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PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-King Lear, by William Shakespeare


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King Lear

By William Shakespeare QUOTATION: Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear and Fool, in King Lear, act 1, sc. 4, l. 148-50.

On King Lear, who has given away his kingdom to his daughters.

QUOTATION: Lear. Who is it that can tell me who I am?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear and Fool, in King Lear, act 1, sc. 4, l. 230-1.

QUOTATION: Lear. Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?
Gloucester. Ay, sir.
Lear. And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obeyed in office.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear and Gloucester, in King Lear, act 4, sc. 6, l. 154-9.

QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear and Kent, in King Lear, act 1, sc. 4, l. 36-8.

Kent goes on to say he is 48 years old.

QUOTATION: Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 1, sc. 4, l. 259-61.

QUOTATION: No, I will be the pattern of all patience,
I will say nothing.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 3, sc. 2, l. 37-8.

QUOTATION: Thou art a lady;
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st,
Which scarcely keeps thee warm.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 2, sc. 4, l. 267-70.

Speaking to his daughter Regan.

QUOTATION: Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage, blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 3, sc. 2, l. 1-3.

Cast out in the storm, he welcomes it with a storm of words; “cocks” means weathercocks.

QUOTATION: Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.
I tax you not, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, called you children.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 3, sc. 2, l. 14-7.

Welcoming thunder, lightning, and rain in his anger.

QUOTATION: Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia,
The gods themselves throw incense.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 5, sc. 3, l. 20-1.

Lear here seems to anticipate the death of Cordelia, who is soon to be hung in prison.

QUOTATION: You do me wrong to take me out o’ th’ grave:
Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 4, sc. 7, l. 44-7.

Lear thinks he is in hell; in classical and Christian mythology a wheel of fire was a traditional form of torture for the damned.

QUOTATION: Here I stand your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 3, sc. 2, l. 20.

He is at the mercy of the elements, cast out in a storm.

QUOTATION: Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind
To suffer with the body.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 2, sc. 4, l. 106-9.

Ill health makes us neglect the duties (”all office”) we are obliged to do when well.

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