QueenʼsMen Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Leir
  • Author: Peter Cockett

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Peter Cockett
    Peer Reviewed

    King Leir

    140King Leir, Scene 20

    Gallian Ambassador: Phil Borg

    Queen's Men Dramaturgy: Narrative Over-determination (Sc. 20)

    Read about narrative over-determination in Scene 17

    Repeating the dramaturgical strategy found earlier in the play, this monologue is inserted between larger scenes to reconnect the audience with one of the strands of the play's complex narrative. In this instance, the character actually brings us new information. He decides to take his "embassage" to Ragan (TLN 1802), where he later suffers further mistreatment. This monologue contains a decision that will change the course of the action but not significantly since Gallia and Cordella will meet Leir in person rendering his diplomatic mission redundant. The play provides more information than a modern audience really needs but the repetition of this narrative device implies the Queen's Men felt regular recaps of the narrative would appeal to their own audience.

    Read more about narrative over-determination

    Performing the Gallian Ambassador (Sc. 20)

    The Gallian Amassador is a representative of Gallia and Cordella's concerns in Britain and proved a tricky character for the SQM company. The slightly tangential quality of his narrative perhaps influenced our decision to treat him lightly in spite of the fact he shows many signs of courage and nobility. Here we see the character set his will against the powerful Gonorill who desires to know what his "embassage did import" (TLN 1802) but who he says will "hop without her hope" (TLN 1803). This is a man of some substance and our comic approach undermined his status in the world of the play. Creating a character with gravity would have made his mistreatment more shocking potentially increasing the audience's desire to see the sisters get their comeuppance, driving the action towards the eventual confrontation between Gallia and Cornwall and Cambria.

    Read more about performing the Gallian Ambassador

    Watch video of Scene 20 on the Performing the Queen's Men website. (The video footage is password protected. Click on "Cancel" in the pop-up window to obtain password.)