List iconKing LearList icon

King Lear
Act 3, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

King Lear dramatizes the story of an aged king of ancient Britain, whose plan to divide his kingdom among his three…

Act 1, scene 1

King Lear, intending to divide his power and kingdom among his three daughters, demands public professions of their love. His…

Act 1, scene 2

Edmund, the earl of Gloucester’s illegitimate son, plots to displace his legitimate brother, Edgar, as Gloucester’s heir by turning Gloucester…

Act 1, scene 3

Goneril, with whom Lear has gone to live, expresses her anger at Lear and his knights. She orders her steward,…

Act 1, scene 4

The earl of Kent returns in disguise, offers his services to Lear, and is accepted as one of Lear’s followers….

Act 1, scene 5

Lear, setting out for Regan’s with his Fool, sends the disguised Kent ahead with a letter to Regan.

Act 2, scene 1

Edmund tricks Edgar into fleeing from Gloucester’s castle. After more of Edmund’s lies, Gloucester condemns Edgar to death and makes…

Act 2, scene 2

Kent meets Oswald at Gloucester’s castle (where both await answers to the letters they have brought Regan) and challenges Oswald…

Act 2, scene 3

Edgar disguises himself as a madman-beggar to escape his death sentence. (Although Kent remains onstage, a new scene begins because…

Act 2, scene 4

At Gloucester’s castle, Lear is angered that his messenger has been stocked and further angered that Regan and Cornwall refuse…

Act 3, scene 1

Kent, searching for Lear, meets a Gentleman and learns that Lear and the Fool are alone in the storm. Kent…

Act 3, scene 2

Lear rages against the elements while the Fool begs him to return to his daughters for shelter; when Kent finds…

Act 3, scene 3

Gloucester tells Edmund that he has decided to go to Lear’s aid; he also tells him about an incriminating letter…

Act 3, scene 4

Lear, Kent, and the Fool reach the hovel, where they find Edgar disguised as Poor Tom, a madman-beggar. When Gloucester…

Act 3, scene 5

Edmund tells Cornwall about Gloucester’s decision to help Lear and about the incriminating letter from France; in return, Cornwall makes…

Act 3, scene 6

Lear, in his madness, imagines that Goneril and Regan are on trial before a tribunal made up of Edgar, the…

Act 3, scene 7

Cornwall dispatches men to capture Gloucester, whom he calls a traitor. Sending Edmund and Goneril to tell Albany about the…

Act 4, scene 1

Edgar, still in disguise as Poor Tom, meets the blinded Gloucester and agrees to lead him to Dover.

Act 4, scene 2

Goneril and Edmund arrive at Albany and Goneril’s castle. After Goneril has sent Edmund back to Cornwall, Albany enters and…

Act 4, scene 3

In the French camp Kent and a Gentleman discuss Cordelia’s love of Lear, which has brought her back to Britain…

Act 4, scene 4

In the French camp Cordelia orders out a search party for Lear.

Act 4, scene 5

Regan questions Oswald about Goneril and Edmund, states her intention to marry Edmund, and asks Oswald to dissuade Goneril from…

Act 4, scene 6

To cure Gloucester of despair, Edgar pretends to aid him in a suicide attempt, a fall from Dover Cliff to…

Act 4, scene 7

In the French camp, Lear is waked by the doctor treating him and is reunited with Cordelia.

Act 5, scene 1

Albany joins his forces with Regan’s (led by Edmund) to oppose the French invasion. Edgar, still in disguise, approaches Albany…

Act 5, scene 2

Cordelia’s French army is defeated.

Act 5, scene 3

Edmund sends Lear and Cordelia to prison and secretly commissions their assassination. Albany confronts Edmund and Goneril with their intended…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 1
Storm still. Enter Kent in disguise, and a Gentleman,
severally.


KENT Who’s there, besides foul weather?
GENTLEMAN 
 One minded like the weather, most unquietly.
KENT I know you. Where’s the King?
GENTLEMAN 
 Contending with the fretful elements;
5 Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea
 Or swell the curlèd waters ’bove the main,
 That things might change or cease; tears his white
 hair,
 Which the impetuous blasts with eyeless rage
10 Catch in their fury and make nothing of;
 Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
 The to-and-fro conflicting wind and rain.
 This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would
 couch,
15 The lion and the belly-pinchèd wolf
 Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs
 And bids what will take all.
KENT  But who is with him?
GENTLEMAN 
 None but the Fool, who labors to outjest
20 His heart-struck injuries.
123

125
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 1

KENT  Sir, I do know you
 And dare upon the warrant of my note
 Commend a dear thing to you. There is division,
 Although as yet the face of it is covered
25 With mutual cunning, ’twixt Albany and Cornwall,
 [Who have—as who have not, that their great stars
 Throned and set high?—servants, who seem no less,
 Which are to France the spies and speculations
 Intelligent of our state.] From France there comes
30 a power
 Into this scattered kingdom, who already,
 Wise in our negligence, have secret feet
 In some of our best ports and are at point
 To show their open banner. Now to you:
35 If on my credit you dare build so far
 To make your speed to Dover, you shall find
 Some that will thank you, making just report
 Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow
 The King hath cause to plain: [what hath been seen,
40 Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes,
 Or the hard rein which both of them hath borne
 Against the old kind king, or something deeper,
 Whereof perchance these are but furnishings.]
 I am a gentleman of blood and breeding,
45 And from some knowledge and assurance offer
 This office to you.
GENTLEMAN 
 I will talk further with you.
KENT  No, do not.
 For confirmation that I am much more
50 Than my outwall, open this purse and take
 What it contains.
Kent hands him a purse and a ring.
 If you shall see Cordelia
 (As fear not but you shall), show her this ring,
 And she will tell you who that fellow is

127
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 2

55 That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm!
 I will go seek the King.
GENTLEMAN 
 Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?
KENT 
 Few words, but, to effect, more than all yet:
 That when we have found the King—in which your
60 pain
 That way, I’ll this—he that first lights on him
 Holla the other.
They exit separately.