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King Lear
Act 3, scene 2

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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…

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Scene 2
Storm still. Enter Lear and Fool.

LEAR 
 Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!
 You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
 Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the
 cocks.
5 You sulph’rous and thought-executing fires,
 Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
 Singe my white head. And thou, all-shaking
 thunder,
 Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ th’ world.
10 Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
 That makes ingrateful man.
FOOL O nuncle, court holy water in a dry house is
 better than this rainwater out o’ door. Good nuncle,
 in. Ask thy daughters’ blessing. Here’s a night
15 pities neither wise men nor fools.
LEAR 
 Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
 Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.
 I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness.

129
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 2

 I never gave you kingdom, called you children;
20 You owe me no subscription. Then let fall
 Your horrible pleasure. Here I stand your slave,
 A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.
 But yet I call you servile ministers,
 That will with two pernicious daughters join
25 Your high-engendered battles ’gainst a head
 So old and white as this. O, ho, ’tis foul!
FOOL He that has a house to put ’s head in has a good
 headpiece.
 The codpiece that will house
30  Before the head has any,
 The head and he shall louse;
  So beggars marry many.
 The man that makes his toe
  What he his heart should make,
35 Shall of a corn cry woe,
  And turn his sleep to wake.

 For there was never yet fair woman but she made
 mouths in a glass.
LEAR 
 No, I will be the pattern of all patience.
40 I will say nothing.

Enter Kent in disguise.

KENT Who’s there?
FOOL Marry, here’s grace and a codpiece; that’s a
 wise man and a fool.
KENT 
 Alas, sir, are you here? Things that love night
45 Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies
 Gallow the very wanderers of the dark
 And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,
 Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
 Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never
50 Remember to have heard. Man’s nature cannot carry
 Th’ affliction nor the fear.

131
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 2

LEAR  Let the great gods
 That keep this dreadful pudder o’er our heads
 Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
55 That hast within thee undivulgèd crimes
 Unwhipped of justice. Hide thee, thou bloody hand,
 Thou perjured, and thou simular of virtue
 That art incestuous. Caitiff, to pieces shake,
 That under covert and convenient seeming
60 Has practiced on man’s life. Close pent-up guilts,
 Rive your concealing continents and cry
 These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
 More sinned against than sinning.
KENT  Alack,
65 bareheaded?
 Gracious my lord, hard by here is a hovel.
 Some friendship will it lend you ’gainst the tempest.
 Repose you there while I to this hard house—
 More harder than the stones whereof ’tis raised,
70 Which even but now, demanding after you,
 Denied me to come in—return and force
 Their scanted courtesy.
LEAR  My wits begin to turn.—
 Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?
75 I am cold myself.—Where is this straw, my fellow?
 The art of our necessities is strange
 And can make vile things precious. Come, your
 hovel.—
 Poor Fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
80 That’s sorry yet for thee.
FOOL sings 
 He that has and a little tiny wit,
  With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
 Must make content with his fortunes fit,
  Though the rain it raineth every day.

LEAR 
85 True, my good boy.—Come, bring us to this hovel.
Lear and Kent exit.

133
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 3

[FOOL This is a brave night to cool a courtesan. I’ll
 speak a prophecy ere I go:
 When priests are more in word than matter,
 When brewers mar their malt with water,
90 When nobles are their tailors’ tutors,
 No heretics burned but wenches’ suitors,
 When every case in law is right,
 No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
 When slanders do not live in tongues,
95 Nor cutpurses come not to throngs,
 When usurers tell their gold i’ th’ field,
 And bawds and whores do churches build,
 Then shall the realm of Albion
 Come to great confusion;
100 Then comes the time, who lives to see ’t,
 That going shall be used with feet.

 This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before
 his time.
He exits.]