See e.g. A.C. Bradley, Signet page 226.

Cordelia and Lear's Fool are left out of the list because they do not fit the thesis neatly, and the lists are better balanced without them. While this may seem disingenuous, Cordelia is much more important as a symbol than as a character, and the Fool is too busy acting as a thematic signpost to tell us his own sad story.

Albany is left out because he never falls so far as the others, and because his allegiance to the ``good'' side wavers almost to the end. He is in many ways an intermediate character, perhaps the sole representative of the group to which the real people in the audience, neither saints nor devils, belong.

The distinction between true and false loyalty is the main theme here, with the question of nobility implicit in the use of ``knave'' and ``sir.''

It is tempting, but fruitless, to look for significance in the improbable success of these disguises. Successful disguise is simply a given in Shakespeare's universe, and it happens too frequently to serve as a fine-grained indicator of any thematic issue.

In the Main Street Theater production of King Lear the Fool recognizes both Edgar and Kent at the mock trial, giving a very powerful unity-in-misery to the men ``of the commission.''

Best Picture 1962; David Lean, Director; Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence.

Stephen W. Nuchia
Wed Jan 3 18:10:27 CST 2001