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King Lear
Act 4, scene 5

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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 5
Enter Regan and Oswald, the Steward.

REGAN 
 But are my brother’s powers set forth?
OSWALD  Ay, madam.
REGAN Himself in person there?

193
King Lear
ACT 4. SC. 5

OSWALD Madam, with much ado.
5 Your sister is the better soldier.
REGAN 
 Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?
OSWALD No, madam.
REGAN 
 What might import my sister’s letter to him?
OSWALD I know not, lady.
REGAN 
10 Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter.
 It was great ignorance, Gloucester’s eyes being out,
 To let him live. Where he arrives he moves
 All hearts against us. Edmund, I think, is gone,
 In pity of his misery, to dispatch
15 His nighted life; moreover to descry
 The strength o’ th’ enemy.
OSWALD 
 I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.
REGAN 
 Our troops set forth tomorrow. Stay with us.
 The ways are dangerous.
OSWALD 20 I may not, madam.
 My lady charged my duty in this business.
REGAN 
 Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you
 Transport her purposes by word? Belike,
 Some things—I know not what. I’ll love thee much—
25 Let me unseal the letter.
OSWALD  Madam, I had rather—
REGAN 
 I know your lady does not love her husband;
 I am sure of that; and at her late being here,
 She gave strange eliads and most speaking looks
30 To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.
OSWALD I, madam?
REGAN 
 I speak in understanding. Y’ are; I know ’t.

195
King Lear
ACT 4. SC. 6

 Therefore I do advise you take this note:
 My lord is dead; Edmund and I have talked,
35 And more convenient is he for my hand
 Than for your lady’s. You may gather more.
 If you do find him, pray you, give him this,
 And when your mistress hears thus much from you,
 I pray, desire her call her wisdom to her.
40 So, fare you well.
 If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor,
 Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.
OSWALD 
 Would I could meet him, madam. I should show
 What party I do follow.
REGAN 45 Fare thee well.
They exit.