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, 2nd Session 33)

For Your Consideration:
So what? What difference does it make to any of the action that follows that the decision at the center of the play is ambiguous? Also, after Lear who gets to choose?

 

 

Part I. Freewrite

I. Write a response to the following question for three straight minutes:
What is Nature?
II. Write a response to the following question for five straight minutes:
What is Nature according to King Lear?

 

 

Part II. Group Activity

Get into the groups listed below; introduce yourselves; and then respond to questions. Be prepared to cite specific examples from the text during discussion.

Groups

  • 1. Kelsey, Madison, Patrick, Hannah P, & June
  • 2. Beau, Ainee, Hannah M., Caroline, & Sun
  • 3. Robert, Kira, Sarah, Nicholas, & Jeffrey
  • 4. Isabelle, Shamala, Thomas, Danny, & Tony
  • 5. Angeline, Chan, Alexandra, & Bailey

Questions

According to Stacy Alaimo, what allows humans to decide “to ignore the current crisis of ocean conservation” (480)? What strategies does she propose humans deploy to pay attention to the ocean crisis? What are some instances in King Lear, similar to some of the instances that Alaimo analyzes in her paper, that help bridge the (figurative and/or literal) gap between human and alien habitats?

Blog Post 3

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RQ: Alaimo (476-85) & Lear 6-8

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Directions

Keep the following questions in mind as you read Stacy Alaimo’s “States of Suspension: Trans-corporeality at Sea,” and King Lear scenes 6-8. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Alaimo, “States of Suspension: Transcorporeality at Sea”

What does Alaimo mean by the following terms: suspension, transcorporeality, new materialism, posthumanism, and environmental justice?

Why does she suggest critics and environmentalists should trace the “substantial interchanges [that] render the human permeable” (477)?

What characteristics of the ocean make it particularly difficult to grasp?

What are some connections between humans and the sea? OR, how are terrestrial humans and marine creatures linked?

How do our environmental commitments shift if we accept that “transcorporeal subjects are always themselves part of global networks of responsibility,” (477)?

What does Alaimo mean by “buoyancy” (478)?

What does she mean when she says, “Most new materialists, would, I think, be skeptical of origin stories. As heretical descendants of postmodernism and poststructuralism, they maintain a critical stance toward foundations and essentialisms” (478)?

What happens when we take the statement “‘My mother is a fish,’ as a literal description of human ancestry” (478)?

Why is Lear (and/or people in general) “disturbed by the idea that their own bodies bear traces of their evolutionary origins in other creatures” (479)?

“Darwin, in a letter, cheerfully proclaimed, ‘Our ancestor was an animal which breathed water, had a swim bladder, a great swimming tail, an imperfect skull, and undoubtedly was a hermaphrodite! Here is a pleasant genealogy of mankind’ (qtd. Zimmer)” (479).

Does “physical relatedness provoke a rich kinship” (480)?

What allows humans “to ignore the current crisis of ocean conservation” (480)?

Is recognition of kinship enough to motivate a ethics of care or an environmental activism that locates humans as part of a cluster and not at the center?

What, according to Alaimo, does Rachel Carson’s personification of the sea accomplish? Does the personification of the sea, air, wind, rain, etc. in King Lear accomplish similar goals? Why or why not?

What does Alaimo value in the book Your Inner Fish? What does she critique

King Lear, Scenes 6-8

 

 

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