03 January, 2011

King Lear

I listened to a filmed stage production of Shakespeare's King Lear.  James Earl Jones played the king; I can't think of anyone better to say, "I am your father!"

So, apparently in Elizabethan England when you wanted to insult someone you said they were a "filthy, worsted-stocking knave."

Shakespeare puts a great deal about textiles in this play in order to indicate the characters' status or their actions.  The obvious one is the princess Goneril, plotting to cuckold and betray her husband, who says, "I must change arms at home, and give the distaff / Into my husband's hands."

There are many more subtle passages, as well.  Particularly during the storm, an actor will talk about what he is wearing or another is wearing and let that stand, for example, for how Edgar is disowned or how fragile Lear's state of mind is.  The costume changes in the stage directions do the same, for example, Edgar is both stripped of his clothes and stripped of his legitimate sonship.

This commentary is meant to distract you from the wool I spun: an ounce of BFL spun to 40 wpi on a spindle and wrapped onto a bobbin.  This was fun to make but doesn't look like much.  One ounce spun and four like it still to go before I ply them together.

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