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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 448

in a glass' (III. ii. 35); Kent's reference to Oswald (long before there is any sign of Goneril's intrigue with Edmund) as 'one that would be a bawd in way of good service' (II. ii. 20); and Edgar's words to the corpse of Oswald (IV. vi. 257), also spoken before he knew anything of the intrigue with Edmund,

I know thee well: a serviceable villain;
As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.

     Perhaps Shakespeare had conceived Goneril as a woman who before her marriage had shown signs of sensual vice; but the distinct indications of this idea were crowded out of his exposition when he came to write it, or, being inserted, were afterwards excised. I will not go on to hint that Edgar had Oswald in his mind when (III. iv. 87) he described the servingman who 'served the lust of his mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with her'; and still less that Lear can have had Goneril in his mind in the declamation against lechery referred to in Note S.

     I do not mean to imply, by writing this note, that I believe in the hypotheses suggested in it. On the contrary I think it more probable that the defects referred to arose from carelessness and other causes. But this is not, to me, certain; and the reader who rejects the hypotheses may be glad to have his attention called to the points which suggested them.




     I have referred in the text to the obscurity of the play on this subject, and I will set out the movements here.

     When Lear is ill-treated by Goneril his first thought is to seek refuge with Regan (I. iv. 274 f., 327 f.). Goneril, accordingly, who had foreseen this, and, even before the quarrel, had determined to write to Regan (I. iii. 25), now sends Oswald off to her, telling her not to receive Lear and his hundred knights (I. iv. 354 f.). In consequence of this letter Regan and Cornwall immediately leave their home and ride by night to Gloster's

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