Comparison of King Lears Daughters

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The question must answered using APA format with a 250 word minimum response using only the book that is attached.

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Shakespeare, W. (2014). King Lear. In D. Bevington's (Ed.). The Necessary Shakespeare (4th ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

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Compare Lear's three daughters. By what means does Shakespeare deepen the contrast between Cordelia and her two sinister sisters?

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King Lear M ‫ﱸﱷﱶ‬ I n King Lear, Shakespeare pushes to its limit the hypothesis of a malign or at least indifferent universe in which human life is meaningless and brutal. Few plays other than Hamlet and Macbeth approach King Lear in evoking the wretchedness of human existence, and even they cannot match the devastating spectacle of the Earl of Gloucester blinded or Cordelia dead in Lear’s arms. The responses of the chief characters are correspondingly searing. “Is man no more than this?” rages Lear. “Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art” (3.4.101–7). Life he calls a “great stage of fools,” an endless torment: “the first time that we smell the air / We wawl and cry” (4.6.179– 83). Gloucester’s despair takes the form of accusing the gods of gleeful malice toward humanity: “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods; / They kill us for their sport” (4.1.36 –7). Gloucester’s ministering son Edgar can offer him no greater consolation than stoic resolve: “Men must endure / Their going hence, even as their coming hither; / Ripeness is all” (5.2.9–11). These statements need not be read as choric expressions of meaning for the play as a whole, but they do attest to the depth of suffering. In no other Shakespearean play does injustice appear to triumph so ferociously, for so long, and with such impunity. Will the heavens countenance this reign of injustice on earth? Retribution is late in coming and is not certainly the work of the heavens themselves. For, at the last, we must confront the wanton death of the innocent Cordelia—a death no longer willed even by the villain who arranged her execution. “Is this the promised end?” (5.3.268) asks the Earl of Kent, stressing the unparalleled horror of the catastrophe. Throughout its earlier history, the ancient story of King Lear had always ended happily. In the popular folktale of Cinderella, to which the legend of Lear’s daughters bears a significant resemblance, the youngest and virtuous daughter triumphs over her two older wicked sisters and is married to her princely wooer. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136), the ear- E L H Oliest known version of the Lear story, records that, after Lear is overthrown by his sons-in-law (more than by his Rdaughters), he is restored to his throne by the intervenof the French King and is allowed to enjoy his kingNtion dom and Cordelia’s love until his natural death. , (Cordelia, as his successor, is later dethroned and murdered by her wicked nephews, but that is another story.) Sixteenth-century Tudor versions of the Lear story with Mwhich Shakespeare was familiar—John Higgins’s account in The First Part of the Mirror for Magistrates (1574), I Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587), Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, 2.10.27–32, and a play called CThe True Chronicle History of King Leir (by 1594, published H1605)—all retain the happy ending. The tragic pattern may have been suggested instead by Shakespeare’s probAable source for the Gloucester-Edgar-Edmund plot, Sir EPhilip Sidney’s Arcadia, 2.10, in which the Paphlagonian King is the victim of filial ingratitude and deceit. L Yet even Shakespeare’s authority was not sufficient to put down the craving for a happy resolution. Nahum Tate’s adaptation (1681), which banished the Fool as 7indecorous for a tragedy and united Edgar and Cordelia in marriage, placing Lear once again on his throne, held 2the English stage for about 150 years. David Garrick 0restored some of Shakespeare’s lines, and Edmund Kean restored the tragic ending, but it was not until 1838 that 7King Lear was again performed more or less as the dramawrote it. One of Shakespeare’s editors, Dr. Samuel Btist Johnson, evidently spoke for most eighteenth-century Uaudiences when he confessed that he could hardly bring himself to read Shakespeare’s text. Cordelia’s slaughter violated that age’s longing for “poetic justice.” Her death implied a wanton universe and so counseled philosophic despair. Today, Shakespeare’s relentless honesty and refusal to accept easy answers convince us that he was right to defy the conventions of his source, though no doubt we, too, distort the play to conform with our supposed toughness of vision. 656 The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. KING LEAR Shakespeare evidently wrote King Lear some time before it was performed at court in December of 1606, probably in 1605 and certainly no earlier than 1603–1604; Edgar’s speeches as Tom o’ Bedlam contain references to Samuel Harsnett’s Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures, which was registered for publication in March of 1603. Thus, King Lear was probably written between Othello (c. 1603–1604) and Macbeth (c. 1606–1607), when Shakespeare was at the height of his literary power in the writing of tragedies. When we look at the play in formal terms, we are apt to be struck first by its complex double plot. Nowhere else in Shakespearean tragedy do we find anything approaching the rich orchestration of the double plotting in King Lear. The links and parallels between the two plots are established on a narrative level early in the play and continue to the end. King Lear misjudges his children and disinherits his loving daughter Cordelia in favor of her duplicitous sisters, whereas Gloucester falls prey to Edmund’s deceptions and disinherits his loyal son Edgar; Lear is turned out into the storm by his false daughters, while Gloucester is branded as a traitor by Edmund and deprived of his eyesight; Lear in his madness realizes his fault against Cordelia, while the blind Gloucester “sees” at last the truth about Edgar; and both fathers are cared for by their loving children and are belatedly reconciled to them, but then die brokenhearted. As recent criticism has noted, these narrative parallels are not especially significant in themselves; we are moved, not by the mere repetition of events, but by the enlargement of tragic vision that results from the counterpointing of two such actions. When we see juxtaposed to each other two scenes of trial, Lear’s mad arraignment of the absent Goneril and Regan and then the cruel imposition of the mere “form of justice” on the pinioned Gloucester (3.6 and 3.7), we begin to measure the extent to which justice and injustice are inverted by cruelty. When at last the two old men come together, during the storm scenes and especially at Dover, the sad comfort they derive from sharing the wreckage of their lives calls forth piercing eloquence against the stench of mortality. The sight is “most pitiful in the meanest wretch, / Past speaking of in a king” (4.6.204–5). The play’s double structure suggests another duality central to King Lear: an opposition of parable and realism, in which “divided and distinguished worlds” are bound together for instructive contrast. (These terms are Maynard Mack’s, in his King Lear in Our Time, 1965.) To a remarkable degree, this play derives its story from folklore and legend, with many of the wondrous and implausible circumstances of popular romance. A prose rendition might almost begin, “Once upon a time there was a king who had three daughters . . . .” Yet Shakespeare arouses romantic expectation only to crush it by aborting the conventional happy ending, setting up a dramatic tension between an idealized world of make- M E L H O R N , M I C H A E L 7 2 0 7 B U believe and the actual world of disappointed hopes. We are aware of artifice and convention, and yet are deeply moved by the “truth” of suffering, love, and hatred. The characters pull us two ways at once; we regard them as types with universalized characteristics—a king and father, his cruel daughters, his loving daughter, and the like—and yet we scrutinize them for psychological motivation because they seem so real and individual. This duality appears in both the central and the secondary characters. The King of France is in part a hero out of romance, who makes selfless choices and rescues the heroine Cordelia from her distress; yet his motive must also be appraised in the context of a bitter struggle for power. Why does he leave the English court “in choler,” and why does he return to England with an army? Is it only to aid his wife and her beleaguered father, or is he negotiating for military advantage? Certainly, a French invasion of England on behalf of Lear complicates the issues of loyalty for the well-meaning Duke of Albany (and perhaps as well for an English Renaissance audience, with its habitual mistrust of the French). The dual focus of the play invites conflicting interpretation. Similarly, Edgar is presented to us on the one hand as the traduced victim in a starkly pessimistic story, dominated by his rationalistic brother, Edmund, who scoffs at religion and undertakes to manipulate those around him for personal gain; on the other hand, Edgar’s story grows increasingly improbable as he undertakes a series of disguises and emerges finally as an anonymous champion of chivalry, challenging his brother in the lists like a knight-errant out of Arthurian romance. Edgar’s motives are hard to follow. Is he the hero of a fabulous story whose disguises and contriving of illusions for his father are simply part of that storytelling tradition, or is he, in more realistic terms, a man whose disguises are a defensive mask and whose elaborate contrivances defeat themselves? Edmund, his brother, is no less complex. Onstage today he is usually interpreted as smooth and plausible, well-motivated by his father’s condescending attitude and by the arbitrariness of the law that has excluded him from legitimacy and inheritance. Yet parable elevates Edmund into something monstrous. He becomes an embodiment of gleeful villainy, like Iago in Othello, malignantly evil simply because the evil that is in the universe must find a human form through which to express itself. Edmund’s belated attempt to do some good adds to our difficulties in appraising his character, but the restless power of the dual conception supplies a vitality not to be found in pure fable or in realistic literature. What we see then in Edmund and in others is the union of the universal and the particular, making King Lear at once parable and compellingly real. The parable or folktale element is prominent at the beginning of the play and focuses attention on the archetypal situations with which the story is concerned: rivalry between sib- The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 657 658 KING LEAR lings, fear of parental rejection, and, at the same time, parental fear of children’s callousness. The “unrealistic” contrast between Cordelia and her wicked sisters, or between Edgar and Edmund, is something we accept as a convention of storytelling, because it expresses vividly the psychic truth of rivalry between brothers and sisters. We identify with Cordelia and Edgar as virtuous children whose worth is misjudged, and who are losing to wicked siblings the contest for parental approval. (In folklore, the rejecting parent is usually a stepparent, which signifies our conviction that he or she is not a true parent at all.) Similarly, we accept as a meaningful convention of storytelling the equally “unrealistic” device by which Lear tests the love of his daughters. Like any parent, he wishes to be loved and appreciated in response to the kindnesses he has performed. The tension between fathers and their marriageable daughters is a recurrent pattern in Shakespeare’s late plays, as in Othello (in which Brabantio accuses Desdemona of deceiving and deserting him), in Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale, and in The Tempest, in which the pattern is best resolved. In King Lear, Shakespeare explores the inherently explosive situation of an imperious father who, having provided for his children and having grown old, assumes he has a right to expect that those children will express their love and gratitude by looking after him. The difficulty is that the parable of Lear and his children presents two contrasting viewpoints—that of the unappreciated child and that of the unwanted aging parent. Tragic misunderstanding is inevitable, and it outweighs the question of assessing blame. From Lear’s point of view, Cordelia’s silence is a truculent scanting of obedience. What he has devised is, after all, only a prearranged formality, with Cordelia to receive the richest third of England. Cannot such a ceremony be answered with the conventional hyperbole of courtly language, to which the King’s ear is attuned? Don’t parents have a right to be verbally reassured of their children’s love? How can children be so laconic about such a precious matter? For her part, however, Cordelia senses that Lear is demanding love as payment for his parental kindliness, quid pro quo. Genuine love ought rather to be selfless, as the King of France tells the Duke of Burgundy: “Love’s not love / When it is mingled with regards that stands / Aloof from th’entire point” (1.1.242– 4). Is Cordelia being asked to prefer Lear before her own husband-to-be? Is this the price she must pay for her upbringing? Lear’s ego seems fully capable of demanding this sacrifice from his daughters, especially from his favorite, Cordelia; he has given them his whole kingdom, now let them care for him as befits his royal rank and patriarchal role. The “second childishness” of his old age brings with it a self-centered longing to monopolize the lives of his children and to be a child again. Besides, as king, Lear has long grown accustomed to flattery and absolute obedience. Goneril and Regan are content to flatter and promise obedience, knowing they will turn him out once he has relinquished his authority. Cordelia refuses to lie in this fashion, but she also will not yield to Lear’s implicit request for her undivided affection. Part of her must be loyal to her own husband and her children, in the natural cycle of the generations. “When I shall wed, / That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry / Half my love with him, half my care and duty” (1.1.100–2). Marriage will not prevent her from obeying, loving, and honoring her father as is fit but will establish for her a new priority. To Lear, Mas to other fathers contemplating a daughter’s marriage Shakespearean plays, this savors of desertion. Ein late Lear is sadly deficient in self-knowledge. As Regan Ldryly observes, “he hath ever but slenderly known himself” (1.1.296–7) and has grown ever more changeable and Himperious with age. By dividing his kingdom in three, Oostensibly so that “future strife / May be prevented now” (lines 44–5), he instead sets in motion a civil war and RFrench invasion. His intention of putting aside his regal while still retaining “The name and all th’addiNauthority tion to a king” (line 136) perhaps betrays a lack of com, prehension of the realities of power, although Lear may also have plausible political reasons for what he does, in view of the restive ambitions of the Dukes of Cornwall, MAlbany, and Burgundy. In any case, he welcomes poisoned flattery but interprets well-intended criticism, I whether from Cordelia or Kent, as treason. These failures no sense justify what Lear’s ungrateful children do Cin to him; as he later says, just before going mad, “I am a Hman / More sinned against than sinning” (3.2.59–60). His are, however, tokens of his worldly insolence, for Afailures which he must fall. The process is a painful one, but, since Eit brings self-discovery, it is not without its compensations. Indeed, a central paradox of the play is that by no Lother way could Lear have learned what human suffering and need are all about. Lear’s Fool is instrumental in elucidating this paradox. 7The Fool offers Lear advice in palatable form as mere or entertainment and thus obtains a hearing when 2foolery Kent and Cordelia have been angrily dismissed. Beneath 0his seemingly innocent jibes, however, are plain warnings of the looming disaster Lear blindly refuses to acknowl7edge. The Fool knows, as indeed any fool could tell, that BGoneril and Regan are remorseless and unnatural. The real fool, therefore, is Lear himself, for having placed himUself in their power. In a paradox familiar to Renaissance audiences—as in Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and Shakespeare’s own earlier As You Like It and Twelfth Night—folly and wisdom exchange places. By a similar inversion of logic, the Fool offers his coxcomb to the Earl of Kent for siding with Lear in his exile, “for taking one’s part that’s out of favor” (1.4.97). Worldly wisdom suggests that we serve those whose fortunes are on the rise, as the obsequious and servile Oswald does. The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. KING LEAR Indeed, the sinister progress of the first half of the play seems to confirm the Fool’s contention that kindness and love are a sure way to exile and poverty. “Let go thy hold when a great wheel runs down a hill lest it break thy neck with following; but the great one that goes upward, let him draw thee after” (2.4.70–3). Yet the Fool resolves to ignore his own sardonic advice; “I would have none but knaves follow it, since a fool gives it” (lines 74–5). Beneath his mocking, the Fool expresses the deeper truth that it is better to be a “fool” and suffer than to win on the cynical world’s terms. The greatest fools truly are those who prosper through cruelty and become hardened in sin. As the Fool puts it, deriving a seemingly contrary lesson from Lear’s rejection of Cordelia: “Why, this fellow has banished two on ‘s daughters and did the third a blessing against his will” (1.4.99–101). These inversions find a parallel in Christian teaching, although the play is nominally pagan in setting. (The lack of explicit Christian reference may be in part the result of a parliamentary order in 1606 banning references to “God” onstage as blasphemous.) Christianity does not hold a monopoly on the idea that one must lose the world in order to win a better world, but its expressions of that idea were plentifully available to Shakespeare: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (the Sermon on the Mount); “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21); “He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree” (Luke 1:52). Cordelia’s vision of genuine love is of this exalted spiritual order. She is, as the King of France extols her, “most rich being poor, / Most choice, forsaken, and most loved, despised” (1.1.254–5). This is the sense in which Lear has bestowed on her an unintended blessing, by exiling her from a worldly prosperity that is inherently pernicious. Now, with poetic fitness, Lear must learn the same lesson himself. He does so, paradoxically, at the very moment he goes mad, parting ways with the conventional truths of the corrupted world. “My wits begin to turn,” he says (3.2.67), and then speaks his first kind words to the Fool, who is his companion in the storm. Lear senses companionship with a fellow mortal who is cold and outcast as he is. In his madness, he perceives both the worth of this insight and the need for suffering to attain it: “The art of our necessities is strange, / And can make vile things precious” (lines 70–1). Misery teaches Lear things he never could know as king about other “Poor naked wretches” who “bide the pelting of this pitiless storm.” How are such poor persons to be fed and clothed? “Oh, I have ta’en / Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; / Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, / That thou mayst shake the superflux to them / And show the heavens more just” (3.4.28–36). This vision of perfect justice is visionary and utopian, utterly mad, in fact, but it is also spiritual wisdom dearly bought. M E L H O R N , M I C H A E L 7 2 0 7 B U Gloucester learns a similar truth and expresses it in much the same way. Like Lear, he has driven into exile a virtuous child and has placed himself in the power of the wicked. Enlightenment comes only through suffering. Just as Lear achieves spiritual wisdom when he goes mad, Gloucester achieves spiritual vision when he is physically blinded. His eyes having been ground out by the heel of Cornwall’s boot, Gloucester asks for Edmund only to learn that Edmund has betrayed him in return for siding with Lear in the approaching civil war. Gloucester’s response, however, is not to accuse Edmund of treachery but to beg forgiveness of the wronged Edgar. No longer does Gloucester need eyes to see this truth: “I stumbled when I saw.” Although the discovery is shattering, Gloucester perceives, as does Lear, that adversity is paradoxically of some benefit, since prosperity had previously caused him to be so spiritually blind. “Full oft ‘tis seen / Our means secure us, and our mere defects / Prove our commodities” (4.1.19–21). And this realization leads him, as it does Lear, to express a longing for utopian social justice in which arrogant men will be humbled and the poor raised up by redistributed wealth. “Heavens, deal so still! / Let the superfluous and lust-dieted man, / That slaves your ordinance, that will not see / Because he does not feel, feel your pow’r quickly! / So distribution should undo excess / And each man have enough” (lines 65–70). To say that Lear and Gloucester learn something precious is not, however, to deny that they are also devastated and broken by their savage humiliation. Indeed, Gloucester is driven to a despairing attempt at suicide, and Lear remains obsessed with the rotten stench of his own mortality, “bound / Upon a wheel of fire” (4.7.47–8). Every decent value that we like to associate with civilization is grotesquely inverted during the storm scenes. Justice, for example, is portrayed in two sharply contrasting scenes: the mere “form of justice” by which Cornwall condemns Gloucester for treason (3.7.26) and the earnestly playacted trial by which the mad Lear arraigns Goneril and Regan of filial ingratitude (3.6). The appearance and the reality of justice have exchanged places, as have folly and wisdom or blindness and seeing. The trial of Gloucester is outwardly correct, for Cornwall possesses the legal authority to try his subjects and at least goes through the motions of interrogating his prisoner. The outcome is, however, cruelly predetermined. In the playacting trial concurrently taking place in a wretched hovel, the outward appearance of justice is pathetically absurd. Here, justice on earth is personified by a madman (Lear), Edgar disguised as another madman (Tom o’ Bedlam), and a Fool, of whom the latter two are addressed by Lear as “Thou robèd man of justice” and “thou, his yokefellow of equity” (lines 36–7). They are caught up in a pastime of illusion, using a footstool to represent Lear’s ungrateful daughters. Yet true justice is here and not inside the manor house. The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 659 660 KING LEAR Similar contrasts invert the values of loyalty, obedience, and family bonds. Edmund becomes, in the language of the villains, the “loyal” son whose loyalty is demonstrated by turning on his own “traitorous” father. Cornwall becomes a new father to Edmund (“thou shalt find a dearer father in my love,” 3.5.25–6). Conversely, a servant who tries to restrain Cornwall from blinding Gloucester is, in Regan’s eyes, monstrously insubordinate. “A peasant stand up thus?” (3.7.83). Personal and sexual relationships betray signs of the universal malaise. The explicitly sexual ties in the play, notably those of Goneril, Regan, and Edmund, are grossly carnal and lead to jealousy and murder, while in Cordelia’s wifely role the sensual is underplayed. The relationships we are invited to cherish—those of Cordelia, Kent, the Fool, and Gloucester to King Lear, and Edgar to Gloucester—are filial or are characterized by loyal service, both of which are pointedly nonsexual. Nowhere do we find an embodiment of love that is both sensual and spiritual, as in Desdemona in Othello or Hermione in The Winter’s Tale. The Fool’s and Tom o’ Bedlam’s (i.e., Edgar’s) gibes about codpieces and plackets (3.2.27–40, 3.4.96) anticipate Lear’s towering indictment of carnality, in which his fear of woman’s insatiable appetite and his revulsion at her body “Down from the waist” (“there is the sulfurous pit, burning, scalding, stench, consumption. Fie, fie, fie! Pah, pah!”) combine with a destructive self-hatred (4.6.124–30). All these inversions and polarizations are subsumed in the inversion of the word “natural.” Edmund is the “natural” son of Gloucester, meaning literally that he is illegitimate. Figuratively, he therefore represents a violation of traditional moral order. In appearance he is smooth and plausible, but in reality he is an archdeceiver like the Vice in a morality play, a superb actor who boasts to the audience in soliloquy of his protean villainy. “Nature” is Edmund’s goddess, and by this he means something like a naturalistic universe in which the race goes to the swiftest and in which conscience, morality, and religion are empty myths. Whereas Lear invokes Nature as a goddess who will punish ungrateful daughters and defend rejected fathers (1.4.274–88) and whereas Gloucester believes in a cosmic correspondence between eclipses of the moon or sun and mutinous discords among people (1.2.106–17), Edmund scoffs at all such metaphysical speculations. He spurns, in other words, the Boethian conception of a divine harmony uniting the cosmos and humankind, with humankind at the center of the universe. As a rationalist, Edmund echoes Jacobean disruptions of the older world order in politics and religion as well as in science. He is Machiavellian, an atheist, and Epicurean—everything inimical to traditional Elizabethan ideals of order. To him, “natural” means precisely what Lear and Gloucester call “unnatural.” His creed provides the play with its supreme test. Which definition of “natural” is true? Does heaven exist, and will it let Edmund and the other villainous persons get away with their evil? The question is frequently asked, but the answers are ambiguous. “If you do love old men,” Lear implores the gods, “if your sweet sway / Allow obedience, if you yourselves are old, / Make it your cause” (2.4.191–3). His exhortations mount into frenzied rant, until finally the heavens do send down a terrible storm— on Lear himself. Witnesses agree that the absence of divine order in the universe would have the gravest consequences. “If that the heavens do not their visible spirits / Send quickly down to tame these vile offenses,” says MAlbany of Lear’s ordeal, “It will come, / Humanity must prey on itself, / Like monsters of the deep” Eperforce (4.2.47–51). And Cornwall’s servants (in a passage missLing from the Folio text) have perceived earlier the dire implications of their masters’ evil deeds. “I’ll never care Hwhat wickedness I do, / If this man come to good,” says Oone, and his fellow agrees: “If she [Regan] live long, / And in the end meet the old course of death, / Women will all Rturn monsters” (3.7.102–5). Yet these servants do, in fact, their own best instincts, turning on Cornwall and Nobey ministering to Gloucester despite danger to themselves. , Similarly, Albany abandons his mild attempts to conciliate his domineering wife and instead uses his power for good. Cordelia’s ability to forgive and cherish her father, Mand Edgar’s comparable ministering to Gloucester, give the lie to Edmund’s “natural” or amoral view of humanI ity; a few people, at least, are capable of charity, even when does not serve their own material self-interest. ConCitversely, the play suggests that villainy will at last destroy Hitself, and not simply because the gods are just; Albany’s insistence that “This shows you are above, / You Ahopeful justicers” (4.2.79–80) may be a little more than wishful Ethinking, to be undercut by some fresh disaster, but at least the insatiable ambitions of Edmund, Goneril, Regan, LCornwall, and Oswald do lead to their violent deaths. Edmund’s belated attempt to save the life of Cordelia, though unsuccessful, suggests that this intelligent villain 7has at last begun to understand the great flaw in his natcreed and to see that, like Goneril and Regan, he 2uralistic has been consumed by his own lust. 0 Even with such reassurances that villainy will eventually undo itself, the devastation at the end of King Lear 7is so appalling that our questions about justice remain Bfinally unanswered. To ask the question “Who must pay for Lear’s self-knowledge?” is to remind ourselves that Uwomen must often die in Shakespeare’s tragedies so that men may learn, and to perceive even further that, in the absurdist world of Lear, the Cartesian logic of cause and effect and poetic justice simply will not account for all that we long to understand. As Roland Barthes well expresses the matter in an essay on Racine, “tragedy is only a means of reclaiming human unhappiness, of subsuming it, thus justifying it under the form of necessity, or wisdom, and purification.” Tragedy cannot explain away the death of The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. KING LEAR Cordelia and the heartbreak of her father. The last tableau is a vision of doomsday, with Cordelia strangled, Lear broken and dying, and the “gored state” in such disarray that we cannot be sure what restoration can occur. The very question of political order is dwarfed by the enormity of the personal disaster of Lear and Cordelia. No one wishes longer life for the King: “He hates him / That would upon the rack of this tough world / Stretch him out longer.” He is dead; “The wonder is he hath endured so long” (5.3.319–26). Lear’s view of life’s terrible corruption, pronounced in his madness, seems confirmed in his end. Perhaps the only way in which this tragedy can reclaim so much unhappiness is to suggest that, given the incurable badness of the world, we can at least choose whether to attempt to be like Cordelia and Edgar (knowing what the price may be for such courage) or to settle for being our worst selves, like Edmund, Goneril, and Regan. Overwhelmed as we are by the testimonial before us of humankind’s vicious capacity for self-destruction, we are stirred nonetheless by the ability of some men and women to confront their fearful destiny with probity and stoic renunciation, adhering to what they believe to be good and expecting Fortune to give them absolutely nothing. The power of love, though learned too late to avert catastrophe, is at last discovered in its very defeat. King Lear has become a fable for our times, on stage, in film and television, and in fictional adaptations in novel form. The role of Lear has been a compelling one for so many great Shakespearean actors, including Philip Kemble, Henry Irving, Edwin Forrest, John Gielgud, Donald Wolfit, Donald Sinden, Brian Cox, Michael Gambon, Robert Stephens, and John Wood. Peter Brook’s film version of 1970, based on a stage production of 1962, with Paul Scofield as Lear, did much to equate the play’s bleak vision with that of our modern existential world. Stimulated by Jan Kott’s Shakespeare Our Contemporary (translated 1964), a post–World War II apocalyptic interpretation of Shakespeare from the perspective of an ideologically embattled eastern Europe, Brook unfolds a narrative of unrelieved disillusionment. The medium of film enables him to show what it would be like, for example, to have a hundred knights and all their followers descend on Albany’s castle at the same time, demanding to be fed and quarreling with the servants of Goneril and Albany; the din and confusion are overwhelming, to such an extent that one can see Goneril’s point in wanting to cut back on the King’s retinue. A barren, wintry landscape adds visual reinforcement to the savage energies of family and dynastic conflict. Grigori Kozintsev’s film of 1971, the work of a great Soviet director, sees the larger movements of the play in Marxist terms as the dialectical imperatives of political and social history; again, the medium of film makes it possible for Kozintsev to do what the stage can- M E L H O R N , M I C H A E L 7 2 0 7 B U not do, deploy huge casts of anonymous soldiers and workers as both victims and movers of social change. Laurence Olivier’s performance of Lear for Grenada Television (directed by Michael Elliott, 1983, Granada Video, 1984) came at the very end of Olivier’s life, as his climactic and final role; his interpretation is deeply enhanced by one’s perception that the actor is literally dying of cancer. Olivier, weakened but determined, had to be helped through the rigors of the screening, with the result that his Lear is tender, vulnerable, frail, though capable of the outbursts of rage that often come with advanced age. His King Lear is about the approach of death. Akira Kurosawa, in his epic Ran (1985), chose a more radical adaptation, that of telling a story of a Japanese warlord and his three sons, one of them (like Cordelia) dear but misunderstood, the others treacherous. One of their wives (the Lady Kaede) turns out to be another Edmund, Goneril, Regan, and Lady Macbeth all combined in one, fiercely and murderously determined that her husband succeed by whatever means possible. Kurosawa’s vision of evil in the human heart is meant to be terrifying, and it is. The Royal National Theatre production of King Lear won several awards for Best Actor (Ian Holm as Lear) and Best Director (Richard Eyre), and is available on video from the BBC and Mobil Masterpiece Theatre (1998). In fiction, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres (1991) features a similar transposition, in this case to a midwestern American farm run by an aging farmer who transfers his land to his daughters and then sinks into alcoholism and insanity as two daughters squabble over their inheritance and end up losing everything, including their husbands, while their sister Caroline (Cordelia), unwilling to take part in the dividing of the farm, tries unsuccessfully as a lawyer to have the property restored to her father. Edward Bond’s stage play called Lear (1971) accentuated King Lear’s already formidable bleakness by adding to its cruelty and violence; in it, war became a never-ending cycle of repression and escalating oppression. In these varied reworkings, we see the remarkable malleability of King Lear as an endlessly fascinating subject for new historicist, cultural materialist, deconstructive, and feminist readings that open up topics of misogyny and patriarchy, political ideologies, and philosophical pessimism. King Lear exists in two early texts, the quarto of 1608 and the considerably changed Folio version of 1623. Similar disparities appear in Hamlet, Othello, Troilus and Cressida, Henry IV Part II, and a number of other plays, but the problem is especially acute in King Lear. Shakespeare must have had a hand in the revisions that led to the Folio text. It contains new material. At the same time, the quarto text contains passages not found in the Folio. The revisions may have resulted from a number of circumstances: cutting for performance (the play as it stands in The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 661 662 KING LEAR: 1.1 either version is too long to have been produced in its entirety on the Jacobean stage), censorship, errors in transcription, and still more. The Folio version does alter some matters especially having to do with the French invasion; characters like Albany appear in a different light. The very ending is changed as to which characters speak the concluding lines. Given these factors, many editions today present two or even three texts for the reader, or mark the text with brackets and other indicators of textual variation. This edition does not do so, though the textual notes do indicate the differences that occur. The reasons for choosing to present here the more traditional composite or eclectic text are these: King Lear’s textual variations between quarto and Folio are more extensive than in some other plays, but are not always different in kind, so that it is a distortion to treat this play alone as a multiple-text play. To choose either quarto or Folio is to lose important material that is unquestionably Shakespeare’s. To print two or even three versions is to add pages to an already weighty collection. And the presentation of multiple texts, or of a single text that is flagged with bracketed markers, also imposes on the reader a task of sorting out a complex and uncertain textual history that, however important ultimately in studying Shakespeare as a writer and as a reviser, is perhaps best left to subsequent investigation in a full-scale critical edition after one has absorbed the greatness of this play as a piece of writing for the theater. MThe present composite King Lear, based on the Folio text including the 300 or so lines found only in the first Ebut quarto along with some quarto readings where the Folio Lversion seems less textually reliable, is in a sense a compromise, but it is one that seems well suited to the purHposes of this present edition. O R N , M I C H A E ‫ﱸﱷﱶ‬ L King Lear 7 [Dramatis Personae KING LEAR GONERIL, REGAN, Lear’s daughters CORDELIA, Goneril’s husband Regan’s husband K I N G O F F R A N C E , Cordelia’s suitor and husband D U K E O F B U R G U N D Y, suitor to Cordelia D U K E O F A L B A N Y, D U K E O F C O R N WA L L , 2O S WA L D , Goneril’s steward 0A K N I G H T serving King Lear Lear’s F O O L 7C U R A N , in Gloucester’s household ENTLEMEN BGThree S E RVA N T S O L D M A N , a tenant of Gloucester UThree M E S S E N G E R S A GENTLEMAN E A R L O F K E N T, later disguised as Caius attending Cordelia as a Doctor Two C A P TA I N S EARL OF GLOUCESTER HERALD Gloucester’s son and heir, later disguised as poor Tom E D M U N D , Gloucester’s bastard son Knights, Gentlemen, Attendants, Servants, Officers, Soldiers, Trumpeters EDGAR, SCENE: Britain] The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 1–40 • 41–79 663 KING LEAR: 1.1 1.1 LEAR Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund. I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall. GLOUCESTER It did always seem so to us; but now in the division of the kingdom it appears not which of the dukes he values most, for equalities are so weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice of either’s moiety. KENT Is not this your son, my lord? GLOUCESTER His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge. I have so often blushed to acknowledge him that now I am brazed to’t. KENT I cannot conceive you. GLOUCESTER Sir, this young fellow’s mother could; whereupon she grew round-wombed and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault? KENT I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper. GLOUCESTER But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account. Though this knave came something saucily to the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.—Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund? EDMUND No, my lord. GLOUCESTER My lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honorable friend. EDMUND My services to Your Lordship. KENT I must love you, and sue to know you better. EDMUND Sir, I shall study deserving. GLOUCESTER He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again. The King is coming. KENT Sennet. Enter [one bearing a coronet, then] King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, and attendants. 1 2 5 6 7 9 M 11 E 12 L H 16 O 17 18 R 19 20 N 21 , 24 M I C 29 30 H 31 32 A 33 E L LEAR Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester. I shall, my liege. Exit. GLOUCESTER 1.1. Location: King Lear’s palace. 1 affected favored 2 Albany i.e., Scotland 5–7 equalities . . . moiety the shares balance so equally that close scrutiny cannot find advantage in either’s portion. 9 breeding raising, care. charge expense. 11 brazed hardened 12 conceive understand. (But Gloucester puns in the sense of “become pregnant.”) 16 fault (1) sin (2) loss of scent by the hounds. 17 issue (1) result (2) offspring 18 proper (1) excellent (2) handsome. 19 by order of law legitimate 19–20 some year about a year 20–1 account estimation. 21 knave young fellow. (Not said disapprovingly, though the word is ironic.) something somewhat 24 whoreson low fellow; suggesting bastardy, but (like knave above) used with affectionate condescension 29 services duty 30 sue petition, beg 31 study deserving strive to be worthy (of your esteem). 32 out i.e., abroad, absent 33.1 Sennet trumpet signal heralding a procession. one . . . then (This direction is from the quarto. The coronet is perhaps intended for Cordelia or her betrothed. A coronet signifies nobility below the rank of king.) 34 Attend Wait upon, usher ceremoniously 7 2 0 7 B U 34 Meantime we shall express our darker purpose. Give me the map there. [He takes a map.] Know that we have divided In three our kingdom; and ’tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths while we Unburdened crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall, And you, our no less loving son of Albany, We have this hour a constant will to publish Our daughters’ several dowers, that future strife May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy, Great rivals in our youngest daughter’s love, Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn And here are to be answered. Tell me, my daughters— Since now we will divest us both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state— Which of you shall we say doth love us most, That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge? Goneril, Our eldest born, speak first. 36 38 43 44 50 53 GONERIL Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare, No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor; As much as child e’er loved, or father found; A love that makes breath poor and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you. C O R D E L I A [aside] What shall Cordelia speak? Love and be silent. L E A R [indicating on map] Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, With shadowy forests and with champains riched, With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady. To thine and Albany’s issue Be this perpetual.—What says our second daughter, Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall? Speak. 56 59 60 64 65 REGAN I am made of that self mettle as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love; Only she comes too short, that I profess Myself an enemy to all other joys Which the most precious square of sense possesses, 36 we, our (The royal plural; also in lines 37–44, etc.) darker purpose undeclared intention. 38 fast firm 43 constant . . . publish firm resolve to proclaim 44 several individual 50 Interest of right or title to, possession of 53 Where . . . challenge where both natural affection and merit claim our bounty as its due. 56 space, and liberty possession of land, and freedom of action 59 found i.e., found himself to be loved 60 breath . . . unable utterance impoverished and speech inadequate. 64 shadowy shady. champains riched fertile plains 65 plenteous . . . meads abundant rivers bordered with wide meadows 69 that self mettle that same spirited temperament 70 prize . . . worth value myself as her equal (in love for you). (Prize suggests “price.”) 71 names . . . love describes my love in action 72 that in that 74 Which . . . possesses which the most delicately sensitive part of my nature can enjoy The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 69 70 71 72 74 664 80–122 • 123–161 KING LEAR: 1.1 And find I am alone felicitate In your dear Highness’ love. C O R D E L I A [aside] Then poor Cordelia! And yet not so, since I am sure my love’s More ponderous than my tongue. 75 78 LEAR To thee and thine hereditary ever Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom, No less in space, validity, and pleasure Than that conferred on Goneril.—Now, our joy, Although our last and least, to whose young love The vines of France and milk of Burgundy Strive to be interessed, what can you say to draw A third more opulent than your sisters’? Speak. CORDELIA Nothing, my lord. LEAR Nothing? CORDELIA Nothing. 81 83 84 85 LEAR Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again. CORDELIA Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love Your Majesty According to my bond, no more nor less. 93 LEAR How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little, Lest you may mar your fortunes. CORDELIA Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, loved me. I Return those duties back as are right fit, Obey you, love you, and most honor you. Why have my sisters husbands if they say They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed, That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and duty. Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, To love my father all. 97 100 101 LEAR But goes thy heart with this? Ay, my good lord. LEAR So young, and so untender? CORDELIA So young, my lord, and true. CORDELIA 75 felicitate made happy 78 ponderous weighty 81 validity value. pleasure pleasing features 83 least youngest 84 vines vineyards. milk pastures (?) 85 be interessed be affiliated, establish a claim, be admitted as to a privilege. draw win 93 bond filial obligation 97 right fit proper and fitting 100 all exclusively, and with all of themselves. Haply Perhaps, with luck 101 plight pledge in marriage 110 mysteries secret rites. Hecate goddess of witchcraft and the moon 111 operation influence. orbs planets and stars 112 From whom under whose influence 114 Propinquity . . . blood close kinship, and rights and duties entailed in blood ties CL E A R The bow is bent and drawn. Make from the shaft. HK E N T Let it fall rather, though the fork invade A The region of my heart. Be Kent unmannerly Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man? E When Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak L When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state, And in thy best consideration check This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment, LEAR Let it be so! Thy truth then be thy dower! For, by the sacred radiance of the sun, The mysteries of Hecate and the night, By all the operation of the orbs From whom we do exist and cease to be, Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity, and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee from this forever. The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation messes To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom Be as well neighbored, pitied, and relieved As thou my sometime daughter. KENT Good my liege— LEAR Peace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I loved her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery. [To Cordelia] Hence, and avoid my sight!— So be my grave my peace, as here I give M Her father’s heart from her. Call France. Who stirs? Call Burgundy. [Exit one.] E Cornwall and Albany, my two daughters’ dowers digest the third. L With Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. H I do invest you jointly with my power, Preeminence, and all the large effects O That troop with majesty. Ourself by monthly course, With reservation of an hundred knights R By you to be sustained, shall our abode with you by due turns. Only we shall retain N Make The name and all th’addition to a king. , The sway, revenue, execution of the rest, Belovèd sons, be yours, which to confirm, This coronet part between you. KENT Royal Lear, M Whom I have ever honored as my king, as my father, as my master followed, I Loved As my great patron thought on in my prayers— 110 111 112 114 7 2116 this this time forth. Scythian (Scythians were famous in antiqfor savagery.) 117 makes . . . messes makes meals of his chil0uity dren or parents 119 neighbored helped in a neighborly way sometime former 123 set my rest rely wholly. (A phrase from a 7120 game of cards, meaning “to stake all.”) 124 nursery nursing, care. get out of 125 So . . . peace, as As I hope to rest peacefully in Bavoid my grave 126 Who stirs? i.e., Jump to it; don’t just stand there. 128 digest assimilate, incorporate 129 Let . . . her Let pride, which Ushe calls plain speaking, be her dowry and get her a husband. 116 117 119 120 123 124 125 126 128 129 131 132 133 136 137 139 143 144 149 150 151 152 131 effects outward shows 132 troop with accompany, serve. Ourself (The royal “we.”) 133 With reservation of reserving to myself the right to be attended by 136 th’addition the honors and prerogatives 137 sway sovereign authority 139 coronet (Perhaps Lear gestures toward this coronet that was to have symbolized Cordelia’s dowry and marriage, hands it to his sons-in-law, or actually attempts to divide it.) 143 Make from Get out of the way of 144 fall strike. fork barbed head of an arrow 149 To . . . bound Loyalty demands frankness 150 Reserve thy state Retain your royal authority 151 And . . . check and with wise deliberation restrain 152 Answer . . . judgment I wager my life on my judgment that The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 162–200 • 201–242 Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those emptyhearted whose low sounds Reverb no hollowness. LEAR Kent, on thy life, no more. He’ll shape his old course in a country new. KENT Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift, Or whilst I can vent clamor from my throat I’ll tell thee thou dost evil. LEAR Hear me, recreant, on thine allegiance hear me! That thou hast sought to make us break our vows, Which we durst never yet, and with strained pride To come betwixt our sentence and our power, Which nor our nature nor our place can bear, Our potency made good, take thy reward. Five days we do allot thee for provision To shield thee from disasters of the world, And on the sixth to turn thy hated back Upon our kingdom. If on the tenth day following Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions, The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter, This shall not be revoked. KENT Fare thee well, King. Sith thus thou wilt appear, Freedom lives hence and banishment is here. [To Cordelia] The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, That justly think’st and hast most rightly said! [To Regan and Goneril] And your large speeches may your deeds approve, That good effects may spring from words of love. Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu. 155 Reverb no hollowness do not reverberate like a hollow drum, insincerely. 156–7 My . . . wage I never regarded my life other than as a pledge to hazard in warfare 158 motive that which prompts me to act. 160 The true . . . eye i.e., the means to enable you to see better. (Blank means “the white center of the target,” or, “the true direct aim,” as in “point-blank,” traveling in a straight line.) 164 vassal i.e., wretch. Miscreant (Literally, infidel, heretic; hence, villain, rascal.) 170 recreant traitor 171 That In that, since 172 strained excessive 173 To . . . power i.e., to block my power to command and judge 174 Which . . . place which neither my temperament nor my office as king 175 Our . . . good my power enacted, demonstrated 180 trunk body 183 Sith Since 187 your . . . approve may your deeds confirm your speeches with their vast claims 190 GLOUCESTER 156 157 158 KENT See better, Lear, and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye. LEAR Now, by Apollo— KENT Now, by Apollo, King, Thou swear’st thy gods in vain. LEAR Oh, vassal! Miscreant! [Laying his hand on his sword.] A L B A N Y, C O R N WA L L Dear sir, forbear. Exit. Flourish. Enter Gloucester, with France and Burgundy; attendants. 155 KENT My life I never held but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being motive. LEAR Out of my sight! 665 KING LEAR: 1.1 160 M E 164 L H O R N 170 , 171 172 173 M I C H 180 A E 183 L 174 175 7 2 187 0 7 B U Here’s France and Burgundy, my noble lord. My lord of Burgundy, We first address toward you, who with this king Hath rivaled for our daughter. What in the least Will you require in present dower with her Or cease your quest of love? BURGUNDY Most royal Majesty, I crave no more than hath Your Highness offered, Nor will you tender less. LEAR Right noble Burgundy, When she was dear to us we did hold her so, But now her price is fallen. Sir, there she stands. If aught within that little-seeming substance, Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced, And nothing more, may fitly like Your Grace, She’s there, and she is yours. BURGUNDY I know no answer. LEAR 193 194 198 199 201 202 203 LEAR Will you, with those infirmities she owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate, Dowered with our curse and strangered with our oath, Take her, or leave her? BURGUNDY Pardon me, royal sir. Election makes not up in such conditions. 205 207 209 LEAR Then leave her, sir, for by the power that made me, I tell you all her wealth. [To France] For you, great King, I would not from your love make such a stray To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you T’avert your liking a more worthier way Than on a wretch whom Nature is ashamed Almost t’acknowledge hers. FRANCE This is most strange, That she whom even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, The best, the dearest, should in this trice of time Commit a thing so monstrous to dismantle So many folds of favor. Sure her offense Must be of such unnatural degree That monsters it, or your forevouched affection Fall into taint, which to believe of her 190 shape . . . course follow his traditional plainspoken ways 190.1 Flourish trumpet fanfare used for the entrance or exit of important persons 193 address address myself 194 rivaled competed. in the least at the lowest 198 tender offer 199 so i.e., dear, beloved and valued at a high price 201 little-seeming substance one who seems substantial but whose substance is, in fact, little, or, one who refuses to flatter 202 pieced added, joined 203 like please 205 owes owns 207 strangered disowned 209 Election . . . conditions No choice is possible under such conditions. 211 tell you (1) inform you of (2) enumerate for you. For As for 212 make such a stray stray so far 213 To as to. beseech I beseech 214 T’avert your liking to turn your affections 218 argument theme 219 trice moment 220 to as to 223 monsters it makes it monstrous 223–4 or . . . taint or else the affection for her you have hitherto affirmed must fall into suspicion The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 211 212 213 214 218 219 220 223 224 666 243–286 • 287–326 KING LEAR: 1.1 Must be a faith that reason without miracle Should never plant in me. CORDELIA I yet beseech Your Majesty— If for I want that glib and oily art To speak and purpose not, since what I well intend I’ll do’t before I speak—that you make known It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness, No unchaste action or dishonored step That hath deprived me of your grace and favor, But even for want of that for which I am richer: A still-soliciting eye and such a tongue That I am glad I have not, though not to have it Hath lost me in your liking. LEAR Better thou Hadst not been born than not t’have pleased me better. LEAR 228 229 231 234 235 FRANCE Is it but this? A tardiness in nature Which often leaves the history unspoke That it intends to do?—My lord of Burgundy, What say you to the lady? Love’s not love When it is mingled with regards that stands Aloof from th’entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry. B U R G U N D Y [to Lear] Royal King, Give but that portion which yourself proposed, And here I take Cordelia by the hand, Duchess of Burgundy. 240 243 244 LEAR Nothing. I have sworn. I am firm. [to Cordelia] I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father That you must lose a husband. CORDELIA Peace be with Burgundy! Since that respects of fortune are his love, I shall not be his wife. BURGUNDY 252 FRANCE Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poor, Most choice, forsaken, and most loved, despised, Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon, Be it lawful I take up what’s cast away. [He takes her hand.] Gods, gods! ’Tis strange that from their cold’st neglect My love should kindle to inflamed respect.— Thy dowerless daughter, King, thrown to my chance, Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France. Not all the dukes of wat’rish Burgundy Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.— Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind. Thou losest here, a better where to find. 228 for I want because I lack 229 purpose not not intend to do what I say 231 foulness immorality 234 for which for lack of which 235 still-soliciting ever begging 240 history tale, narrative 243–4 regards . . . point irrelevant considerations. 252 Since . . . fortune Since concern for wealth and position 257 Be it lawful if it be lawful that 258 from . . . neglect out of the cold neglect of the gods 259 inflamed respect ardent regard. 260 chance lot 262 wat’rish (1) well-watered with rivers (2) feeble, watery 263 unprized not appreciated. (With perhaps a sense also of “priceless.”) 264 though unkind though they have behaved unnaturally. 265 here this place. where place elsewhere 257 258 259 260 262 263 264 265 Thou hast her, France. Let her be thine, for we Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see That face of hers again. Therefore begone Without our grace, our love, our benison. Come, noble Burgundy. Flourish. Exeunt [all but France, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia]. FRANCE Bid farewell to your sisters. 269 CORDELIA Ye jewels of our father, with washed eyes Cordelia leaves you. I know you what you are, And like a sister am most loath to call Your faults as they are named. Love well our father. To your professèd bosoms I commit him. But yet, alas, stood I within his grace, I would prefer him to a better place. So, farewell to you both. M E L HR E G A N O Prescribe not us our duty. GONERIL Let your study R Be to content your lord, who hath received you Fortune’s alms. You have obedience scanted, N At And well are worth the want that you have wanted. DELIA , C O RTime shall unfold what plighted cunning hides; Who covers faults, at last shame them derides. Well may you prosper! MF R A N C E Come, my fair Cordelia. France and Cordelia. I G O N E R I L Sister, it is not little Exeunt I have to say of what most appertains to us both. I think our father will C nearly hence tonight. HR E G A N That’s most certain, and with you; next month with us. AG O N E R I L You see how full of changes his age is; the we have made of it hath not been little. E observation He always loved our sister most, and with what poor he hath now cast her off appears too grossly. LR E Gjudgment AN ’Tis the infirmity of his age. Yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself. GONERIL The best and soundest of his time hath been 7 but rash. Then must we look from his age to receive alone the imperfections of long-ingraffed condi2 not tion, but therewithal the unruly waywardness that inand choleric years bring with them. 0R E Gfirm AN Such unconstant starts are we like to have from 7 him as this of Kent’s banishment. 272 274 275 276 278 282 283 284 285 295 298 299 300 301 303 B 269 benison blessing. 272 washed tear-washed 274 like a sister i.e., Ubecause I am your sister 275 as . . . named by their true names. 276 professèd bosoms publicly avowed love 278 prefer advance, recommend 282 At . . . alms as a pittance or dole from Fortune. 283 And well . . . wanted i.e., and well deserve to be without the dowry and the parental affection that you have both lacked and flouted. 284–5 Time . . . derides Time will bring to light what cunning attempts to conceal as if in the folds of a cloak; those who hide their faults may do so for a while, but in time they will be shamed and derided. 295 grossly obviously. 298–9 The best . . . rash Even in the prime of his life, he was stormy and unpredictable. 300–1 longingraffed condition long-implanted habit 301 therewithal added thereto 303 unconstant starts impulsive outbursts. like likely The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 327–362 • 363–408 667 KING LEAR: 1.2 There is further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together. If our father carry authority with such disposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us. REGAN We shall further think of it. GONERIL We must do something, and i’th’ heat. Exeunt. GONERIL 305 GLOUCESTER 306 letter? EDMUND 308 GLOUCESTER ✤ 1.2 Enter Bastard [Edmund, with a letter]. EDMUND Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound. Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base? When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam’s issue? Why brand they us With base? With baseness? Bastardy? Base, base? Who in the lusty stealth of nature take More composition and fierce quality Than doth within a dull, stale, tirèd bed Go to th’ creating a whole tribe of fops Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well, then, Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund As to th’ legitimate. Fine word, “legitimate”! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper. Now, gods, stand up for bastards! Enter Gloucester. GLOUCESTER Kent banished thus? And France in choler parted? And the King gone tonight? Prescribed his power, Confined to exhibition? All this done Upon the gad? Edmund, how now? What news? EDMUND So please Your Lordship, none. [Putting up the letter.] 305 compliment ceremony 306 hit agree 307–8 If . . . offend us If our father continues to boss us around with his accustomed imperiousness, this most recent display of willfulness will do us nothing but harm. 310 i’th’ heat i.e., while the iron is hot. 1.2. Location: The Earl of Gloucester’s house. 1 Nature i.e., the sanction that governs the material world through mechanistic amoral forces 3 Stand . . . custom submit to the vexatious injustice of convention 4 The curiosity of nations arbitrary social gradations 5 For that because. moonshines months 6 Lag of lagging behind 7 dimensions proportions. compact knit together, fitted 8 generous noble, refined 9 honest chaste 11–12 Who . . . quality Whose begetting in the sexual act both requires and engenders a fuller mixture and more energetic force 14 fops fools 15 Got begotten 19 speed succeed, prosper 20 invention thrive scheme prosper 24 tonight last night. Prescribed Limited 25 exhibition an allowance, pension. 26 Upon the gad suddenly, as if pricked by a gad or spur. I know no news, my lord. What paper were you reading? EDMUND Nothing, my lord. GLOUCESTER No? What needed then that terrible dispatch of it into your pocket? The quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let’s see. Come, if it be nothing I shall not need spectacles. EDMUND I beseech you, sir, pardon me. It is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o’erread; and for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your o’erlooking. GLOUCESTER Give me the letter, sir. EDMUND I shall offend either to detain or give it. The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame. GLOUCESTER Let’s see, let’s see. [Edmund gives the letter.] EDMUND I hope for my brother’s justification he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue. G L O U C E S T E R (reads) “This policy and reverence of age makes the world bitter to the best of our times, keeps our fortunes from us till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny, who sways not as it hath power but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue forever and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.” Hum! Conspiracy! “Sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue.” My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? A heart and brain to breed it in? When came you to this? Who brought it? EDMUND It was not brought me, my lord; there’s the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet. GLOUCESTER You know the character to be your brother’s? EDMUND If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but in respect of that I would fain think it were not. GLOUCESTER It is his. EDMUND It is his hand, my lord, but I hope his heart is not in the contents. GLOUCESTER Has he never before sounded you in this business? EDMUND Never, my lord. But I have heard him oft maintain it to be fit that, sons at perfect age and fathers declined, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue. 307 310 M 1 E L34 5 H 6 7 O 8 R 9 N 11 12 , 14 15 M I 19 C 20 H A E L 24 25 26 7 2 0 7 B U Why so earnestly seek you to put up that 33–4 terrible dispatch fearful quick disposal 38 for as for 40 o’erlooking perusal. 43 to blame (The Folio reading, “too blame,” “too blameworthy to be shown,” may be correct.) 46 essay or taste assay, test 47 policy and reverence of policy of reverencing 48 the best . . . times the best years of our lives, i.e., our youth 50 idle and fond useless and foolish 51 who sways which rules 52 suffered permitted. 59 to this upon this (letter). 61 casement window 62 closet private room. 63 character handwriting 65 matter contents 66 in . . . that considering what the contents are. fain gladly 74 fit fitting, appropriate. perfect age full maturity 75 declined having become feeble The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 33 34 38 40 43 46 47 48 50 51 52 59 61 62 63 65 66 74 75 668 409–447 • 448–480 KING LEAR: 1.2 Oh, villain, villain! His very opinion in the letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! Worse than brutish! Go, sirrah, seek him. I’ll apprehend him. Abominable villain! Where is he? EDMUND I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you should run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honor and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him that he hath writ this to feel my affection to Your Honor, and to no other pretense of danger. GLOUCESTER Think you so? EDMUND If Your Honor judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction, and that without any further delay than this very evening. GLOUCESTER He cannot be such a monster— EDMUND Nor is not, sure. GLOUCESTER To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him. Heaven and earth! Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you. Frame the business after your own wisdom. I would unstate myself to be in a due resolution. EDMUND I will seek him, sir, presently, convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal. GLOUCESTER These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us. Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and 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. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there’s son against father. The King falls from bias of nature; there’s father against child. We have seen the best of our time. Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves. Find out this villain, Edmund; it shall lose thee nothing. Do it carefully. And the noble and truehearted Kent banished! His offense, honesty! ’Tis strange. Exit. EDMUND This is the excellent foppery of the world, that GLOUCESTER 77 villain vile wretch, diabolical schemer 78 Abhorred Abhorrent. detested hated and hateful 79 sirrah (Form of address used to inferiors or children.) 84 run a certain course proceed with safety and certainty. where whereas 87–8 pawn down stake 88 feel feel out 89–90 pretense of danger dangerous purpose. 92 meet fitting, proper 93–4 by an . . . satisfaction satisfy yourself as to the truth by what you hear 100 wind me into him insinuate yourself into his confidence. (Me is used colloquially.) Frame Arrange 101 after your own wisdom as you think best. 101–2 I would . . . resolution I would give up my wealth and rank to know the truth, have my doubts resolved. 103 presently immediately. convey manage 105 withal therewith. 106 late recent 107 the wisdom of nature natural science 109 sequent effects i.e., devastating consequences. 114 bias of nature natural inclination 118 lose thee nothing i.e., earn you a reward. 121 foppery foolishness 77 78 79 84 87 88 89 90 92 93 94 100 101 102 103 105 106 107 109 114 118 121 when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeits of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence, and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon’s tail and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous. Fut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar— 122 123 124 126 129 130 131 132 133 134 M E L Enter Edgar. H and pat he comes like the catastrophe of the old 137 comedy. My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh O like Tom o’ Bedlam.—Oh, these eclipses do portend 139 140 these divisions! Fa, sol, la, mi. RE D G A R How now, brother Edmund, what serious are you in? NE D Mcontemplation UND I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read , this other day, what should follow these eclipses. 144 Do you busy yourself with that? I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, as of unnaturalness between the child and M the parent, death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amidivisions in state, menaces and maledictions I ties, against king and nobles, needless diffidences, banishC ment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what. HE D G A R How long have you been a sectary astronomical? AE D M U N D Come, come, when saw you my father last? night gone by. EEE DD MG AURN D TheSpake you with him? LE D G A R Ay, two hours together. EDMUND Parted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him by word nor countenance? EDGAR None at all. EDGAR EDMUND 146 147 150 151 153 154 160 7 2122–3 surfeits . . . behavior consequences of our own overindulgence 124 on by 126 treachers traitors. spherical predominance astro0logical determinism, because a certain planet was ascendant at the of our birth 129 divine supernatural 130 goatish lecherous 7hour 130–1 on the charge to the responsibility 131–2 compounded . . . tail had sex with my mother under the constellation Draco BDragon’s (not one of the regular signs of the zodiac), or under the descending point at which the moon’s orbit intersects with the ecliptic or apparUent orbit of the sun (when an eclipse might occur) 133 Ursa Major the big bear or dipper—not one of the regular signs of the zodiac 134 Fut i.e., ’Sfoot, by Christ’s foot. that what 137 pat on cue. catastrophe conclusion, resolution (of a play) 139 Tom o’ Bedlam a lunatic patient of Bethlehem Hospital in London turned out to beg for his bread. 140 divisions social and family conflicts. (But with a musical sense also of florid variations on a theme, thus prompting Edmund’s singing.) 144 this other day the other day 146 promise assure 146–7 succeed unhappily follow unluckily 150 needless diffidences groundless distrust of others 151 dissipation of cohorts breaking up of military companies, large-scale desertions 153–4 sectary astronomical believer in astrology. 160 countenance demeanor. The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 481–521 • 522–551 669 KING LEAR: 1.4 Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended him, and at my entreaty forbear his presence until some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure, which at this instant so rageth in him that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay. EDGAR Some villain hath done me wrong. EDMUND That’s my fear. I pray you, have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak. Pray ye, go! There’s my key. [He gives a key.] If you do stir abroad, go armed. EDGAR Armed, brother? EDMUND Brother, I advise you to the best. I am no honest man if there be any good meaning toward you. I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it. Pray you, away. EDGAR Shall I hear from you anon? 169 Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one, Not to be overruled. Idle old man, That still would manage those authorities That he hath given away! Now, by my life, Old fools are babes again, and must be used With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abused. Remember what I have said. O S WA L D Well, madam. 170 GONERIL EDMUND 163 164 166 167 172 And let his knights have colder looks among you. What grows of it, no matter. Advise your fellows so. I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak. I’ll write straight to my sister To hold my very course. Prepare for dinner. Exeunt. M E 177 ✤ L 178 179 H 1.4 Enter Kent [disguised]. O EDMUND KENT I do serve you in this business. Exit [Edgar]. R If but as well I other accents borrow A credulous father and a brother noble, can my speech diffuse, my good intent N That Whose nature is so far from doing harms May carry through itself to that full issue That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty For which I razed my likeness. Now, banished Kent, , 186 My practices ride easy. I see the business. Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit. All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit. 187 Exit. ✤ 1.3 Enter Goneril, and [Oswald, her] steward. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool? O S WA L D Ay, madam. GONERIL By day and night he wrongs me! Every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other That sets us all at odds. I’ll not endure it. His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle. When he returns from hunting I will not speak with him. Say I am sick. If you come slack of former services You shall do well; the fault of it I’ll answer. [Horns within.] O S WA L D He’s coming, madam. I hear him. GONERIL GONERIL Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows. I’d have it come to question. If he distaste it, let him to my sister, 163 forbear his presence avoid meeting him 164 qualified moderated 166 with . . . person with the harmful effect of your presence; or, even if there were injury done to you 167 allay be allayed. 169–70 have . . . forbearance keep a wary distance 172 fitly at a fit time. my lord our father 177 meaning intention 178 but faintly only with a faint impression 179 image and horror horrid reality 186 practices plots. the business i.e., how my plots should proceed. 187 wit cleverness. 188 meet justifiable. fit to my purpose. 1.3. Location: The Duke of Albany’s palace. 5 crime offense 10 come slack fall short 11 answer be answerable for. 14 come to question be made an issue. 15 distaste dislike 188 M I C H A E5 L 7 11 2 0 7 14 B 15 U 10 If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned, So may it come thy master, whom thou lov’st, Shall find thee full of labors. 17 18 21 26 27 1 2 3 4 6 Horns within. Enter Lear, [Knights,] and attendants. Let me not stay a jot for dinner. Go get it ready. [Exit an Attendant.] [To Kent] How now, what art thou? KENT A man, sir. LEAR What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us? KENT I do profess to be no less than I seem: to serve him truly that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish. LEAR What art thou? KENT A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the King. LEAR 17 Idle Foolish 18 manage those authorities exercise those prerogatives 21 With . . . abused with rebukes in place of flattering attentiveness, when such flattery is seen to be taken advantage of. 26 occasions opportunities for taking offense 27 speak speak bluntly. straight immediately 1.4. Location: The Duke of Albany’s palace still. The sense of time is virtually continuous. 1 as well i.e., as well as I have disguised myself by means of costume 2 diffuse render confused or indistinct 3–4 May . . . likeness may achieve the desired result for which I scraped off my beard and erased my outward appearance. 6 come come to pass that 8 stay wait 8.1 Attendant (This attendant may be a knight; certainly the one who speaks at line 50 is a knight.) 11 What . . . profess? What is your special calling? (But Kent puns in his answer on profess meaning to “claim.”) 15 honest honorable. converse associate 16 judgment i.e., God’s judgment. choose i.e., choose but to fight 17 eat no fish i.e., eat a manly diet (?), be a good Protestant (?). The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 8 11 15 16 17 670 552–598 • 598–636 KING LEAR: 1.4 If thou be’st as poor for a subject as he’s for a king, thou’rt poor enough. What wouldst thou? KENT Service. LEAR Who wouldst thou serve? KENT You. LEAR Dost thou know me, fellow? KENT No, sir, but you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master. LEAR What’s that? KENT Authority. LEAR What services canst do? KENT I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly. That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence. LEAR How old art thou? KENT Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for anything. I have years on my back forty-eight. LEAR Follow me; thou shalt serve me. If I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.— Dinner, ho, dinner! Where’s my knave, my fool? Go you and call my fool hither. [Exit one.] LEAR 27 32 33 37 46 [Enter Knight.] How now? Where’s that mongrel? He says, my lord, your daughter is not well. LEAR Why came not the slave back to me when I called him? KNIGHT Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner, he would not. LEAR He would not? KNIGHT My lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my judgment Your Highness is not entertained with that ceremonious affection as you were wont. There’s a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependents as in the Duke himself also and your daughter. LEAR Ha? Say’st thou so? KNIGHT I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken, for my duty cannot be silent when I think Your Highness wronged. LEAR Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception. I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous KNIGHT 27 countenance face and bearing 32 keep honest counsel respect confidences 32–3 curious ornate, elaborate 37 to love as to love 46 clodpoll blockhead 53 roundest bluntest 57 entertained treated 60 general dependents servants generally 66 rememberest remind 66–7 conception idea, thought. 67 faint halfhearted 68–9 jealous curiosity overscrupulous regard for matters of etiquette 69 71 Enter steward [Oswald]. Enter steward [Oswald]. You! You, sirrah, where’s my daughter? O S WA L D So please you— Exit. LEAR What says the fellow there? Call the clodpoll back. [Exit a knight.] Where’s my fool, ho? I think the world’s asleep. curiosity than as a very pretense and purpose of unkindness. I will look further into’t. But where’s my fool? I have not seen him this two days. KNIGHT Since my young lady’s going into France, sir, the Fool hath much pined away. LEAR No more of that. I have noted it well. Go you and tell my daughter I would speak with her. [Exit one.] Go you call hither my fool. [Exit one.] 53 57 60 66 67 68 Oh, you, sir, you, come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir? O S WA L D My lady’s father. ML E A R “My lady’s father”? My lord’s knave! You whoreson dog, you slave, you cur! EO S WA L D I am none of these, my lord, I beseech your LL E Apardon. R Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal? [He strikes Oswald.] H O S WA L D I’ll not be strucken, my lord. OK E N T Nor tripped neither, you base football player. [He trips up Oswald’s heels.] RL E A R I thank thee, fellow. Thou serv’st me, and I’ll love NK E Nthee. T Come, sir, arise, away! I’ll teach you differences. , Away, away! If you will measure your lubber’s length again, tarry; but away! Go to. Have you wisdom? So. [He pushes Oswald out.] LEAR Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee. There’s M earnest of thy service. [He gives Kent money.] 83 84 85 88 89 90 92 I Enter Fool. 93 CF O O L Let me hire him too. Here’s my coxcomb. [Offering Kent his cap.] HL E A R How now, my pretty knave, how dost thou? F O O L [to Kent] Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. 95 AK E N T Why, Fool? L Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor. EF O ONay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou’lt 98 L catch cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb. Why, this 10099 fellow has banished two on ’s daughters and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.—How now, nuncle? 7 Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters. LEAR Why, my boy? 101 102 2 0 7 69 very pretense true intention 71 this these 83 bandy looks Bexchange glances (in such a way as to imply that Oswald and Lear are social equals) 84 strucken struck 85 football (A raucous street Ugame played by the lower classes.) 88 differences distinctions in rank. 89–90 If . . . again i.e., If you want to be laid out flat again, you clumsy ox 90 Go to (An expression of impatience or anger.) Have you wisdom? i.e., Wise up. 92 earnest of a first payment for 93 coxcomb fool’s cap, crested with a red comb. 95 you were best you had better 98–9 an . . . shortly i.e., if you can’t play along with those in power, you’ll find yourself out in the cold. 100 banished (Paradoxically, by giving Goneril and Regan his kingdom, Lear has lost them, given them power over him.) on ’s of his 101 blessing i.e., bestowing Cordelia on France and saving her from the curse of insolent prosperity 102 nuncle (Contraction of “mine uncle,” the Fool’s way of addressing Lear.) The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 637–669 + 16(1-8) • 670 + 16(9-16)–704 If I gave them all my living, I’d keep my coxcombs myself. There’s mine; beg another of thy daughters. LEAR Take heed, sirrah—the whip. FOOL Truth’s a dog must to kennel. He must be whipped out, when the Lady Brach may stand by th’ fire and stink. LEAR A pestilent gall to me! FOOL Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech. LEAR Do. FOOL Mark it, nuncle: Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest, Lend less than thou owest, Ride more than thou goest, Learn more than thou trowest, Set less than thou throwest; Leave thy drink and thy whore, And keep in-a-door, And thou shalt have more Than two tens to a score. KENT This is nothing, Fool. FOOL Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer; you gave me nothing for’t. Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle? LEAR Why, no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing. F O O L [to Kent] Prithee, tell him; so much the rent of his land comes to. He will not believe a fool. LEAR A bitter fool! FOOL Dost know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet one? LEAR No, lad. Teach me. FOOL FOOL That lord that counseled thee To give away thy land, Come place him here by me; Do thou for him stand. The sweet and bitter fool Will presently appear: The one in motley here, The other found out there. 105 living property 105–6 keep my coxcombs (as proof of my folly) 106–7 beg . . . daughters i.e., beg for the coxcomb that you deserve for dealing with your daughters as you did. 110 Brach bitch hound (here likened to Goneril and Regan, who have been given favored places despite their reeking of dishonest flattery) 112 gall irritation, bitterness—literally, a painful swelling, or bile. (Lear is stung by the Fool’s gibe because it is so true.) 116 Have . . . showest don’t display your wealth ostentatiously 118 owest own 119 goest i.e., on foot. (Travel unostentatiously on horseback, not afoot.) 120 Learn i.e., listen to. trowest believe 121 Set . . . throwest don’t stake everything on a single throw 123 in-a-door indoors, at home 124–5 And . . . score and you will do better than break even (since a score equals two tens, or twenty). 127 ’tis . . . lawyer i.e., it is free— and useless—advice. (Lawyers, being proverbially mercenary, would not give good advice unless paid well.) 132–3 so . . . to (Because Lear has given away his land, he can collect no rent.) 134 bitter satirical 141 Do . . . stand take his place. 143 presently immediately 144 motley the parti-colored dress of the professional fool. (The Fool identifies himself as the sweet fool, Lear as the bitter fool who counseled himself to give away his kingdom.) 145 found out there discovered there. (The Fool points at Lear.) 671 KING LEAR: 1.4 Dost thou call me fool, boy? All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with. KENT This is not altogether fool, my lord. FOOL No, faith, lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on’t. And ladies too, they will not let me have all the fool to myself; they’ll be snatching. Nuncle, give me an egg and I’ll give thee two crowns. LEAR What two crowns shall they be? FOOL Why, after I have cut the egg i’th’ middle and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i’th’ middle and gav’st away both parts, thou bor’st thine ass on thy back o’er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gav’st thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipped that first finds it so. [Sings.] “Fools had ne’er less grace in a year, For wise men are grown foppish And know not how their wits to wear, Their manners are so apish.” LEAR When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah? FOOL I have used it, nuncle, e’er since thou mad’st thy daughters thy mothers; for when thou gav’st them the rod and putt’st down thine own breeches, [Sings] “Then they for sudden joy did weep, And I for sorrow sung, That such a king should play bo-peep And go the fools among.” Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie. I would fain learn to lie. LEAR An you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipped. FOOL I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou’lt have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o’ thing than a fool. And yet I would not be thee, nuncle. Thou hast pared thy wit o’ both sides and left nothing i’th’ middle. Here comes one o’ th’ parings. 105 LEAR 106 FOOL 107 110 112 116 M 118 E 119 120 L 121 H 123 124 O 125 R 127 N , 132 M I C H A E 141 L 143 133 134 144 151 153 156 157 159 161 162 163 164 165 166 169 174 178 Enter Goneril. 145 7 2 0 7 B U 150 LEAR How now, daughter? What makes that frontlet on? You are too much of late i’th’ frown. 150 No . . . let me i.e., Great persons at court will not let me monopolize folly; I am not altogether fool in the sense of being “all the fool there is” 151 a monopoly out a corner on the market. (The granting of monopolies was a common abuse under King James and Queen Elizabeth.) on’t of it. 153 snatching seizing their share (including sexual pleasure). 156–7 and eat . . . meat and have eaten the edible part 159 bor’st . . . dirt i.e., bore the ass instead of letting the ass bear you. 161–2 If . . . so If I speak like a fool in saying this, let the first person to discover the truth of this be whipped (since in this corrupt world those who speak truth are punished for doing so). 163–6 “Fools . . . apish” “Fools have never been so out of favor, for wise men foppishly trade places with the fools and no longer know how to show off their wit to advantage, they have grown so foolish in their manners.” 169 used practiced 174 bo-peep (A child’s game.) 178 An If 186 What . . . on? What is that frown doing on your forehead? The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 186 672 705–743 • 744–779 KING LEAR: 1.4 Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O without a figure. I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing. [To Goneril] Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum, He that keeps nor crust nor crumb, Weary of all, shall want some. [Pointing to Lear] That’s a shelled peascod. FOOL FOOL LEAR 190 I would learn that; for, by the marks of sovereignty, Knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded I had daughters. FOOL Which they will make an obedient father. LEAR Your name, fair gentlewoman? 195 196 197 GONERIL Not only, sir, this your all-licensed fool, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth In rank and not-to-be-endurèd riots. Sir, I had thought by making this well known unto you To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful, By what yourself too late have spoke and done, That you protect this course and put it on By your allowance; which if you should, the fault Would not scape censure, nor the redresses sleep Which in the tender of a wholesome weal Might in their working do you that offense, Which else were shame, that then necessity Will call discreet proceeding. FOOL For you know, nuncle, “The hedge sparrow fed the cuckoo so long That it had it head bit off by it young.” So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling. L E A R [to Goneril] Are you our daughter? 198 200 201 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 213 214 215 GONERIL I would you would make use of your good wisdom, Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away These dispositions which of late transport you From what you rightly are. FOOL May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee. 218 219 221 222 LEAR Does any here know me? This is not Lear. Does Lear walk thus, speak thus? Where are his eyes? 225 Either his notion weakens, or his discernings 226 Are lethargied—Ha! Waking? ’Tis not so. Who is it that can tell me who I am? 189–90 O without a figure zero, cipher of no value unless preceded by a digit. 195–6 He . . . some i.e., That person who, having grown weary of his possessions, gives all away, will find himself in need of part of what is gone. 196 want lack 197 shelled peascod shelled pea pod, empty of its contents. 198 all-licensed allowed to speak or act as he pleases 200 carp find fault 201 rank gross, excessive 203 safe certain 204 too late all too recently 205 put it on encourage it 206 allowance approval 207–11 nor . . . proceeding nor would the punishments lie dormant which, out of care for the common welfare, might prove unpleasant to you—proceedings that the stern necessity of the times will regard as prudent even if under normal circumstances they might seem shameful. 213 cuckoo a bird that lays its eggs in other birds’ nests 214 it head its head. it young i.e., the young cuckoo. (A cautionary fable about ungrateful children.) 215 darkling in the dark. 218 fraught freighted, provided 219 dispositions inclinations, moods 221–2 May . . . horse? i.e., May not even a fool see that matters are backwards when a daughter lectures her father? 222 Jug i.e., Joan. (The origin of this phrase is uncertain.) 225 notion intellectual power 225–6 or his . . . lethargied or his faculties are asleep 226 Waking? i.e., Am I really awake? Lear’s shadow. 189 229 230 231 232 GONERIL This admiration, sir, is much o’th’ savor Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you To understand my purposes aright. As you are old and reverend, should be wise. M Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires, Men so disordered, so debauched and bold E That this our court, infected with their manners, like a riotous inn. Epicurism and lust L Shows Makes it more like a tavern or a brothel H Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak For instant remedy. Be then desired, O By her that else will take the thing she begs, A little to disquantity your train, R And the remainders that shall still depend be such men as may besort your age, N To Which know themselves and you. Darkness and devils! , LEAR Saddle my horses! Call my train together! [Exit one.] Degenerate bastard, I’ll not trouble thee. Yet have I left a daughter. 234 235 237 239 241 243 244 246 247 248 249 250 MG O N E R I L strike my people, and your disordered rabble I You Make servants of their betters. C Enter Albany. HL E A R 255 Woe, that too late repents!—Oh, sir, are you come? A Is it your will? Speak, sir.—Prepare my horses. E Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend, [Exit one.] L More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child Than the sea monster! Pray, sir, be patient. L E A R [to Goneril] Detested kite, thou liest! 7 My train are men of choice and rarest parts, all particulars of duty know 2 That And in the most exact regard support 0 The worships of their name. Oh, most small fault, ALBANY 261 262 264 265 7 that i.e., who I am. marks of sovereignty outward and visible B229 evidence of being king 230–1 I should . . . daughters i.e., all these outward signs of sanity and status would seem to suggest (falsely) Uthat I am the king who had obedient daughters. 232 Which Whom 234 admiration (guise of) wonderment 235 other other of 237 should i.e., you should 239 Men . . . bold men so disorderly, so depraved and impudent 241 Shows appears. Epicurism Excess, hedonism 243 graced dignified 244 desired requested 246 disquantity your train diminish the number of your attendants 247 the remainders . . . depend those who remain to attend you 248 besort befit 249 Which . . . you servants who have proper self-knowledge and an awareness of how they should serve you. 250 train retinue 255 Woe, that Woe to the person who 261 kite bird of prey 262 parts qualities 264–5 And . . . name and with utter scrupulousness may uphold the honor of their reputation. The Necessary Shakespeare, Fourth Edition, by David Bevington. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. 780–822 • 823–863 How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show! Which, like an engine, wrenched my frame of nature From the fixed place, drew from my heart all love, And added to the gall. Oh, Lear, Lear, Lear! Beat at this gate [striking his head] that let thy folly in And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go, my people. [Exeunt some.] 267 268 269 271 ALBANY My lord, I am guiltless as I am ignorant Of what hath moved you. LEAR It may be so, my lord.— Hear, Nature, hear! Dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intend To make this creature fruitful! Into her womb convey sterility; Dry up in her the organs of increase, And from her derogate body never spring A babe to honor her! If she must teem, Create her child of spleen, that it may live And be a thwart disnatured torment to her! Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth, With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks, Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits To laughter and contempt, that she may feel How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is To have a thankless child! Away, away! Exit [with Kent and the rest of Lear’s followers]. ALBANY Now, gods that we adore, whereof comes this? GONERIL Never afflict yourself to know more of it, But let his disposition have that scope As dotage gives it. Enter Lear. LEAR What, fifty of my followers at a clap? Within a fortnight? ALBANY What’s the matter, sir? 267–8 Which . . . place which, like a powerful mechanical contrivance, wrenched my natural affection away from where it belonged 269 gall bitterness. 271 dear precious 279 derogate debased 280 teem produce offspring 281 spleen violent ill nature 282 thwart disnatured obstinate, perverse, and unnatural, unfilial 284 cadent cascading. fret wear away 285 benefits pleasures of motherhood 290 Never . . . know Don’t distress yourself by seeking to know 291 disposition humor, mood 292 As that 298 Should . . . them should seem to suggest that you are worth a king’s tears. Blasts and fogs Infectious blights and disease-bearing fogs 299 untented too de...
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Comparison of King Lear’s Daughters - Outline
Thesis statement: Goneril and Regan are the symbols of evil while Cordelia symbolizes the
good.
I)

Goneril and Regan: The sinister sisters deceive their father resulting to tragedy
in the kingdom.

II)

Cordelia dies as a sacrifice for good over evil.


Running head: COMPARISON OF KING LEAR’S DAUGHTERS

Comparison of King Lear’s Daughters
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COMPARISON OF KING LEAR’S DAUGHTERS
Comparison of King Lear’s Daughters
In the tragic play writ...


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