King Lear Quotation Analyses

KING LEAR 1.1: 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 orbsFrom 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 meHold thee, from this, for ever. The barbarous Scythian,Or he that makes his generation messesTo gorge his appetite, shall to my bosomBe as well neighbored, pitied, and relievedAs thou my sometime daughter. (110-122) -In this instance King Lear claims that he is letting go of his daughter Cordelia who had previously declined his request of professing love to him as she believed her love should be justified by her actions towards her father rather than in such words of the moment. You could say that this catalyzes all the misconducts and tragic events that follow. This marks Lear’s blindness and inability to see that Cordelia is his most faithful and loyal daughter. In this quote he spews out such ignorance and vile words that do not truly portray Cordelia’s pure nature in the slightest.
GLOUCESTER 1.1: Sir, this young fellow’s mother could [conceive], whereuponshe 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? -In the beginning of the play Gloucester begins to crack jokes about his bastard son, Edmund. His language is very crude and insensitive. It is clear why Edmund feels such anger towards his father who blatantly makes fun of his conception and legitimacy. Gloucester attitude only further’s Edmund’s plot to take down his father and expresses jealously towards Gloucester’s legitimate son, Edgar.
EDMUND 1.2: …why ‘bastard’? Wherefore ‘base,’When my dimensions are as well compact,My mind as generous and my shape as trueAs honest madam’s issue? Why brand they usWith ‘base,’ with ‘baseness,’ ‘bastardy,’ ‘base,’ ‘base,’… Well then,Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land.Our father’s love is to the bastard EdmundAs to th’ legitimate. Fine word, ‘legitimate,’Well, my legitimate, if this letter speedAnd my invention thrive, Edmund the baseShall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper.Now, gods, stand up for bastards! (6-10, 15-22) -Edmund talks aloud about he is labeled as the bastard child, while his brother Edgar is referred to as legitimate. To put it frankly Edmund believes that is is utter bullshit how his status as being a bastard impeded’s his right to rule and declare a position of authoritative power. As a result, he acts on impulse and decides to take action. He declares that he is standing up for all the bastards and will do something about such inequity. Later on we learn that Edmund does not try to change the order of society in a “right” and just way, but rather intends to get what he wants even if it means destroying the lives of his father and brother.
GONERIL 1.4: This man hath had good counsel. A hundred knights!’Tis politic and safe to let him keepAt point a hundred knights! Yes, that, on every dream,Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,He may enguard his dotage with their powersAnd hold our lives in mercy.—Oswald, I say! -Goneril is not pleased that her father and all of his rowdy nights are staying with her. She doesn’t feel any bit of guilt for deciding to kick her father and his men out of her palace. We also learn that Goneril doesn’t merely kick them out because they are way to obnoxious and chaotic, but because the knights protect Lear. Goneril doesn’t care about her father’s well being or safety, rather she is just concerned with his power.
FOOL 1.4:[…] e’er since thou mad’st thydaughters thy mothers. For when thou gav’st themthe rod and put’st down thine own breeches,.. -The fool is a very smart and wise character despite his given role. He sees that Lear’s daughters are more like his mother now that he has turned over his kingdom to them. He sees that they are not treating him with respect and are rather full in charge and in power of him (they delegate the orders now).
OSWALD 2.2:Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that’s neither known of thee nor knows thee! -Oswald is fighting with Kent. The two are entirely loyal to their masters, but have totally different ways of expressing their loyalty. Oswald doesn’t think for himself which enrages Kent and just does what Goneril tells him to do. In this case Oswald his defending Goneril’s honor. The differences between their loyalties is that Kent speaks his mind and will tell Lear what he really thinks if its in his best interest, Oswald however does’t think about his actions or what they entail, he just follows Goneril’s orders.
KENT 2.2:Sir, ’tis my occupation to be plain:I have seen better faces in my timeThan stands on any shoulder that I seeBefore me now at this instant. (94-97) -Kent is speaking to Cornwall. He tells him how he dislikes Oswald and even Cornwall himself. Kent has a lot of guts and speaks his mind. He is blunt, but manages to live throughout the story. In a sense his honesty is rewarded, however Kent’s affixation and overall dedicated nature towards Lear’s leads him to committing suicide in the end.
CORNWALL 3.7:See ‘t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.— Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.GLOUCESTER 3.7: He that will think to live till he be old,Give me some help! As Servants hold the chair, Cornwall forces out one of Gloucester’s eyes. O cruel! O you gods!REGAN 3.7: One side will mock another. Th’ other too. (68-72) -Cornwall’s and Regan’s true malevolence shines through in this scene. Cornwall intends to pluck out Gloucester’s eyes just for allowing Lear to have some shelter near his palace. Cornwall feels no remorse and rather thrives in witnessing the pain of others. While Regan does not perform the act of talking out Gloucester’s eye balls, she orders Cornwall to innately perform the task. Then with no mercy, she commands him to take the other eye out too!
CORDELIA 4.7: Kissing LearO, my dear father, restoration hangThy medicine on my lips, and let this kissRepair those violent harms that my two sistersHave in thy reverence made. (26-29) -This scene in particular between the reunion of Cordelia and her father Lear show how kind and loving Cordelia is (and has been all along). Despite being banished by her father and rejected she doesn’t hold any resentment towards him. Rather she feels sorry for him and expresses such compassion and empathy. She gives him a kiss and comforts him as she expresses pity towards him since her two other sisters completely abandoned him. She embodies all that is good in the world and holds no grudges as she completely forgives her father.
EDGAR 5.3:My name is Edgar, and thy father’s son.The gods are just, and of our pleasant vicesMake instruments to plague us.The dark and vicious place where thee he gotCost him his eyes. -After Edgar has mortally wounded his brother, Edmund, in the dual, he speaks how justice is restored to the world. Edmund has now got what he deserved. He even implies how Regan, who ordered for their father’s eyes to be plucked out, got what she deserved by being poisoned by her sister who in turn ended up killing herself. Edgar embodies goodness and believes that God will always reward those on the “right” side.
ALBANY 5.3:All friends shall tasteThe wages of their virtue, and all foesThe cup of their deservings. -Albany piggybacks on Edgar’s speech as he says people get what they deserve in the end. Albany was always able to see the good in the people and discern between was was just and not. However he never really spoke up about it (unlike Kent) and it is hard for him to break from his bubble and link to Goneril. However now that basically everyone is dead Albany declares how the truth and how he really feels. He contends that it is only right for Kent and Edgar to rule the kingdom.