Edgar’s disguise in King Lear draws upon a popular early modern figure, the Bedlam beggar. This article argues that Poor Tom transcends the cultural representations of the Bedlamites, inasmuch as his liminality and otherness turn him into a monstrous creature. Tom’s monstrosity emerges from his language rather than his appearance or actions. Close readings reveal how the fashioning of Tom in 2.2 is anticipated by Edmund’s and Gloucester’s words, which foretell the metaphorical self-birth whereby Edgar delivers his own monstrous alter ego through language, in a multifaceted linguistic performance made of overlapping voices that are monstrous in structure and content.

Compagnoni, M. (2020). Poor Tom and the linguistic performance of monstrosity in King Lear. CAHIERS ELISABÉTHAINS, 101(1), 65-84 [10.1177/0184767819896593].

Poor Tom and the linguistic performance of monstrosity in King Lear

Compagnoni, Michela
2020

Abstract

Edgar’s disguise in King Lear draws upon a popular early modern figure, the Bedlam beggar. This article argues that Poor Tom transcends the cultural representations of the Bedlamites, inasmuch as his liminality and otherness turn him into a monstrous creature. Tom’s monstrosity emerges from his language rather than his appearance or actions. Close readings reveal how the fashioning of Tom in 2.2 is anticipated by Edmund’s and Gloucester’s words, which foretell the metaphorical self-birth whereby Edgar delivers his own monstrous alter ego through language, in a multifaceted linguistic performance made of overlapping voices that are monstrous in structure and content.
Le d´eguisement d’Edgar dans Le Roi Lear s’inspire d’une figure populaire de la premi`ere modernit´e, le mendiant de Bedlam. Cet article d´emontre que le Pauvre Tom transcende les repr´esentations culturelles des Bedlamites, dans la mesure o`u sa liminalit´e et son alt´erit´e le transforment en une cr´eature monstrueuse. La monstruosit´e de Tom se manifeste dans son langage plut ˆ ot que dans son apparence ou ses actions. Une lecture attentive fait apparaˆıtre que les paroles d’Edmund et de Gloucester anticipent le fac¸onnement de Tom `a l’acte 2 sc`ene 2, annonc¸ant l’auto-engendrement m´etaphorique par lequel Edgar met au monde son alter ego monstrueux `a travers le langage, dans une performance linguistique polymorphe compos´ee de voix superpos´ees, monstrueuses par leur structure et leur contenu.
Compagnoni, M. (2020). Poor Tom and the linguistic performance of monstrosity in King Lear. CAHIERS ELISABÉTHAINS, 101(1), 65-84 [10.1177/0184767819896593].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/364054
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