King Lear

I have so often blushed to acknowledge him Gloucester is ashamed of his bastard child
knave bitter and resentful, insensitive – in earshot in the Trevor Nunn version
yet was his mother fair, there was good sport at his making Gloucester is candid and mocking – the comment is misogynistic and suggests she was only useful for one thing
whoreson pejorative
Which of you shall we say doth love us most,That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge. Nature showing filial devotion. Lear’s conception of love is that it can be quantified and proven – highlights his deep-seated insecurity
Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty Extremely elaborate, suggests that she loves Lear more than her husband (Cordelia: why have my sisters husbands, if they say/They love you all?), sycophantic, fawning, obsequious, ineffable
Only she comes too short Regan is trying to outdo General – in the Trevor Nunn version, Cornwall makes her say this, shows that he has power over Regan in this version
My love’sMore ponderous than my tongue Cordelia comes across as a substantial character, she is repelled by her sisters, we automatically like her
Our joy Lear clearly favours Cordelia over the other sisters
A third more opulent than your sisters? Basilikon Doron is a treatise on government written by King James I – should not divide the kingdom
Nothing, my lord This contrasts with grandiloquent speeches – it is a terse abrupt reply which is a blunt unadorned speech
Nothing will come of nothing Lear is almost begging Cordelia to say something more so that he can give her more land
Lest you may mar your fortunes thinly veiled threat at Cordelia
operation of the orbs influence on human fate of heavenly spheres, planets and stars – links to how many people in this time period thought that the stars dictated their fortunes
I disclaim all my paternal care,Propinquity and property of blood Lear disowns Cordelia here
Come not between the dragon and his wrath Lear here is warning Kent that he is powerful and is likely to lash out – perhaps it is a warning not to antagonise him
I loved her most Cordelia is clearly loved more by Lear
Avoid my sight the start of the play’s discussion of sight
I do invest you jointly with my power…With reservation of an hundred knightsonly we shall retainThe name, and all th’addition to a king Lear has relinquished power but he still expects some privileges
Loved as my father, as my master followed Kent loves Lear, we get a sense of the bond between the two of them, which makes his banishment all the more shocking
Be Kent unmannerlyWhen Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man Mad, impertinent, thou is informal, shows that Kent is almost trying to help Lear
Check this hideous rashness Kent is giving Lear counsel, he is trying to help him and stop him from doing something he might regret
See better, Lear; and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye again the theme of sight – this quote shows that Kent is a good councillor, he is imploring Lear here, exemplifies Lear’s inability to listen to others
I’ll tell thee thou dost evil Kent is trying to win Lear over – who is the evil character in the play?
Five days we do allot thee for provision,To shield thee from disasters of the world,And on the sixth to turn thy hated backUpon our kingdom. The banishment of Kent, suggests that in his rage Lear cannot bear to be given counsel, shows that he is rash and impertinent
her price is fallen Spoken by Burgundy who is a mercenary – shows the misogyny of the time period
a wretch whose nature is ashamedAlmost t’acknowledge hers talk of nature – Cordelia has behaved unnaturally in terms of the great chain of being – women were meant to be subservient, she has disrupted this natural order – is the rest of the play Cordelia’s fault?
her offenceMust be of such unnatural degree that monsters it France is aware that something horrendous must have happened, shows that he is more morally aware than the other characters
glib and oily art Cordelia discusses the insincerity of Regan and Goneril
She is herself a dowry Cordelia is beautiful, he doesn’t understand the issue, France does not have mercenary issues
Go to, go to, better thouHadst not been born than not to have pleased me better Lear is telling Cordelia that she must leave
Nothing. I have sworn, I am firm Lear uses Cordelia’s word against her
Peace be with Burgundy.Since that respect and fortunes are his love,I shall not be his wife Sarcastic tone – Cordelia is perceptive and understanding of the world she inhabits, she is astute, she knows that Burgundy only wanted her for status
art most rich being poor Cordelia is rich to France
My love should kindle to inflamed respect France understands Cordelia’s reaction and loves her more for it as she is honest and sees the world as it should be, what is correct and what is incorrect – France uses rhyming couplets which is the language of love
waterish Burgundy Burgundy is weak in comparison to France
Love well our father Cordelia is being assertive and uses imperatives
Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides, Who covert faults at last with shame derides Cordelia’s line here is foreboding
He always loved our sister most, and with what poor judgement he hath now cast her off appears too grossly Goneril is perturbed by the way Lear irrationally disposed of Cordelia – makes her worried about what could happen to her
Yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself Lear lacks self-knowledge and understanding – is he already mad from the beginning of the play?
Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound Natural affection between parent and child “The offices of nature, bond of childhood”, aligns self with beasts against custom, morality and order, yet as Edmund is a bastard he is treated with contempt and so seeks refuge in Machiavellian ways that disrupt the natural order
the plague of custom denied a bastard any share by inheritance in his father’s property
Why bastard? Wherefore base? Questioning why he is inferior because he is a bastard, the plosives emphasise his disgust at stigmatisation
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land Declaration of intent, repetition of legitimate emphasises his anger at how he is stigmatised
Edmund the baseShall top the legitimate Declaration of his plans – in the earliest editions of King Lear, Edmund was called ‘the bastard’ this is because he is meant to appeal to bastards everywhere, he is meant to be a figure people can sympathise with – Shakespeare trying to help bastards?
Kent banished… Gloucester is ruminating on cataclysmic event and the inverted moral order
Nothing my lord again this repetition of nothing, this time uttered by Edmund – both times it entices the men to get angry and it makes them demand an answer
if it be nothing, i shall not need spectacles again this theme of sight, Gloucester perceives it will be nothing but he is mistaken
unnatural, detested, brutish villain use of animalistic imagery
These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us demonstration of Gloucester’s reliance on sight and astrology – he is typical of a wealthy man during this time period
the wisdom of Nature can reason it thus an thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father. Whilst explains what has happened, Gloucester is still afflicted by the consequences
The King falls from bias of nature Treatment of Cordelia is unnatural, shows Lear lacks paternal feelings
Machinations, hollowness, treachery and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves Gloucester is being prophetic here
noble and true-hearted Kent banished, his offence honesty! Gloucester is contemptuous of Lear’s decision – shows an anger directed towards Lear – but also he is blatantly questioning Lear’s decision which was illegal as Lear has the divine right of Kings
unnaturalness between the child and the parent, death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities, division in state, menaces and maledictions against King and nobles, needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts Then the place changes, interrogation is used to confuse and perplex
Some villain hath done me wrong Edgar says this to Edmund, there is dramatic irony here
if not by birth, have lands by wit Edmund has suffered social stigma because of his being a bastard
Put on what weary negligence you please Goneril is seeking to provoke, Oswald unquestioningly obeys, he simpers this is in direct contrast to Kent who is loyal but also truthful
still would managed those authoritiesThat he hath given away Goneril is angry that Lear has appeared to give up his kingdom but he doesn’t want to relinquish the command that he ha, he doesn’t understand what he has done
Old fools are babes again he is rendered to a little baby – suggests that he has already lost his whits – or could mean that he is thoroughly dependent on others
disguised Kent is morally compelled to protect Lear, which is the opposite of dutiful obedience
serve where thou dost stand condemned Kent is committed to representing good, in contrast to Goneril and Regan
If thou best as poor for a subject as he’s for a King, thou art poor enough Lear has self-knowledge
Dost thou know me, fellow?No, sir; but you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master This could be that Lear recognises Kent or it could be that the familiarity of the tone is something he recognises. Lear is grateful to be recognised as powerful as he has given up the kingdom, anyone who notices him he will respect
Authority Lear embodies/personifies this for Kent
There’s a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependants as in the Duke himself also, and your daughter. A knight says this; demonstrates that Lear’s reception is becoming increasingly hostile, onerous presence
the fool hath much pined away he is upset about Cordelia’s depart to France, unpalatable truths, pining
My lady’s father Goneril is prioritised, relegation of authority
here’s my coxcomb.. if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb The Fool says to Kent if you wish to follow Lear than you’re a fool
Sirrah This is to Lear, it is slightly disrespectful and demonstrates a role reversal but it also demonstrates how fools were allowed during this time period to have a more familiar relationship with a monarch
Led less than thou owest Met with ‘this is nothing Fool’ dismissive – but the Fool is trying to give advice and help Lear
nothing can be made out of nothing proverbial – Lear says this, he is beginning to realise that how he treated Cordelia was wrong
All thy other titles thou hast given away demonstration of how much Lear gave away
This not altogether Fool, my Lord Kent realises that the Fool does speak sense
Uncle give me an egg and I’ll give thee two crowns metaphor for devision of Lear’s kingdom
Thou bor’st thine ass on thy back o’er the dirt Inversion of order and in trying to please all he pleased no one
Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gav’st thy golden one away Criticism of Lear giving away the crown and his kingdom as it has left him with nothing
E’er since thou maddest thy daughters thy mothers They control you and it is almost as if Lear wants his daughter to act as his mother, to direct and look after him
They’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou’lt have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am whipped for holing my peace. demonstration of injustice
I am a fool, thou art nothing Again the use of the word nothing – this is informal and has contempt in it, demonstrates how by losing his title, Lear has nothing to be and he has no position
all-licensed fool the Fool can say whatever he wants
insolent retinue…riots licentious – but said genuinely in the Trevor Nunn version
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so longThat it’s had its head bit off by its young Violent animalistic imagery, Goneril has usurped the place of Lear, she has been rewarded yet is ungrateful
May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Inversion of order like the hedge-sparrow and the cuckoo
Does any here know me?…Where are his eyes? Who is it that can tell me who I am? Bitter betrayal, rhetorical questions – Ian McKellan enacted this as frail but it can be acted in an outraged manner – links identity to kingship, dawning recognition of a gap between role and identity. People don’t understand him, they have a lack of respect
Lear’s shadow Insubstantial current status compared to before, acerbic comment, ambiguous in Folio: Is the Fool saying that he is Lear’s shadow, a reflection in which Lear may see himself as a fool or that Lear has become a shadow of his former self, a mere appearance of a king lacking authority. Quarto: Lear is conscious of split in himself.
As you are old and reverend, should be wise Belittling Lear
Disordered … debauched…infected…riotous inn. Epicurism and lustMakes it more like a tavern or a brothelThan a graced palace Critique of Lear’s retinue of “a hundred knights and squires”, later “riotous”
Degenerate bastard Equating Goneril to Edmund, disowning of Goneril, this is another rash judgement
Detested kite Lear says this to Goneril, he makes her into a bird of prey, an animal – against animalistic imagery
[striking his head] Beat at this gate that let thy folly inAnd thy dear judgement out. Lear is being melodramatic, addressing self, irascible
Hear Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear Lear does not use this language with anyone else, it links to Edmund: ‘thou nature art my goddess’, they have both been wronged – appeal to the gods when a person does not have earthy powers, Lear is becoming marginalised
Into her womb convey sterility,Dry up in her the organs of increase Invokes nature, horrific oath/curse, aggressive
If she must teem,Create her child of spleen festering word for giving birth ‘teem’, but used normally to talk about maggots – he wants her to get a violent child who will torture Goneril
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it isTo have a thankless child Asking that Goneril experience what he has experienced himself with his children
fifty of my followers at a clap? Goneril has dismissed fifty of them undermining Lear
‘thou hast power to shake my manhood thus…hot tears’ Lear bemoans, feels undignified, affronted, emasculated, symbol of vestiges of power
Old fond eyes I’ll pluck ye out Again Lear is mentioning sight, Lear is foreshadowing Gloucester’s fate
with her nailsShe’ll flay thy wolfish visage. Thou shalt findThat I’ll resume the shape which thou dost thinkI have cast off for ever Animal imagery, sexual in Sam Mende’s production
milky gentleness Lady Macbeth says Macbeth has ‘too much of the milk of human kindness’ both women reproach their husbands for being too gentle – the link makes Goneril seem more evil
How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell Goneril has lack of foresight according to Albany, she is greedy
Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly Pun on kindly as Lear believes that Regan will save him but her nature of being kind is to be cruel
I did her wrong Lear UNDERSTANDS that he did not react well to the situation with Cordelia
Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise The Fool is trying to tell Lear that he is not wise nor does Lear understand the situation
O let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! I would not be mad.Keep me in temper, I would not be mad. Repetition of ‘mad’ creates apprehension and demonstrates that Lear is losing his sanity
likely wars toward ‘twixt the two dukes of Cornwall and Albany? Curan is discussing how war is brewing, civil war rumour, impeding but it was hoped that the division would be harmonious
some blood on me would beget opinionOf my more fierce endeavour [cuts his arm] Edmund is scheming he is trying to make his plan more believable
mumbling of wicked charms, conjuring the moon ironic as earlier Edmund took the astrology book off his brother
the revenging gods’Gainst parricides did all their thunders bend Not Christian, pagan, “strong a bond”
unnatural purpose Edmund is trying to make out that Edgar was unnatural
thou unpossessing bastard Edmund is sharing his worst thoughts and putting them “in Edgar’s mouth”
I never got him Gloucester is saying this about Edgar, similar to Lear “I disclaim all my parental care”
loyal and natural boy Gloucester to Edmund – nature, irony, Edmund is pretending to be loyal and natural but he isn’t as he is a bastard and he isn’t loyal as he is going against the natural laws
too bold maliceAgainst the grace and person of my master,Stocking his messenger. Ignoble treatment – they are disobeying Lear by sticking Kent into the stocks
If I were your father’s dog You should not use me so To Regan by Kent – animal imagery
Fortune, good night: smile once more; turn thy wheel Praying for luck, Kent believes he is at the bottom of the wheel of fortune, in this time period people believed strongly in the wheel of fortune, they were superstitious and the wheel of fortune was something that they could understand
Bedlam beggars…Poor Tom, That’s something yet: Edgar I nothing am Edgar wants to be something for as Edgar he is nothing, he has nothing as he has had to flee for Gloucester declared ‘dispatch’ kill him if he is found. – in Jacobean society insanity was entertainment, asylums were often watched on Sunday as an amusement
tis worse than murder…violent outrage Lear is being melodramatic, but we can see where his priorities lie, he cannot be wronged, he must have respect which he does not get
Winter’s not gone yet; if the wild geese fly that way Cryptic, Kent’s story means more trouble, stormy weather on the way, token of foul weather to follow.
Fathers that wear ragsDo make their children blindBut fathers that bear bagsShall see their children kind…Fortune, that arrant ***** fortune, sight, fickle, money and sorrow are all mentioned as themes here
there’s no labouring i’the winter… there’s not a nose among twenty but can smell him that’s stinking. the storm is being used to emphasise how none should follow Lear as there is no point
Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs downs a hill lest it break thy neck with following it; but the great one that goes upward, let him draw thee after. A man falling down a precipice, though in motion is not at liberty because he cannot stop that motion if he wanted
That sir which serves and seeks for gain,And follows but for form,Will pack when it begins to rain, And leave thee in the storm;But I will tarry, the fool will stay Fool rejects wise counsel he has just given and says wise men will leave when there’s no profit in following Lear, they do not have a deeper loyalty but the fool will stay. Sycophants desert when the king downturns, he is a fool for staying with him but it is because he has this position and is regarded so highly by Lear that he must stay
You know the fiery quality of the DukeHow unremovable and fixed he is Gloucester is stating this about Cornwall, link to how Lear was in Act 1, Lear would know about this personally – this is a direct response to Cornwall and Regan refusing to speak with Lear, anger erupts in him as a consequence
My rising heart Lear’s heart rises at his family’s betrayal, shows that he cares about family
hail to your grace kingly lexicon – ironic as Cornwall doesn’t mean it
If thou shouldst not be glad,I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb,Sepulchring an adultress. Paranoia, distrust, fear of female sexuality, extremely intemperate, immoderate
Sharp toothed unkindness like a vulture Alluding to Prometheus who stole fire from the gods and was punished by being chained to a rock where a vulture gnawed at his liver. Animal imagery – also trying to pit Regan against Goneril
I cannot think my sister in the least Would fail her obligation belief that Goneril was justified
O sir you are very old Lear is reduced to just a number
Nature in you stands on the very verge Of her confine…You should be ruled and led Passive, relinquished authority and control
On my knees I beg Lear is becoming submissive, he wants Regan to look after him
She hath abated me of half my train This has angered Lear the most, as it was one of the provisions of him letting them rule his kingdom, and she has flaunted this rule
Her eyes are fierce, but thineDo comfort and not burn Lear sees some refuge in Regan which is ironic as she is the most cruel – in the Sam Mendes version this is visualised through Regan and Lear having a sexual relationship
Thou better knowst The offices of nature, bond of childhood, Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude Lear believes that the sisters owe him gratitude for what he has done for them
take her by the hand Shows confederacy and solidarity, Lear reaches for Regan’s hand in the Trevor Nunn film version
comrade with the wolf and owl Lear would rather do this than lose half his train – hyperbolic
a disease that’s in my flesh This is directed towards Goneril, Lear is contaminated by being a relation of hers
Thou art a boil, A plague sore or embossed carbuncleIn my corrupted blood use of rude language directed towards Goneril
Thy fifty yet doth double five and twenty,And thou art twice her love Love is a commodity which can be quantified according to Lear – link back to the love test
What need one? Reasonable request but they seem to have forgotten that Lear decreed that he was to have his one hundred knights – cruelty of the sisters is emphasised here, they are trying to remove Lear’s security and his ability to take back the throne if he so wished
“reason not the need! Our basest beggarsAre in the poorest thing superfluous;Allow not nature more than nature needs,Man’s life is cheap as beast’s…nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st The additions define him, will become increasingly bestial
[storm and tempest] Pathetic fallacy, reflects chaos in Lear’s mind, turmoil
O fool, I shall go mad prophetic of what will happen to Lear
Shut up your doors,He is attended with a desperate train As king Lear should have more troops, it is not as if the castles cannot cope, they are cruelly trying to cast him out so that he cannot reclaim his throneThis is repeated by Cornwall shows their synchronisation and also perhaps their dictatorial figures hence civil war?
fretful elements…eyeless rage theme of sight again, said by the knight contending with authority
Dover Cordelia will be waiting for Lear at Dover, but she is effectively invading
unnatural bemadding sorrow Kent says this to the knight, theme of nature and madness
Rage, blow!…sulphurous…fire..Crack nature’s moulds..ingrateful man Invokes the elements, exclamatory imperatives, invites the worst, infernal imagery, apocalyptic, earth into the sea, monomaniacal, fails to understand what he has done, he feels only victimised
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness.I never gave you kingdom, called you children Lear has self-pity – he gave them everything and he has been left with nothing, he feels complete betrayal
A poor, infirm, weak and despised old man Previously defiant now acknowledges weakness/debility/frailty, cumulation of adjectives – within the storm Lear becomes far more self-aware
pernicious daughters Lear seems to believe that his daughters are having a harmful effect on him
I am a man more sinned against than sinning Is this true? Is Lear more sinned against than sinning
My wits begin to turn…Come on, my boy. How dost my boy? Art cold?… Seek thine own ease…In boy, go first. You houseless poverty – Compassion, concern, appreciates loyalty by caring for those who care for him
“vile things seem precious”…I have one part in my heartThat’s sorry yet for thee Pivotal moment for Lear, some gratitude, sympathy, enlightened now that his environment has changed
The younger rises when the old doth fall Edmund is being prophetic, is this the point of the play, for the elder generation to be wiped away until there is nothing left but a younger generation
The tempest in my mind Doth from my senses take all feeling else,Save what beats there, filial ingratitude symbolic significance of the storm
gave you all Repetition, self-pity, “that way madness lies” – dwelling on one’s own griefs
Poor naked wretches…pitiless storm,How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,…defend you…O, I have ta’enToo little care of this. Take physic, pomp,Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,That thou mayst shake the superflux to themAnd show the heavens more just. (Previously neglected the poor in the Kozintsev version) Confession, Personified royalty and wealth – in this speech Lear reaches an ANAGNORISIS, progress towards humility- then kneels in contrition to Cordelia, compassion- Christian value, Marxist interpretation praise? Charitable redistribution of wealth
Didst thou give all to thy two daughters? And art thou come to this?…Have his daughters brought him to this pass? Couldst thou save nothing? Only brought to lonely abject condition through this event, obsessive, instant empathy for Edgar simulating madness and Lear experiences it, projects onto Poor Tom his own grievances. At this point widely considered that he goes mad.
Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art Lear here is saying the epitome of humanity
[tearing at his clothes] Lear is wanting to get back to basic humanity, it is also his way of trying to get closer to nature – but demonstrates his madness
Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so vileThat it doth hate what gets it. ‘Edgar’, really Edmund, Goneril and Regan, mutiny against their fathers. Moral obligation, defies autocratic dictatorial direction of daughters but lacks authority to outrank. Inclement weather
His wits begin t’unsettle shows disintegration of Lear
Thou sayest the King grows mad…I am almost mad myself. I had a son,Now outlawed from my blood Gloucester is still referring to Lear as King, links main plot and sub-plot explicitly
I loved him.. no father his son dearer Gloucester portrays that he loved Edgar, but if he truly loved him than why did he treat him in such a way
nature thus gives way to loyalty Edmund here is being hypocritical, he is being subservient to Cornwall
All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience Kent is making a comment on how Lear has lost his self-control or ability to endure, he has lost everything
madman be a gentlemen or a yeoman BBC 1981 production penetrated Edgar’s disguise, Lear and Edgar both become madmen
he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentlemen before him The fool is discussing social inversion, implicit reference to Lear’s folly in demoting himself and giving precedence to Regan and Goneril
he’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf animal imagery, Lear has foolish trust, short sighted
I will arraign them straight… most learned justicer…robed man of justice Lear wants to put Goneril and Regan on trial
foxes Edgar and the Fool colludes with Lear ‘look where she stands and stares’
My tears begin to take his part so much They mar my counterfeiting Edgar can’t keep up his pretence in the court case, it is almost pitiful that he can’t keep up a role for a scared old man who has lost everything
Is there any cause in nature that make these hard hearts? Lear is questioning if it was something that he did that made Regan and Goneril into the people they became, he is questioning himself and everything he has known
supper i’ the morning…And I’ll go to bed at noon Inversion of natural order. Fool’s last lines in the whole play. Cornwall executes him in the Trevor Nunn film version. Fool’s role diminished as Lear relies on Edgar, he is supplanted – Fool is beaten to death in a bath tub by Lear in the Sam Mendes version, Kozintsev keeps him alive to the end of film version (1970) connector between king and audience, Edgar drops his mask later as Poor Tom to speak moralizing rhyming couplets in his own voice, directly addressing the audience and emphasising the links between the Lear and Gloucester plots. Edgar could be seen as taking over the Fool’s role as commentator, substituting
his wits are gone physical evidence that Lear has lost his wits
How light and portable my pain seems now,When that which makes me bend makes the King bow,He childed as I fathered. Tom, away No longer going to assume his disguise, pain is easier to bear when others bear it too, sentential soliloquy rhyming couplets. Cast out by daughters vs father
Pluck out his eyes! It is Goneril who says that Gloucester must lose his eyes, she gives the idea to Cornwall, makes her seem crueller
our powerShall do a courtesy to our wrath, which menMay blame but not control Tyrannical, agner justifies brutality, Gloucester is defenceless although as he points out ‘my friends, consider you are my guestsDo me no foul play, friends’
unmerciful lady as you are Contradicts Christian idea of forgiveness – also contrast as in the time period women were thought of being more forgiving than men, they would have saved Gloucester, instead Regan encourages the blinding
[plucks his beard] emphasises how sadistic Regan is
tied to the stake Animal imagery of bearbaiting assailed by hounds, Jacobean spectator-sport – Gloucester has made a decision and must stick to it, maybe he thinks that he is being punished
I would not see thy cruel nailsPluck out his poor old eyes Bestial behaviour, animal imagery – foreshadowing his own end, dark irony
I shall see The winged vengeance overtake such children talking about seeing, it is also ominous, he is not talking about Christian God
See’t thou shalt never he decides that Gloucester will never be able to see again – In the Peter Brooks version Gloucester’s eyes were gouged out with Cornwall’s spur and heels
It was he [Edmund]That made the overture of thy treasons to us Mental torture after the physical torture
O my follies! Than Edgar was abused? After his blinding Gloucester sees more clearly
O, I am slain! My lord you have one eye left not only telling the story , but also a reminder that Gloucester can still see – the servant is acting as a moral figure, by attacking Cornwall for what he has done to Gloucester
Some flax and whites of eggsTo apply to his bleeding face demonstration that the normal people are more moral than the nobility in this play
I have no way, and therefore want no eyes:I stumbled when I saw Gloucester is pointing out that even when you can physically see, it doesn’t mean that you actually see what is really happening, he has seen the truth after having his eyes taken from him – he was spiritually blind he is now physically blind
The lamentable change is from the best,The worst returns to laughter Edgar is discussing the wheel of fortune, he is optimistic
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,They kill us for their sport Cruel Pagan traditions
‘Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind Image of the play, aimlessness, purposeless, visual metaphor
What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him,What like, offensive Oswald here is taking opposition to morality, he doesn’t understand Albany’s moral repugnance
You are not worth the dust which the rude windBlows in your face. I fear your dispositionThat nature which contemns its origin…must wither and come to deadly use Albany is expressing his disgust at Goneril’s handling of Lear – she does wither by stabbing herself and poisoning Regan
If that the heavens do not their visible spiritsSend quickly down to tame these vile offences,It will comeHumanity must perforce prey on itself,Like monsters of the deep Cannibalistic, animal imagery
Where’s thy drum? Goneril is preparing for war but insinuates cowardliness
moral fool Goneril is stating that Albany is full of moral sentiments, she says it as if it is a bad thing, yet Albany is a moral compass of the play
changed and self-covered thing Goneril has changed into a field, she has concealed her womanly features and has become a thing
let these hands obey my blood,They are apt enough to dislocate and tear Thy flesh and bones….thou art a fiend,A woman’s shape doth shield thee. Albany versus Goneril, repetition of what Lear said to her earlier
my Gloucester [Edmund] with her Goneril is becoming possessive of Edmund, suggests that her and Regan will come into blows in the discussion of Edmund
Sunshine and rain at once…ripe lip…as pearls from diamonds Simile and saintly imagery used to describe Cordelia, she is compassionate which is bitter sweet, she is elevated to saintliness and purity over her sisters she is a precious jewel which is ironic as she is ‘the last and least’ of the sisters – she has a strong value however, ‘more opulent than your sisters’
Faith, once or twice she heaved her father’s name Cordelia is aware of the position that her father is in and what her sisters have done to him – she is determined to rescue him – she is an avenging angel
she shookThe holy water from her heavenly eyes Deifying, rich, religious imagery – hyperbolic – why is she not angry at how her father has been treated – Cordelia is nihilistic as she represents both ‘nothing’ and religious imagery
sovereign shame…unkindness…gave her dear rightsTo his dog-hearted daughters, these things stingHis mind so venomously that burning shameDetains him from Cordelia Lear feels as if he cannot see Cordelia for how he has treated her and elevated her ‘evil’ sisters above her, he feels as if has betrayed her and he is not worthy of her presence
Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,Darnel and all the idle weeds that grow Contrast with a regal, golden crown. Lear is walking around with a flower crown on which connects him to nature. Cordelia’s long speech contrasts with her brief ‘nothing’ shows how far she has come – In Jonathan Miller’s BBC film, in which Poor Tom wore a crown of thorns, linking him visually with Christ, brutally driving a staff into Oswald at odds with the idea of noble Edgar.
Search every acre in the high-grown fieldAnd bring him to our eye Imperative, she is giving out commands, she is searching for Lear, demonstration that she has come back a Queen
All blest secretsAll you unpublished virtues of the earthSpring with my tears there is a strong link between Cordelia and nature which are gentle – she wants her tears to restore Lear’s sanity, she believes/symbolises good things but they appear with her tears – Lear will see how sorry she is and she wants to save him – she holds no resentment for Lear
O dear father,It is thy business that I go about Christ like depiction, she is trying to justify her actions in going to war for Lear – this is the more direct Christian reference in the play but it is deeply ironic for Cordelia’s business is to fight to restore Lear’s right, whereas Christ’s was to leave his parents to attend to God’s affairs in the temple
It was great ignorance, Gloucester’s eyes being out,To let him live Regan says this as Gloucester poses a threat, she does not think it is ignorant as he is in pain, shows how uncaring she is and how psychopathic
Let me unseal the letter…My lord is dead…And more convenient is he for my hand Regan is flustered, this is a curious moment as we see Regan without out ‘sidekick’, she seems to be more vulnerable, perhaps the most vulnerable we see her within the play
within a footOf th’ extreme verge Edgar is playing the role of ‘fiend’ leading his father to suicide, interesting use of verse for as Old Tom he had used prose, and verse for Edgar – his concealment is about to be revealed
Why I do trifle thus with his despairIs done to cure it Element of cruelty in game, deception, one thing Gloucester wants he is denied: death… accepts then encounter with Oswald in ill thoughts again, comic, absurd, tragic
Methinks the ground is even mechanism for Gloucester that his life is worth living – Gloucester and Edgar are on an emotional cliff, they need to reconcile
O you mighty gods,This world I do renounce and in your sightsShake patiently my affliction off This is the moment before Gloucester tries to commit suicide, he is calling upon the gods but in the plural which contradicts the beliefs of the times
If Edgar live, O, bless him Dramatic irony as Edgar is standing next to him
loathed part of nature Christian prohibition against self-slaughter, ostensibly pagan play, Shakespeare exploits ambivalence by invoking the Stoic defence of suicide, all illusion
the clearest gods…have preserved thee trying to give Gloucester hope that he should be alive, it is not a mistake that he survived his ‘suicide’
[crowned with wild flowers] Lear has gone from wearing a gold, royal crown to a nature crown it symbolises his madness and is painfully ironic
Lear: I am the King himselfEdgar: O thou side-piercing sight! deliberate Christian reference, reference to Jesus and the soldier who pierced Christ’s side to see if he was dead
a mouse Lear imagines this and it is a demonstration of his madness
brown bills Anachronism for soldiers with a weapon developed in the late 15th century
They flattered me like a dog and told me I had the white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there Animalistic imagery – Lear uses this to discuss how in particular Goneril and Regan have treated him, it is also a discussion of his courtiers who told him he was wise when he still wasn’t ‘Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise’
What was thy cause?Adultery?Thou shalt not die – die for adultery? Lear knows it is Gloucester before him. His punishment of losing his eyes was punishment for adultery and Lear knows that he has committed adultery as he has fathered the ‘bastard’ Edmund
To say ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to everything that I said ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to was no good divinity Should have told him the truth rather than what he wanted to hear, divine right of kings, deified
they are not men o’their words: they told me I was everything; ’tis a lie, I am not ague-proof He is not immune to the cold, to shivering or fever – his time in the storm has taught him more about himself than all his years on the throne did
every inch a king…see how the subject quakes Lear is not completely humble – link to ‘do not stand between a dragon and his wrath’
Let copulation thrive,For Gloucester’s bastard son was kinder to his fatherThan were my daughters got ‘tween the lawful sheets Dramatic irony, illusion/appearance versus reality once again
Down from the waist they are centaurs, though women all above Lear uses bestial imagery to describe to his daughters – casual misogyny, this would have struck a cord with the audience
beneath is all the fiend’s: there’s hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit, burning, scalding stench, consumption! Infernal imagery associated with women
Let me wipe it first, it smells of mortality smells of death; also of the condition of being human which links with the stench of ‘his own flesh – traditionally derivative from the woman’s part in conception – carries that stench with in it, as the mark of female corruption’ (Adelman)
O ruined piece of nature, this great worldShall so wear out to naught Gloucester uses apocalyptic imagery, nihilism – repetition of the concept of nothing
my heart breaks at it Witnessing the encounter between the main plot and subplot they become united with the two men one mad one blind, pitiful
yet you see how this world goes…I see it feelingly Gloucester understands, sees better without his eyes. Feelingly – by touch and passion. He has gained perception and perspicacity
A man may see how this world goes with no eyes Gloucester has come to the conclusion that having no eyes is not the end of the world, he can still understand what is going on
a dog’s obeyed in office Dog above human, inversion of the natural order
The usurer hangs the cozener Lear rails against hypocrisy of justice system and the punishment of prostitutes
Through tattered clothes great vices do appear;Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,And the strong lance of justice hurtles breaks;Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it. Higher echelons of society appear virtuous. Poor suffer most because they are unable to protect themselves with bribery “seal th’accuser’s lips.”Poor men’s sins are much more noticeable than rich men’s. Cover up a crime with gold and the great arm of justice can’t tough it. But dress up the crime in rags and it’s caught easily. Everyone sins. We are more likely to blame someone in rags than in riches yet everyone sins
None does offend, none, I say none None offend Lear, because all do, he authorises this to continue, subversion of normality
O matter and impertinency mixed,Reason in madness Edgar is giving shafts of insight whilst ‘mad’ – if he was sane would he be believing the same things – is it his madness and his understanding of it that makes him a perfect person to lead the country at the end?
I know thee well enough, thy name is Gloucester two old men reuniting through their suffering – emotional, there is a connection between the two men who have lost so much
Thou must be patient. We came crying hither:Thou knowst the first time that we smell the airWe wawl and cry. We come weeping into this world, we’ll leave it i the same way
When we are born we cry that we are comeTo this great stage of fools perception that although there are specific fools, we are all fools in this world and we all make mistakes
When I have stolen upon these son-in-laws,Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill Violent, imagines himself leading a revenge attack
the natural fool of fortune Lear was born to be a dupe of fortune
I am cut to the brains demonstration of Lear’s madness and his distress
Lear: I am a KingGentleman: We obey you few do
A sight most pitiful in the meanest wretch,Past speaking of in a king. Thou hast one daughterWho redeems nature from the general curseWhich twain have brought her to Original sin – Adam and Eve, Goneril and Regan
You ever gentle gods, take my breath from me;Let not my worser spirit tempt me againTo die before you please Gloucester invokes to take his life away because of seeing Lear reduced to madness
fortune’s blows we never know what will happen, or who fortune favours
That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh To raise my fortunes Oswald is cowardly to attack an old, defenceless, blind man with a sword. But what is loyal service? To fulfil service or to look after interests?
serviceable villain,As duteous to the vices of thy mistressAs badness would desire Edgar is demonstration that Oswald is obsequious and sycophantic for advancement
O indistinguished space of woman’s will!A plot upon her virtuous husband’s life Misogyny but Edgar is trying to protect basic laws, so is his misogyny ok? Are we allowed to be misogynistic when the characters deserve it?
The king is mad Gloucester understands the situation clearly
Toe be acknowledged, madam is o’er paid.All my reports go with the modest truth Kent is the epitome of the loyal servant, contrasts with Oswald’s serviceable villainy – Kent doesn’t drop his disguise in this scene devoted to the recognition of Cordelia by Lear, shows his devotion and he wants to HELP
O you kind gods Positive representation of the gods
abused nature Cordelia is sad at how Lear has been treated
child-changed father Reversed role between Cordelia and Lear – demonstrates how daughters have affected him
louder the music there People believed that music had healing properties
“let this kissRepair those violent harms that my two sistersHave in thy reverence made.” Christian view, implicit contrast with sisters even after she has been rejected and exiled
Mine enemy’s dogThough he had bit me should have stood that nightAgainst my fire…’Tis wonder that thy life and wits at onceHad not concluded all. Cordelia is amazed Lear has not already died through crisis, shows compassion, appalled by her sister’s treatment of him, incredulous
You do me wrong to take me out o’the grave.Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am boundUpon a wheel of fire that mine own tearsDo scald like molten lead. Lear, like Gloucester, wants death as an escape from unendurable suffering, infernal imagery, wheel of fortune. Restored to life after imagined death. Imagines self suffering torments of the damned, and Cordelia in Christian heaven
I am mighty abused Lear still trying to maintain dignity
Lear: [kneels] hold your hands in benediction o’er me![She restrains him as he tries to kneel.]Cordelia: No, sir, you must not kneel. Religious, tries to show humility. Submissive, respectful, deference, reverence, humilityDemonstration that he has realised that he is no longer king
I am a very foolish, fond, old man Lear has become self-aware – he doesn’t refer to himself as King, acknowledgement of who he is, the kingly part of him has gone away
I fear I am not in my perfect mind Lear has become wiser the madder he has become
If you have poison for me, I will drink it Gloucester’s desire, Shakespeare compares two old suffering men by juxtaposing these scenes
Your sisters have…done me wrong. You have some cause, they have not It is almost as if Lear is begging Cordelia to spurn him, as he spurned her, he is trying to understand the situation and predict what she will do next
No cause, no cause Cordelia is trying to comfort him and soothe him, compassionate, she sees how weak he is and is giving him complete forgiveness jut when he needs it
forget and forgive; I am old and foolish Lear is making a declaration and admission
Regan: Do you not love my sister?Edmund: In honoured love Ambiguous Edmund doesn’t want to commit himself and alienate a sister
I had rather lose the battle than that sisterShould loosen him and me Goneril prioritises Edmund over an entire kingdom, leachery, lust, Lear was railing against in previous scene has transfixed her.
To both these sisters have I sworn my love,Each jealous of the other as the stungAre of the adder Jealous is suspicious – Edmund doesn’t want to lose either as he wants to have the winning sister – he has to preserve himself
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta’en Edgar is acting as a commentator – Shakespeare did not stage the fight in order to focus on the fight between Edmund and Edgar in the next scene but the director Kozintsev did stage the battle
let’s away to prison; We two alone will sing like birds i’the cageWhen thou dost ask me blessing I’l kneel downAnd ask of thee forgiveness….laugh at gilded butterflies Lear had an incandescent rage but now he is happy and content, no grandeur. Lowers self to daughter, embraces his fate, humble language, realises the triviality of the court, long compound sentences yet he speaks of desiring simplicity. Insubstantial, ephemeral nature of the court, inevitable downfall – seeing Cordelia has allowed him to let go of all his anger, he has realised what he truly wants and that is not to be King or to be surrounded by grandeur but to be loved, and he knows that Cordelia is the only daughter who does love him
man’s work, I’ll do’t The captain is trying to justify, emblematic of how degraded humanity has become in the play. Edmund is dissembling
the friend hath lost his friend the calamitous consequences of Lear’s division of the kingdom
I hold you but a subject of this war,Not as a brother Albany is cold and distant but seems to understand Edmund’s priorities
In his own grace he doth exalt himselfMore than in your addition Goneril is competing with Regan who says that Edmund is worth of being considered Albany’s brother
Jesters do oft prove prophets proverbial – Regan is saying you’re joking but it’s true, I might marry him
I arrest theeOn capital treason, and in thine attaintThis gilded serpent…I bar it in the interest of my wife Emboldened, from milky kindness, gilded butterflies, diabolical imagery, serpent’s tooth
my name is lost Edgar enters in disguise again, nemesis, recalls Edgar I nothing am. Trial by combat, forces of good and evil in the play, represented as brothers, recalling Cain and Abel
Thy valour and thy heart, thou art a [most toad spotted] traitor:False to thy gods, thy brother and thy fatherConspirant ‘against this high illustrious prince The toad typifies everything loathsome – Edgar is accusing Edmund of being a traitor
An unknown opposite. Thou art vanquished,But cozened and beguiled Full circle as Edmund cheated and deceived his father, restoration of natural order in the final scene
Albany: Shut your mouth dame…Goneril: The laws are mine, not thine.Who can arraign me for’t? She is trying to assert power and dominance, she is defiant
My name is Edgar and thy father’s son Seems to renounce his brother’s bond with Edmund
The gods are just and of our pleasant vicesMake instruments to plague us…Cost him his eyes Edgar is giving moral condemnation
The wheel is come full circle, I am here Link with ‘smile once more, turn thy wheel’ he initially scorned the wheel of fortune
assume a semblanceThat very dogs disdained Edgar talking about his disguise because he preferred “pain of death would hourly dieRather than die at once”
O fault! Edgar regrets not revealing himself earlier to Gloucester
But his flawed heart,Alack, too weak the conflict to support,’Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,Burst smilingly He felt joy knowing Edgar was alive but Gloucester also felt grief at what he has suffered, so he died both happy and in grief for the pain caused. He has reached a small measure of peace – but Edgar has ultimately killed his father
the banished Kent, who in disguiseFollowed his enemy king and did him serviceImproper for a slave Beyond the call of duty has Kent served, he has unswerving loyalty
poisoned…Produce the bodies, be they alive or dead Albany is not showing pity/distraught, all three of Lear’s daughters are dead on stage simultaneously recalls the opening scene and the contrast with it, where all the characters are dead bar three
This judgement of the heavens that makes us trembleTouches us not with pity again a reliance on the gods
bid my King and master aye (forever) good night Kent ultimately we believe commits suicide as depicted in the Trevor Nunn version, is it because of a broken heart?
Yet Edmund was beloved:The one the other poisoned for my sake,And after slew herself Edmund’s ultimate goal was to be beloved as he had been stigmatised for his baseness
Some good I mean to do,Despite of my own nature Edmund is aware of the fact that he is Machiavellian and malcontent, yet he has learnt from the play and he decides to reject his nature and try to save Cordelia, alas it is too late but he tries – moment of redemption
The gods defend her the gods being irrelevant is here undermined by Albany
she’s gone for everI know when one is dead and when one lives;She’s dead as earth Lear’s ultimate realisation at the loss of Lear, symbol of him losing his wits or his sanity?
Kent:Is this the promised endEdgar: Or image of that horror? apocalyptic and biblical – is this what they’ve worked towards: the end?
O, my good master! Lear ignores Kent, perhaps a demonstration of how Cordelia was his world, when he lost her he lost his wits, regaining her made him find them again and now he has lost everything once again with her death, he is no longer aware of the outside world
I killed the slave that was a-hanging thee [Cordelia] Lear is overwhelmed with fried, force of grief and anger
Mine eyes are not o’the best Sight, Lear has an inability to recognise his most faithful follower, Kent
If fortune brag of two she loved and hated,One of them we behold Lear is most unfortunate for what has happened to him
from your first of difference and decayHave followed your sad steps Kent is demonstrating his commitment to Lear
All cheerless, dark and deadly Kent is nihilistic, he will have lost everything after Lear’s death – he thinks there is no redemption or chance of hope
He knows not what he says Albany is now also declaring Lear’s insanity
For us, we will resignDuring the life of this old majestyTo him our absolute power Lear began with a ‘fast intent’ to retire now Albany is saying that they should retire like Lear, the wheel has come full circle – restoration of the monarchy
All friends shall tasteThe wages of their virtue and all foesThe cup of their deservings. O, see, see! Return to the natural order, restore equilibrium, says virtue will be rewarded but in fact not because Kent dies and Cordelia did too. Not moral ending, virtue doesn’t triumph over vice of which we’ve seen catastrophic consequences, appropriate to a conventional ending but presence of dead Cordelia renders idea of virtue rewarded absurd.
And my poor fool is hanged This is so poignant as he had great affection for Cordelia and they died the same way
No, no, no life!Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have lifeAnd thou no breath at all? Injustice, equal as cheap as beasts
Never, never, never, never, never Lear utters the most negative line, emphasises his anguish, irrevocable loss, she is eternally gone
Look there, look there! [he dies] Deluded but in joy, comparison with burst smilinglyThese words were added in the folio, they make it possible that Lear dies in joy believing that Cordelia is alive, if Lear thinks so he is deluded or perhaps delirious and others have insisted that the ending is painful and there is nothing here to indicate ‘a transition from grief to joy’ [J.K. Walton]. The ambiguity of these lines complicates the ending – Lear’s death is at once painful and welcome, as the audience we do not wish to see such a poor, old deluded man live in pain any longer, when he dies his attention is fixed on Cordelia not himself, unlike in any other part of the play
Break heart, heart, I prithee break Kent could be talking about Lear or himself here, he is willing to die
Vex not his ghost; O let him pass. He hates him That would upon the rack of this tough worldStretch him out longer. image of the world as torturous
The wonder is he hath endured so long;He but usurped his life Suffered so greatly, stole or clung to his own life, lived to ‘fourscore and upwards’.
Rule in this realm and the gored state sustain Rhyming couplets, Albany is trying to wrap things up, this should have bet the ending but Kent continues afterwards, shows that the story of King Lear has affected the natural world they live in it will never be the same again. They have all been deeply wounded, he is inviting Edgar and Kent to govern jointly or restore noble rank to sustain order
My master calls me, I must not say no Kent follows Lear beyond the grave to death, shows the enormity and dedication of his service – In Trevor Nunn Kent takes out his gun, and takes it off stage and then you can hear a bullet go off
The weight of this sad time we must obey,Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.The oldest hath borne most; we that are youngShall never see so much, nor live so long. 2 rhyming couplets, sententia, moralistic statement, doesn’t adequately sum up King Lear because the horrors are so great words are almost ineffectual at the end, harrowing. Hollow, bleak ending. Spoken by Albany in Quarto, the royal plural ‘we’ in the last four lines is appropriate to him, but the change in Folio completes the enhancement of Edgar’s role and may make for a stronger finish. Resonances of feeling and seeing, feel what wretches feel, will not see because he does not feel, Goneril and Regan spoke dutifully about what they ought to say, whilst Cordelia felt she had to conceal her feelings. For Albany and Edgar the overwhelming events of the play have allowed them to speak freely, Edgar found compassion through ‘the art of known and feeling sorrows’

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