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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 447

     To illustrate the other point (a), that Shakespeare may have omitted to write some things which he had originally intended, the play would obviously gain something if it appeared that, at a time shortly before that of the action, Gloster had encouraged the King in his idea of dividing the kingdom, while Kent had tried to dissuade him. And there are one or two passages which suggest that this is what Shakespeare imagined. If it were so, there would be additional point in the Fool's reference to the lord who counselled Lear to give away his land (I. iv. 154), and in Gloster's reflection (III. iv. 168),

His daughters seek his death: ah, that good Kent!
He said it would be thus:

('said,' of course, not to the King but to Gloster and perhaps others of the council). Thus too the plots would be still more closely joined. Then also we should at once understand the opening of the play. To Kent's words, 'I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall,' Gloster answers, 'It did always seem so to us.' Who are the 'us' from whom Kent is excluded? I do not know, for there is no sign that Kent has been absent. But if Kent, in consequence of his opposition, had fallen out of favour and absented himself from the council, it would be clear. So, besides, would be the strange suddenness with which, after Gloster's answer, Kent changes the subject; he would be avoiding, in presence of Gloster's son, any further reference to a subject on which he and Gloster had differed. That Kent, I may add, had already the strongest opinion about Goneril and Regan is clear from his extremely bold words (I. i. 165),

Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon thy foul disease.

Did Lear remember this phrase when he called Goneril 'a disease that's in my flesh (II. iv. 225)?

     Again, the observant reader may have noticed that Goneril is not only represented as the fiercer and more determined of the two sisters but also strikes one as the more sensual. And with this may be connected one or two somewhat curious points: Kent's comparison of Goneril to the figure of Vanity in the Morality plays (II. ii. 38); the Fool's apparently quite irrelevant remark (though his remarks are scarcely ever so), 'For there was never yet fair woman but she made mouths

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