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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 449

house, sending word on that they are coming (II. i. 1 ff., 81, 120 ff.). Lear, on his part, just before leaving Goneril's house, sends Kent with a letter to Regan, and tells him to be quick, or Lear will be there before him. And we find that Kent reaches Regan and delivers his letter before Oswald, Goneril's messenger. Both the messengers are taken on by Cornwall and Regan to Gloster's house.

     In II. iv. Lear arrives at Gloster's house, having, it would seem, failed to find Regan at her own home. And, later, Goneril arrives at Gloster's house, in accordance with an intimation which she had sent in her letter to Regan (II. iv. 186 f.).

     Thus all the principal persons except Cordelia and Albany are brought together; and the crises of the double action -- the expulsion of Lear and the blinding and expulsion of Gloster are reached in Act III. And this is what was required.

     But it needs the closest attention to follow these movements. And, apart from this, difficulties remain.

     1. Goneril, in despatching Oswald with the letter to Regan, tells him to hasten his return (I. iv. 363). Lear again is surprised to find that his messenger has not been sent back (II. iv. 1 f., 36 f.). Yet apparently both Goneril and Lear themselves start at once, so that their messengers could not return in time. It may be said that they expected to meet them coming back, but there is no indication of this in the text.

     2. Lear, in despatching Kent, says (I. v. 1):

Go you before to Gloster with these letters. Acquaint my daughter no further with anything you know than comes from her demand out of the letter.

This would seem to imply that Lear knew that Regan and Cornwall were at Gloster's house, and meant either to go there (so Koppel) or to summon her back to her own home to receive him. Yet this is clearly not so, for Kent goes straight to Regan's house (II. i. 124, II. iv. 1, 27 ff., 114 ff.).

     Hence it is generally supposed that by 'Gloster,' in the passage just quoted, Lear means not the Earl but the place; that Regan's home was there; and that Gloster's castle was somewhere not very far off. This is to some extent confirmed by the fact that Cornwall is the 'arch' or patron of Gloster (II. i. 60 f., 112 ff.). But Gloster's home or house must not

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