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VAUGHANS VOCABULARY Preparing for Shakespeares Magnum Opus...

October 19, 2010

I recently watched a DVD of the Masterpiece Theatre production of King Lear and a DVD of the theatrical stage production, too, while trying to follow along on my copy of the script. I am preparing a lecture titled “Shakespeare’s Magnum Opus.”
The play opens with the king announcing that he will divide his kingdom among Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, and commands those three daughters to express their love for him. He promises to give the greatest share to the one who loves him the most.
In class a student and I are going to read the dialogue of Lear and his youngest daughter, including the famous line, “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth: I love your majesty according to my bond; nor more nor less.” Lear replies, “How, how, Cordelia Mend your speech a little, lest it may mar your fortunes.”

1. An indefinite portion, part or share is a
A. modicum (MOD-uh-cum).
B. moniker (MON-i-ker).
C. maelstrom (MEYL-strom).
D. moiety (MOI-i-tee).

The character Gloucester uses the word “moiety” in the second line of the play.

2. liege (leej OR leezh)
A. a region
B. a feudal lord entitled to allegiance and service
C. expression of love
D. to dissolve out soluble constituents from ashes or soil by percolation.

D is a definition of the verb leach. Liege, a noun, means a feudal lord. As an adjective, liege means owing primary allegiance, loyalty, and service to a feudal lord. King Lear tells Gloucester, “Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester” to which he replies, “I shall, my liege.”

3. Who has courted Cordelia and insists that he still wants to marry her without her land?
A. The Duke of Albany
B. Edgar
C. Edmond
D. The king of France

4. Does the script of King Lear have a clerihew?
A. Yes
B. No

5. A clerihew is
A. a loose woman.
B. a chorus.
C. a teaching of Christ.
D. a teaching of Plato.
E. a humorous quatrain.

Though they have been a part of British literature, there is no clerihew within the King Lear script. A clerihew is a poem of four lines about a famous person that rhymes. According to Alpha, the word clerihew was an eponym of Britisher Edward Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956).
The first four letters of last week’s mystery word are the last name of the German-born U.S. composer who composed “Echoi.” The word means to search for by or as if by rummaging. The composer’s name was Lukas Foss and the word is fossick ((FOS-ik).
This week’s mystery word to solve, means powerful, mighty, potent, and can be found within the last scene of King Lear.

Contact Don Vaughan at

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