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Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.
PAGE 458

main or lower stage. The main stage had no front curtain; and therefore, if Act IV. is to end where Spedding wished it to end, Gloster must go off unaided at its close, and come on again unaided for Act V. And this means that the whole arrangement of the present Act V., Sc. ii. must be changed. If Spedding had been aware of this it is not likely that he would have broached his theory.1

     It is curious that he does not allude to the one circumstance which throws some little suspicion on the existing text. I mean the contradiction between Edgar's statement that, if ever he returns to his father again, he will bring him comfort, and the fact that immediately afterwards he returns to bring him discomfort. It is possible to explain this psychologically, of course, but the passage is not one in which we should expect psychological subtlety.




     The following are notes on some passages where I have not been able to accept any of the current interpretations, or on which I wish to express an opinion or represent a little-known view.

1. Kent's soliloquy at the end of II. ii.
     (a) In this speech the application of the words 'Nothing almost sees miracles but misery' seems not to have been understood. The 'misery' is surely not that of Kent but that of Lear, who has come 'out of heaven's benediction to the warm sun,' i.e. to misery. This, says Kent, is just the situation where something like miraculous help may be looked for; and he finds the sign of it in the fact that a letter from Cordelia has just reached him; for his course since his banishment has been so obscured that it is only by the rarest good fortune (some-

   1Spedding supposed that there was a front curtain, and this idea, coming down from Malone and Collier, is still found in English works of authority. But it may be stated without hesitation that there is no positive evidence at all for the existence of such a curtain, and abundant evidence against it.

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