King Lear

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Gonerill and Edmund
marvel (v.) wonder, be curious


Welcome, my lord. I marvel our mild husband

Not met us on the way.

Enter Oswald

                         Now, where's your master'?


Madam, within; but never man so changed.

I told him of the army that was landed.

He smiled at it. I told him you were coming.

His answer was ‘The worse.' Of Gloucester's treachery

And of the loyal service of his son

When I informed him, then he called me sot
sot (n.) blockhead, idiot, dolt

And told me I had turned the wrong side out.

What most he should dislike seems pleasant to him;

What like, offensive.


(to Edmund)

                         Then shall you go no further.

It is the cowish terror of his spirit
cowish (adj.) cowardly, irresolute, timorous

That dares not undertake. He'll not feel wrongs
feel (v.) 1 react to, be affected by
undertake (v.) 3 take responsibility, commit oneself to an enterprise

Which tie him to an answer. Our wishes on the way
answer (n.) 4 retaliation, armed response
wrong (n.) 2 insult, offence, slight

May prove effects. Back, Edmund, to my brother!
effect (n.) 1 result, end, outcome, fulfilment

Hasten his musters and conduct his powers:
muster (n.) 1 (plural) enlistment of soldiers, mobilizing of troops
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

I must change arms at home and give the distaff
arms (n.) 1 weapons, armaments
distaff (n.) device for weaving, spindle

Into my husband's hands. This trusty servant

Shall pass between us; ere long you are like to hear,

If you dare venture in your own behalf,
venture, venter (v.) run a risk, take a chance, dare to act

A mistress's command. Wear this; (giving a favour) spare speech.

Decline your head; this kiss, if it durst speak,
decline (v.) 1 incline, lean, bend

Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.

Conceive; and fare thee well.
conceive (v.) 1 understand, comprehend, follow


Yours in the ranks of death.


                         My most dear Gloucester!

Exit Edmund

O, the difference of man and man!

To thee a woman's services are due;

A fool usurps my bed.


                         Madam, here comes my lord.

usurp (v.) 3 take wrongful possession of, misappropriate

Enter Albany
whistling (n.) calling, watching out for


I have been worth the whistling.


                         O Gonerill,

You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
rude (adj.) 3 [of wind or water] stormy, turbulent, harsh

Blows in your face. I fear your disposition:
disposition (n.) 3 inclination, mood, frame of mind

That nature which contemns its origin
contemn (v.) despise, scorn, treat with contempt
nature (n.) 3 human nature

Cannot be bordered certain in itself.
border (v.) keep within bounds, contain, confine

She that herself will sliver and disbranch
disbranch (v.) remove a branch, cut off, sever
sliver (v.) cut off [a piece], split off, tear away

From her material sap perforce must wither
material (adj.) 1 full of matter, containing substance
perforce (adv.) 2 of necessity, with no choice in the matter See Topics: Frequency count

And come to deadly use.
deadly (adj.) deathly, death-like
use (n.) 5 end, outcome, resolution


No more; the text is foolish.
text (n.) 1 theme, subject, topic


Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile;

Filths savour but themselves. What have you done,
filth (n.) 1 vile creature, foul animal
savour (v.) 2 relish, enjoy, delight [in]

Tigers not daughters, what have you performed?

A father, and a gracious aged man,

Whose reverence even the head-lugged bear would lick,
head-lugged (adj.) pulled along by the ears; or: baited, tormented
reverence (n.) 1 respected state, venerable condition

Most barbarous, most degenerate, have you madded.
mad (v.) 1 madden, exasperate, infuriate

Could my good brother suffer you to do it?
suffer (v.) 1 allow, permit, let

A man, a prince, by him so benefited?

If that the heavens do not their visible spirits

Send quickly down to tame these vile offences,

It will come –

Humanity must perforce prey on itself
perforce (adv.) 2 of necessity, with no choice in the matter See Topics: Frequency count

Like monsters of the deep.
milk-livered (adj.) chicken-hearted, cowardly


                         Milk-livered man!

That bear'st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs!
wrong (n.) 2 insult, offence, slight

Who hast not in thy brows an eye discerning
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
discern (v.) distinguish, make a difference between

Thine honour from thy suffering, that not knowest

Fools do those villains pity who are punished

Ere they have done their mischief. Where's thy drum?

France spreads his banners in our noiseless land,
noiseless (adj.) peaceful, tranquil, quiet

With plumed helm thy state begins to threat,
helm (n.) 1 helmet
threat (v.) threaten

Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries
moral (adj.) 1 full of moral sentiments, arguing the pros and cons

‘ Alack, why does he so?’


                         See thyself, devil!

Proper deformity shows not in the fiend
proper (adj.) 6 characteristic, typical, normal

So horrid as in woman.
vain (adj.) 1 foolish, silly, stupid


                         O vain fool!


Thou changed and self-covered thing, for shame,
self-covered (adj.) self-concealing, with the self covered over

Be-monster not thy feature. Were't my fitness
bemonster, be-monster (v.) make monstrous, deform, pervert
fitness (n.) 1 proper behaviour, appropriate conduct

To let these hands obey my blood,
blood (n.) 1 passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]

They are apt enough to dislocate and tear
apt (adj.) 1 fit, ready, prepared

Thy flesh and bones. Howe'er thou art a fiend,

A woman's shape doth shield thee.


Marry, your manhood! Mew!

Enter a Messenger


What news?


O, my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall's dead,

Slain by his servant, going to put out

The other eye of Gloucester.


                         Gloucester's eyes?


A servant that he bred, thrilled with remorse,
breed (v.), past form bred 1 raise, bring up, support
thrilled (adj.) pierced, deeply affected

Opposed against the act, bending his sword
bend (v.) 1 aim, direct, level, turn

To his great master; who, thereat enraged,

Flew on him and amongst them felled him dead,

But not without that harmful stroke which since

Hath plucked him after.


                         This shows you are above,

You justicers, that these our nether crimes
nether (adj.) 2 belonging to the earth, earthly, worldly

So speedily can venge! But, O, poor Gloucester!
venge (v.) avenge, revenge

Lost he his other eye?


                         Both, both, my lord.

This letter, madam, craves a speedy answer.
crave (v.) 2 need, demand, require

'Tis from your sister.



                         One way I like this well.

But being widow, and my Gloucester with her,

May all the building in my fancy pluck
fancy (n.) 1 love, amorousness, infatuation
pluck upon (v.) bring to ruin, demolish

Upon my hateful life. Another way

The news is not so tart. – (Aloud) I'll read and answer.



Where was his son when they did take his eyes?


Come with my lady hither.


                         He is not here.


No, my good lord; I met him back again.


Knows he the wickedness?


Ay, my good lord. 'Twas he informed against him,

And quit the house on purpose that their punishment

Might have the freer course.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count


                         Gloucester, I live

To thank thee for the love thou show'dst the King

And to revenge thine eyes. Come hither, friend;

Tell me what more thou knowest.


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