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King Lear
Act 3, scene 6

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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 6
Enter Kent in disguise, and Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER Here is better than the open air. Take it
 thankfully. I will piece out the comfort with what
 addition I can. I will not be long from you.
KENT All the power of his wits have given way to his
5 impatience. The gods reward your kindness!
Gloucester exits.

Enter Lear, Edgar in disguise, and Fool.

EDGAR Frateretto calls me and tells me Nero is an

151
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 6

 angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and
 beware the foul fiend.
FOOL Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a
10 gentleman or a yeoman.
LEAR A king, a king!
[FOOL No, he’s a yeoman that has a gentleman to his
 son, for he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a
 gentleman before him.
LEAR] 
15 To have a thousand with red burning spits
 Come hissing in upon ’em!
EDGAR The foul fiend bites my back.
FOOL He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a
 horse’s health, a boy’s love, or a whore’s oath.
LEAR 
20 It shall be done. I will arraign them straight.
 To Edgar. Come, sit thou here, most learnèd
 justice.
 To Fool. Thou sapient sir, sit here. Now, you
 she-foxes—
EDGAR 25Look where he stands and glares!—Want’st
 thou eyes at trial, madam?
Sings. Come o’er the burn, Bessy, to me—
FOOL sings 
 Her boat hath a leak,
 And she must not speak
30 Why she dares not come over to thee.

EDGAR The foul fiend haunts Poor Tom in the voice of
 a nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom’s belly for
 two white herring.—Croak not, black angel. I have
 no food for thee.
KENT, to Lear 
35 How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed.
 Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?
LEAR 
 I’ll see their trial first. Bring in their evidence.

153
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 6

 To Edgar. Thou robèd man of justice, take thy
 place,
40 To Fool. And thou, his yokefellow of equity,
 Bench by his side. To Kent. You are o’ th’
 commission;
 Sit you, too.
EDGAR Let us deal justly.
Sings.45 Sleepest or wakest, thou jolly shepherd?
  Thy sheep be in the corn.
 And for one blast of thy minikin mouth,
  Thy sheep shall take no harm.

 Purr the cat is gray.
LEAR 50Arraign her first; ’tis Goneril. I here take my oath
 before this honorable assembly, kicked the poor
 king her father.
FOOL Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?
LEAR She cannot deny it.
FOOL 55Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint stool.
LEAR 
 And here’s another whose warped looks proclaim
 What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!
 Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!
 False justicer, why hast thou let her ’scape?
EDGAR 60Bless thy five wits!
KENT, to Lear 
 O pity! Sir, where is the patience now
 That you so oft have boasted to retain?
EDGAR, aside 
 My tears begin to take his part so much
 They mar my counterfeiting.
LEAR 65The little dogs and all,
 Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me.
EDGAR Tom will throw his head at them.—Avaunt, you
 curs!
 Be thy mouth or black or white,
70 Tooth that poisons if it bite,

155
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 6

 Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim,
 Hound or spaniel, brach, or lym,
 Bobtail tike, or trundle-tail,
 Tom will make him weep and wail;
75 For, with throwing thus my head,
 Dogs leapt the hatch, and all are fled.

 Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes
 and fairs and market towns. Poor Tom, thy horn
 is dry.
LEAR 80Then let them anatomize Regan; see what breeds
 about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that
 make these hard hearts? To Edgar. You, sir, I
 entertain for one of my hundred; only I do not like
 the fashion of your garments. You will say they are
85 Persian, but let them be changed.
KENT 
 Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.
LEAR, lying down Make no noise, make no noise.
 Draw the curtains. So, so, we’ll go to supper i’ th’
 morning.
[FOOL 90And I’ll go to bed at noon.]

Enter Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER, to Kent 
 Come hither, friend. Where is the King my master?
KENT 
 Here, sir, but trouble him not; his wits are gone.
GLOUCESTER 
 Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms.
 I have o’erheard a plot of death upon him.
95 There is a litter ready; lay him in ’t,
 And drive toward Dover, friend, where thou shalt
 meet
 Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master.
 If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life,
100 With thine and all that offer to defend him,
 Stand in assurèd loss. Take up, take up,

157
King Lear
ACT 3. SC. 7

 And follow me, that will to some provision
 Give thee quick conduct.
KENT  Oppressèd nature sleeps.
105 This rest might yet have balmed thy broken sinews,
 Which, if convenience will not allow,
 Stand in hard cure. To the Fool. Come, help to
 bear thy master.
 Thou must not stay behind.
GLOUCESTER 110 Come, come away.
All but Edgar exit, carrying Lear.
EDGAR 
 When we our betters see bearing our woes,
 We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
 Who alone suffers suffers most i’ th’ mind,
 Leaving free things and happy shows behind.
115 But then the mind much sufferance doth o’erskip
 When grief hath mates and bearing fellowship.
 How light and portable my pain seems now
 When that which makes me bend makes the King
 bow!
120 He childed as I fathered. Tom, away.
 Mark the high noises, and thyself bewray
 When false opinion, whose wrong thoughts defile
 thee,
 In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.
125 What will hap more tonight, safe ’scape the King!
 Lurk, lurk.
He exits.