So Edgar comes on stage in Act 4, scene 1 of King Lear, disguised as the mad beggar Poor Tom. He is all but naked and covered in mud, a disguise to prevent his capture and execution. His illegitimate brother Edmund has framed him, convincing their father, the Duke of Gloucester, that Edgar is plotting to commit patricide.
Let us note that Edgar actually loves his misguided father very much.
Edgar is out on the heath, the treeless moor, as a vicious storm gathers. He says a few words reconciling himself to his abject state, when suddenly an old man leads Gloucester into view. Gloucester is blind. His eyes have just been gouged out by Cornwall, Edmund’s ally.
Edgar says, “Oh gods! Who is it can say ‘I am at the worst’.? I am worse than e’er I was.”….
“And worse I may be yet. The worst is not/ So long as we can say ‘This is the worst’.
The Old Man wisely hands blind Gloucester over to Poor Tom, for in aiding the Duke, the Old Man is risking his own life.
Gloucester observes “Tis the times plague when madmen lead the blind.”
(Let’s ignore the relevance of that remark to our own time.)
In other words, in my earlier blog post “All Is Well: another contradiction to despair”, I got myself all wound up about what seemed to be the worst possible circumstances. It took only a few days for life to teach me otherwise.
It will take a few more for me to process this new insight enough to write “All Is Well: part 2”.
As usual, I will draw on my sister Georgia’s support. She is gobsmacked by events as well, but no less convinced than she ever was that, to qoute Hildegard of BIngem, “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.”
The #%*$ universe is unfolding as it should.