QueenʼsMen Editions

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  • 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

    205King Leir, Scene 32

    Mumford: Alon Nashman
    Gallian Soldier: Phil Borg
    Perillus: Peter Higginson
    King Leir: Don Allison
    Cordella: Julian DeZotti
    King of Gallia: Paul Hopkins

    Queen's Men Stage Directions (Sc. 32)

    Read about the Queen's Men stage directions in Scene 31

    Following the exit of Cornwall and Cambria the battle continues for a moment as indicated as the stage direction "Sound alarums and excursions, then sound victory" (TLN 2631). The SQM company used this section to shift the tone of the battle away from the comedy produced by the two king's exits and Mumford's witty put-downs and set a more serious tone for the final scene. Due to our shortage of actors, Mumford did not exit at the end of the previous scene but continued to fight, saving a Gallian soldier from death and disarming an English captain. When the trumpets sounded victory, Mumford spared the Englishman's life and returned his sword to him in an act of chivalry.

    Performing Cordella (Sc. 32)

    Read about performing Cordella in Scene 30

    Cordella's resistance to her father's marriage plans have been forgotten and Leir now believes that she "loved'st [him] dearly, and as ought a child" (TLN 2652). Although Leir's patriarchal acceptance has apparently contained Cordella's resistance, the play makes it clear that Cordella is still an independent spirit, enjoying a marriage founded on mutual respect. Julian's development of the character over the course of the run really brought out this element of mutuality in her relationship with Gallia. In this final seen she can speak with confidence in her husband's love and support. Her husband does not command her as he might, according to the law, but "with all kind love entreats" her (TLN 2647).

    Performing Leir (Sc. 32)

    Read about performing Leir in Scene 24

    While his age prevents him from participating in the battle, Don Allison gave Leir a renewed vigour in these final scenes, thus restoring a sense of his character's nobility and demonstrating love for his old and new-found friends.

    Queen's Men Politics (Sc. 32)

    Read about Queen's Men politics in Scene 25

    The rightful king is restored to his throne but with a new understanding of the important relationships on which his power rests. No longer blinded by grief or power, Leir gives thanks where thanks are due, accepting his crown with the grateful knowledge of the means by which it has been restored. The picture painted of the monarchy is one founded on love and mutual respect is perfectly in keeping with the image being promoted of Queen Elizabeth and her relationship with the people of England. The dramaturgy of the play has moved the audience deliberately to this positive and reinvigorating end. In performance the happy ending was easily predictable, arising as it did out of the many reference to God's guiding, providential hand.

    Watch video of Scene 32 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.)