King Lear Character+Theme Quotes

Lear’s curse on Goneril (family)- visceral imagery “Dry up in her organs of increase”
Lear’s pain at the hands of his daughters (family)- soft w sounds grief “Let not women’s weapons, water-drops, stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags!”
Kent about Goneril and Regan (family)- plosive alliteration “Gave her dear rights to his dog-hearted daughters”
Gentleman quoting Cordelia’s outrage (family)- sibilant alliteration “Sisters, sisters, shame of ladies, sisters!”
Lear on ungrateful children (family) “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child”
Edgar’s disguise (appearance vs. reality)- plosive alliteration “The country gives me proof and precedent of Bedlam beggars”
Lear’s opinion on Cordelia’s speech (appearance vs. reality)- plosive -> contempt “Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her”
Edmund harming himself to condemn Edgar (appearance vs. reality) “Some blood drawn on me would beget opinion of my more fierce endeavour”
Gloucester’s outrage at Edgar’s supposed betrayal (appearance vs. reality) “Unnatural, detested, brutish villain- worse than brutish!”
Kent pleading Lear to be reasonable (blindness) “See better, Lear, and let me remain the true blank of thine eye”
Goneril flattering Lear (blindness) “Dearer than eyesight”
Gloucester commenting on G+R’s cruelty (blindness) “because I would not see thy cruel nails pluck out his poor old eyes”
Gloucester naturalising Edmund (blindness) “Loyal, natural boy”
Edmund attempting to redeem himself (justice) “Yet Edmund was beloved, some good I mean to do, despite of mine own nature”
Gloucester about the meaning of death (justice)- metaphor “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’gods; they kill us for their sport”
Albany after Goneril’s suicide (justice) “The judgement of the heavens that makes us tremble touches us not with pity”
Goneril on Lear’s old age (old age) “Old fools are babes again”
Kent’s thoughts on new order (old age) “I have seen better faces in my time than stands on any shoulder that I see at this instant”
Regan commenting on Lear’s instability (old age) “‘Tis the infirmity of his age…such unconstant starts are we like to have from him as this of Kent’s banishment”
Edmund’s conclusion to bastardy monologue (ambition) “I grow; I prosper. Now, Gods, stand up for bastards”
Edmund’s reversal of the natural order (ambition) “The younger rises when the old doth fall”
Fool commenting on betrayal of Lear by his daughters (betrayal) “The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, that it’s had it head bit off by it young”
Regan tells Gloucester Edmund betrayed him (betrayal) “Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he that made the overthrow of thy treason to us”
Edmund considering G+R (betrayal) “To both these sisters I have sworn my love…neither can be enjoyed if both remain alive”
Albany telling Edmund he’s worthless (nothing) “I’ll make it on thy heart, ere I taste bread, thou are in nothing less”
Lear when Cordelia dies (nothing) “Thou’lt come no more, never, never, never, never, never” (nothingness, death)
Lear mourning Fool/Cordelia’s death (love) “And my poor fool is hanged”
Cordelia’s love for Lear (love) “I love your majesty according to my bond”
Cordelia commenting on G+R’s love (love) “Why have my sisters husbands if they say they love you all?”
Lear on his and Cordelia’s imprisonment (love) “We two alone will sing like birds i’th’cage”
Kent’s loyalty to Lear (loyalty) “If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned”
Kent following Lear beyond the grave (loyalty)- rhyming couplet – end stopped “My master calls me, I must not say no”
Servant 1 after he mortally wounds Cornwall (loyalty) “My Lord, you have one eye left to see some mischief on him”
Fool providing Lear humorous counsel (loyalty)- guttural alliteration – thou “Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gav’st thy golden one away”
Cordelia’s loyalty to Lear through imprisonment (loyalty)- Thee -> connotations of affection “For thee, oppressed King, I am cast down”
Albany likening Goneril to a devil (madness) “Proper deformity shows not in the fiend so horrid as in woman”
The state of Lear’s mind (madness)-fricative alliteration “You sulphurous and thought-executing fires”
Lear realising he is going mad (madness) “My wits begin to turn”
Edmund on his fate (nature) “The wheel has come full circle”
Edgar facing the storm (nature)- end stopped -> determination “With presented nakedness outface the winds and persecutions of the sky”
Edmund’s birth sign (nature) “My nativity was under Ursa Major, so it follows I am rough and lecherous”
Gloucester’s discomfort with the elements (nature) “These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us”
Lear’s prayer to nature (nature)- repetetion + aspirant -> desperation “Hear, nature, hear, dear goddess, hear!”
Lear’s reaction to the storm (nature) “Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!”
Lear has gone mad, Cordelia describes appearance (authority vs. chaos) “Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow weeds”
Lear’s flattery (love)- enjambment “Since now we will divest of us both of rule…territory, cares of state— which of you shall we say doth love us most”
Lear’s description of women (nature)- semantic field of degeneration “there’s hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench, consumption”
Final stage direction (nothing) “Exeunt with a dead march”
Lears deteriorating mental state (madness)- blank verse – two breaks in syntax caesura “I shall have such revenges on you both that all the world shall- I shall do such things-“
Edgar as Poor Tom sinister remarks (madness)- four stress trochaic verse catalectic – Meter Shakespeare uses often for sinister characters such as the witches in Macbeth “Be thy mouth or back or white, tooth that poisons if it bite”