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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 455

later wrongly gives to the Gentleman the Doctor's speeches as well as his own. This is a minor matter. But they agree in making no mention of Lear. He is not on the stage at all. Thus Cordelia, and the reader, can give their whole attention to Kent.

     Her conversation with Kent finished, she turns (line 12) to the Doctor and asks 'How does the King?'1 The Doctor tells her that Lear is still asleep, and asks leave to wake him. Cordelia assents and asks if he is 'arrayed,' which does not mean whether he has a nightgown on, but whether they have taken away his crown of furrow-weeds, and tended him duly after his mad wanderings in the fields. The Gentleman says that in his sleep 'fresh garments' (not a nightgown) have been put on him. The Doctor then asks Cordelia to be present when her father is waked. She assents, and the Doctor says, 'Please you, draw near. Louder the music there.' The next words are Cordelia's, 'O my dear father!'

     What has happened? At the words 'is he arrayed?' according to the Folio, 'Enter Lear in a chair carried by Servants.' The moment of this entrance, as so often in the original editions, is doubtless too soon. It should probably come at the words 'Please you, draw near,' which may, as Koppel suggests, be addressed to the bearers. But that the stage-direction is otherwise right there cannot be a doubt (and that the Quartos omit it is no argument against it, seeing that, according to their directions, Lear never enters at all).

     This arrangement (1) allows Kent his proper place in the scene, (2) makes it clear that Cordelia has not seen her father before, (3) makes her first sight of him a theatrical crisis in the best sense, (4) makes it quite natural that he should kneel, (5) makes it obvious why he should leave the stage again when he shows signs of exhaustion, and (6) is the only arrangement which has the slightest authority, for 'Lear on a bed asleep' was never heard of till Capell proposed it. The ruinous change of the staging was probably suggested by the version of that unhappy Tate.

   1And it is possible that, as Koppel suggests, the Doctor should properly enter at this point; for if Kent, as he says, wishes to remain unknown, it seems strange that he and Cordelia should talk as they do before a third person. This change however is not necessary, for the Doctor might naturally stand out of hearing till he was addressed; and it is better not to go against the stage-direction without necessity.

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