King Lear

Hugh Richmond


Professor Richmond:

I had the pleasure this weekend of reading your paper "King Lear as Tragicomedy". It is without exaggeration one of the most illuminating discussions of Lear I've seen.  I was struck by the insight that Lear's division of his kingdom is not a sign of flagging powers but rather a misguided yet carefully considered tactical move to pre-empt Goneril's inheritance and ensure Cordelia's sovereignty over the richest portion of the kingdom, and that "this reading of the opening scene restores the play to true tragic tension, with a monarch unwisely sacrificing himself to his excessive devotion to virtue, and a heroine whose excellence carries with it the penalties of intransigence" -- not to mention your observations on the play's comic elements, its echoes of Pauline wisdom, and the consolations it offers via Edgar's succession (Edgar who has always seemed to me somehow transplanted from the redemptive realms of the late romances into the chaotic world of Lear).

I am so grateful for discovering your work, and look forward to its guidance in deepening my understanding of Shakespeare. Best regards,  Steve Mitchell



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