The Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights

I hardly see how one can begin to consider Shakespeare without finding some way to account for his pervasive presence in the most unlikely contexts: here, there, and everywhere at once. He is a system of northern lights, an aurora borealis visible where most of us will never go. Libraries and playhouses (and cinemas) cannot contain him; he has become a spirit or "spell of light," almost too vast to apprehend.

Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

I don’t expect this short paper to reach the northern lights. I don’t think my mind can travel that far, and a plane ticket is probably too expensive. After three months of study, Shakespeare has exhausted me. I realize many scholars spend their whole
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Though an illusion, Dover occupies a place in the text, and the play moves towards it. Goldberg writes, "The stage would be, whether we were at Dover Cliff or not, flat; language would tell us to see it otherwise" (148). Thus, Edgar invents this stage. The two protagonists, Lear and Gloucester, find themselves converging within this theatrical space. The space is real and, at the same time, not real. Here is the aurora borealis. In Act 4 Scene 6, Dover exists in Edgar’s imagination. He describes this environment to blind Gloucester who is positioned to have a false experience. Goldberg writes, "The illusion of continuous space rests upon what cannot be seen, on exhausting the limits of sight and arriving at what is ‘too small for sight’" (146). Thus, Dover is a space that moves outside human vision and, at the same time, within it.

Dover represents the world of the playwright. In this world, the playwright may invent anything he chooses: from steep cliffs to hideous fiends. Dover is an endless stage of possibilities, the writer’s imagination, and a place of creativity. Dover is the northern lights "almost too vast to apprehend" (Bloom 3) unless you suddenly find yourself there by some mistaken chance.

I stood in the sand surrounded by ice plants waiting nervously for my cue. I wore torn pants, a dirty shirt, and no shoes. I had a thick red beard, and my hair was knotted with bush stickers. I paced

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