The Pattern of Parody in Eastward Ho, and a New Date for King Lear

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  • 1 Coppin State University rstritmatter@coppin.edu
  • 2 Independent researcher
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Gary Taylor's 1982 Review of English Studies article, 'A New Source and an Old Date for King Lear', highlights numerous semantic, thematic and structural parallels between Shakespeare's King Lear, customarily assigned a composition date in late 1605 or spring 1606, and Eastward Ho (first published September 1605). Deconstructing Taylor's methodology for determining the order of influence between the two plays, we argue that the authors of Eastward Ho found the bard's cosmic tragedy of royal intrigue and intergenerational strife an irresistible target for rambunctious topical satire. In place of a Lear that without motive incorporates vague patches of Eastward Ho influence, we read an Eastward Ho that enacts an acerbically brilliant parody of several Shakespeare plays, among them King Lear.

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