In a discussion of King Lear, David Bevington suggests that Edgar saves his father at the cliffs of Dover by constructing a cosmology in which the gods are merciful and perform miracles: "Edgar stages his fiction in this particular way because he knows his father well enough to realize that the old man needs to believe in a cosmos presided over by gods whose workings are mysterious and whose intents are ultimately just. Edgar invents a whole cosmology because his father cannot live without one. Edgar is enough of a skeptic himself to see what fictions we humans devise to shape the chaotic elements of our universe into some semblance of a coherent pattern. This is not to say that Edgar is an atheist, but rather to say that any gods in which he could believe must be understood to be immeasurably distant from the daily events of human life."
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 02:36 PM
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