Skip to main content

"Speak what we feel...."

In the end of King Lear, Edgar speaks this line:
"Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say."
Simple as it may sound, I believe it is a perfect conclusion to all the things that have happened in the play.

The conflicts in the play, both in Lear's family and Gloucester's start when people don't say what they mean and don't mean what they say. Although it's clear that Regan and Goneril are the guiltiest party, Cordelia is not free from fault. What strikes me from Cordelia's choice of words is that it sounds so cold. Too cold.
"You have begot me, bred me, loved me: IReturn those duties back as are right fit,Obey you, love you, and most honour you."
These words certainly wouldn't appeal any parent.

Cordelia in the Court of King Lear by Sir John Gilbert

What Cordelia underlines in her speech is her duty as a daughter, but she doesn't express how she views that duty - whether she willingly does it out of love, or just out of obligation. It sounds more like something a daughter "ought to say". She's not honest either to her father or herself.

The other person who doesn't say what he feels is Gloucester. We can sense that he loves Edmund. He just cannot express it properly. Instead of saying that he loves Edmund although he's a bastard right away, he deliberately chooses pejorative and rude words to describe him. Well, that's what he "ought to say", because in his society, people don't appreciate illegitimate children.

Those eyes of his must pay the price.

I really think that being able to express one's feeling without holding back, especially expressing positive feelings such as love and respect, is one of the greatest joys in life. Why should we hide such feelings?


Popular posts from this blog

Problems with Translating Shakespeare

I've found several articles regarding this on the net. I'm new to the Shakespeare world, therefore I didn't know much about the translation issue.

In the net, there are "study guides" for Shakespeare, such as No Fear Shakespeare which provides students with modern English translation of William Shakespeare. I bet students will find it highly useful, especially those who are not well-acquainted with plays or old classical literatures or writings in verse. Apart from that, I am also aware that there are modern English editions of Shakespeare available in book stores. (I know that accidentally, because I found some quotes on Goodreads which convey Shakespeare's ideas but not in his exact words.)

On the other hand, there are people like David Crystal, which I highly respect (truly I love everything he says about Shakespeare's words and also original pronunciation), who insists that no translation is needed in understanding Shakespeare. There is even a debate …

Henry V: Self-Punishment on the Death of Bardolph

Prince Hal, and later, the king, Henry V is a complex character with volumes to think, say, and analyse about. Following his character development from Henry IV part 1 through Henry V, it's hard not to relate to him when one comes to what people call 'conflict of interests.'

For me, the worst part of it in Henry V is when he heard that his (former) friend, Bardolph, had been executed for thievery. In many productions, the directors let Henry either see the execution, or at least the hanged man. Kenneth Branagh and Hollow Crown versions even take time for a little flashback, therefore show us that the king remembered Bardolph and all things they had done together in their former days. Both also, through acting, show that the king was sad about it, yet could do nothing.

Reading the play, however, it was quite shocking that the king made no comment upon the hanging, except that it was just and necessary.

Why didn't he say anything about it? Knowing Shakespeare, he could h…

Reasons Why I Dislike Falstaff

I understand well enough that Falstaff is a funny comic character, that he provides more jokes than any other character in whole Shakespeare's canon except Hamlet, if those gloomy jokes are still counted as jokes. I also understand how he's an important character because he promotes the view so different than those considered as virtuous in his era. Nevertheless, I never consider him as a likeable character, no matter how much I laugh on him in the two Henry IV plays.

It's just that he's such a bad friend to Prince Hal. And my term "bad friend" means neither "a friend who robs and steals and pickpockets every once in a while" nor "an indifferently good man who doesn't really care about you" which would make him a good acquaintance. No. He takes both the negatives and combines them. Let me show you why I can't like this man despite all his witty lines.

1. He's a bad association to Hal Like this one is not obvious enough(!). I m…