king lear quotes wong

Tell me, my daughters,(Since now we will divest us both of rule,Interest of territory, cares of state)Which of you shall we say doth love us mostThat we our largest bounty may extendWhere nature doth with merit challenge? S: Lear to daughtersQuality: Reveals Lear’s vanity. My daughters, since I’m about to give up my throne and the worries that go along with it, tell me which one of you loves me most, so that I can give my largest gift to the one who deserves it most.
Good my lord,You have begot me, bred me, loved me. IReturn those duties back as are right fit Obey you, love you, and most honor you.Why have my sisters husbands if they sayThey love you all? Haply when I shall wedThat lord whose hand must take my plight shall carryHalf my love with him, half my care and duty.Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,To love my father all. S: Cordelia to LearSig: she is being truthful My lord, you brought me up and loved me, and I’m giving back just as I should: I obey you, love you, and honor you. How can my sisters speak the truth when they say they love only you? Don’t they love their husbands too? Hopefully when I get married, I’ll give my husband half my love and half my sense of duty. I’m sure I’ll never get married in the way my sisters say they’re married, loving their father only.
Answer my life my judgment,Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,Nor are those empty-hearted whose low soundReverbs no hollowness. S: Kent to LearOn my life I swear to you that your youngest daughter doesn’t love you least. A loud mouth often points to an empty heart, and just because she’s quiet doesn’t mean she’s unloving. the loudest sounds come from empty vessels.
I yet beseech your majesty,If for I want that glib and oily artTo speak and purpose not—since what I well intend,I’ll do ‘t before I speak—that you make knownIt is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,No unchaste action or dishonored stepThat hath deprived me of your grace and favor,But even for want of that for which I am richer:A still-soliciting eye and such a tongueAs I am glad I have not, though not to have itHath lost me in your liking. CORDELIA(to LEAR) Please, your majesty, I don’t have a glib way with words and I only say what I mean. If I decide to do something, then I do it instead of talking about it. So I beg your majesty to let people know that it wasn’t because I did something atrociousthat I fell from your favor. I didn’t murder or commit any immoral or lustful act. I’m out of favor simply because I’m not a fortune-hunter and I don’t have a smooth way with words—and I’m a better person because of it, even though it has cost me your love.
Thou, nature, art my goddess. To thy lawMy services are bound. Wherefore should IStand in the plague of custom and permitThe curiosity of nations to deprive meFor that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshinesLag of a brother? Why “bastard”? Wherefore “base”?When my dimensions are as well compact,My mind as generous, and my shape as trueAs honest madam’s issue? Why brand they usWith “base,” with “baseness,” “bastardy,” “base,” “base”—Who in the lusty stealth of nature takeMore composition and fierce qualityThan doth within a dull, stale, tirèd bedGo to th’ creating a whole tribe of fopsGot ‘tween a sleep and wake? Well then,Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land.Our father’s love is to the bastard EdmundAs to the legitimate.—Fine word, “legitimate”!—Well, my legitimate, if this letter speedAnd my invention thrive, Edmund the baseShall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper.Now, gods, stand up for bastards! edgrar: I only worship what’s natural, not what’s manmade. Why should I let myself be tortured by manmade social customs that deprive me of my rights simply because I was born twelve or fourteen months later than my older brother? Why do they call me “bastard” and “lowlife” when I’m just as gifted in mind and body as legitimate children? Why do they call us bastards “lowlifes”? Always “lowlife,” “bastard,” “lowlife,” “lowlife.” At least we bastards were conceived in a moment of passionate lust rather than in a dull, tired marriage bed, where half-sleeping parents monotonously churn out a bunch of sissy kids. All right then, legitimate brother Edgar, I have to have your lands. Our father loves me just as much as the legitimate Edgar. What a nice word that is, “legitimate”! Well, my legitimate Edgar, if this letter works and my plan succeeds, Edmund the lowlife will beat the legitimate. Look out, I’m on my way up. Three cheers for bastards!
This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence, and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting-on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon’s tail and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous. Fut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar— Edgar:This is a classic example of the idiocy of the world: when we’re down and out—often because of our own excesses —we put all the blame on the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if they forced us to be bad, or the heavens compelled us to be villainous or stupid. As if we become thieves and traitors according to astrological signs or obey planetary influences to become drunks, liars, and adulterers! As if some universal power pushed us into evil deeds! What a sneaky trick it is for lustful mankind to blame our horniness on some star! My father and mother coupled when the demonic moon was descending, and I was born under the Big Dipper, so it’s inevitable that I’m rude and oversexed. Christ! I would have been what I am even if the most virginal star in the heavens had twinkled at my conception. Edgar—
When thou clovest thy crown i’ th’ middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thy ass o’ th’ back o’er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gavest thy golden one away. Fool to Lear:When you cut your own crown and kingdom in half and gave away both parts, you were as foolish as the old man in the old story who carries his donkey on his back instead of letting the donkey carry him. You didn’t have much brains inside the bald crown of your head when you gave away the gold crown of your kingdom.
Hear, Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear!Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intendTo make this creature fruitful.Into her womb convey sterility.Dry up in her the organs of increase,And from her derogate body never springA babe to honor her. If she must teem,Create her child of spleen, that it may liveAnd be a thwart disnatured torment to her.Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks, Turn all her mother’s pains and benefitsTo laughter and contempt, that she may feel—That she may feelHow sharper than a serpent’s tooth it isTo have a thankless child.—Away, away! LEAR about GonerilThat may be true, my lord. Ah, dear Nature, my goddess, listen to me! Change your plans if you ever intended for this woman to have children. Make her sterile and dry up her womb so that no baby will ever come out of her body and honor her. If she must give birth, make her child a bad seed who will torment her, give her a forehead wrinkled with worry, make her cry until her cheeks are sunken. Let it be a wicked child who mocks the mother who cares for it. Make my daughter feel—make her feel how an ungrateful child hurts worse than a snakebite.—Now let’s leave. Go!
Besides, his pictureI will send far and near, that all the kingdomMay have the due note of him.—And of my land,Loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the meansTo make thee capable. Gloucester to Edgar: nd I’ll send his picture everywhere so that the whole kingdom will know what he looks like.—And as for you, my loyal and true son, I’ll find some way to make you my heir.
That such a slave as this should wear a sword,Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these,Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwainWhich are too intrinse t’ unloose, smooth every passionThat in the natures of their lords rebel,Bring oil to fire, snow to the colder moods;Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaksWith every gale and vary of their masters,Knowing naught, like dogs, but following.—A plague upon your epileptic visage!Smile you my speeches as I were a fool?Goose, an I had you upon Sarum plain,I’d drive ye cackling home to Camelot. Kent to Cornwall about Oswald:I’m angry that a dishonorable lowlife like this wears a sword like a gentleman. Smiling swindlers such as he undo the sacred bonds that unite people together, and only encourage the unreasonable passions of their masters. They foster both rage and apathy. They say “Yes” and “No,” turning their noses whichever way the wind blows without taking a firm stance on anything. They blindly follow their masters’ impulses, like dogs.—Damn your ugly stinking face! Are you laughing at what I say, as if I were a fool? If I had my way with you right now, I’d send you to back to where you came from.
The king would speak with Cornwall. The dear fatherWould with his daughter speak, commands, tends service.Are they “informed” of this? My breath and blood!”Fiery”? The “fiery” duke? Tell the hot duke that Lear—No, but not yet. Maybe he is not well.Infirmity doth still neglect all officeWhereto our health is bound. We are not ourselvesWhen nature, being oppressed, commands the mindTo suffer with the body. I’ll forbear,And am fallen out with my more headier willTo take the indisposed and sickly fitFor the sound man.(notices KENT again) Death on my state! WhereforeShould he sit here? This act persuades meThat this remotion of the duke and herIs practice only. Give me my servant forth.Go tell the duke and ‘s wife I’d speak with them—Now, presently. Bid them come forth and hear me,Or at their chamber door I’ll beat the drumTill it cry sleep to death. Lear: The king wants to speak with Cornwall. The father wants to speak with his daughter. He orders them—he begs them. Did you inform them of that? This is unbelievable! “Passionate”? The “passionate” duke? Tell the hot-headed duke that I… But no, not yet. Maybe he’s not feeling well. When we’re ill we can’t carry out our duties as well as when we’re healthy. When our bodies are out of order, our minds can’t function properly. I’ll hold off, and subdue my impulsive temper, which makes me judge a sick man as if he were well. (he notices KENT again) A curse on my royal power! Why should he sit here like this? The fact that they punished him convinces me that Regan and the duke are avoiding me on purpose. I want my servant released. Go tell the duke and his wife I’ll speak to them right now, at once. Tell them to come here and hear me out, or else I’ll beat a drum at their bedroom door until they can’t sleep any more.
Thy tender-hafted nature shall not giveThee o’er to harshness. Her eyes are fierce, but thineDo comfort and not burn. ‘Tis not in theeTo grudge my pleasures, to cut off my train,To bandy hasty words, to scant my sizes,And in conclusion to oppose the boltAgainst my coming in. Thou better know’stThe offices of nature, bond of childhood,Effects of courtesy, dues of gratitude.Thy half o’ th’ kingdom hast thou not forgot,Wherein I thee endowed. LEARNo, Regan. I’ll never curse you. You’re so gentle, you’d never be harsh like her. Her eyes are vicious, but yours are comforting. You’d never deny me my pleasures, downsize my entourage, insult me thoughtlessly, reduce my allowance, or lock me out of the house. You know better than she does how important the duties of a child to a parent are, and the responsibilities that come from gratitude. You haven’t forgotten the half of a kingdom I gave you.
O, reason not the need! Our basest beggarsAre in the poorest thing superfluous.Allow not nature more than nature needs,Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s. Thou art a lady.If only to go warm were gorgeous,Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st,Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need—You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need.You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,As full of grief as age, wretched in both.If it be you that stir these daughters’ heartsAgainst their father, fool me not so muchTo bear it tamely. Touch me with noble anger.And let not women’s weapons, water drops,Stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags, I will have such revenges on you bothThat all the world shall—I will do such things—What they are yet I know not, but they shall beThe terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?No, I’ll not weep. I have full cause of weeping, but this heartShall break into a hundred thousand flaws,Or ere I’ll weep.—O Fool, I shall go mad! Lear to his daughters:Oh, don’t ask me why I “need” them! Even the poorest beggars have some meager possessions they don’t really “need.” If you allow people no more than what they absolutely need to survive, then a human life is no better than an animal’s. You’re a well-dressed lady. If you dressed only to stay warm, you wouldn’t need these gorgeous clothes you’re wearing—which don’t keep you warm at all. If you want to talk about true needs, what I really need is patience. Oh, gods, give me patience! You see me here, gods, a grieving old man, as wretched in his grief as he is in his old age. If you’re the ones setting my daughters against me, don’t let me be foolish enough to take it lying down. Give me noble anger, and don’t let any womanly tears fall down my man’s cheeks. No, you monstrous hags, I’ll get revenge on you both that will make the whole world… I will do such things—I don’t know what I’ll do exactly, but it’ll be devastating. You expect me to cry? Well, I won’t. I have a good reason to cry, but my heart will splinter into a hundred thousand pieces before I let myself cry.—Oh, Fool, I’ll go mad!
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire are my daughters.I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness.I never gave you kingdom, called you children.You owe me no subscription. Why then, let fallYour 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 joinedYour high engendered battles ‘gainst a headSo old and white as this. Oh, ho! ‘Tis foul. Lear to Storm: (demonstrating lear’s impending madness) Let thunder rumble! Let lightning spit fire! Let the rain spray! The rain, the wind, the thunder and lightning are not my daughters. Nature, I don’t accuse your weather of unkindness. I never gave you a kingdom or raised you as my child, and you don’t owe me any obedience. So go ahead and have your terrifying fun. Here I am, your slave—a poor, sick, weak, hated old man. But I can still accuse you of kowtowing, taking my daughters’ side against me, ancient as I am. Oh, it’s foul!
My wits begin to turn.—(to FOOL)Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold?I am cold myself.(to KENT) Where is this straw, my fellow?The art of our necessities is strangeThat can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heartThat’s sorry yet for thee. LEARI’m starting to lose my mind. (to the FOOL) Come on, my boy. How are you? Are you cold? I’m cold myself. (to KENT) Where’s this hut, man? Odd how when you’re desperate, even shoddy things like this hut can seem precious. Show me where that hut is. Poor fool, part of me still feels sorry for you.
Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend youFrom seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta’enToo little care of this! Take physic, pomp.Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,That thou mayst shake the superflux to themAnd show the heavens more just. Poor homeless creatures suffering this storm, wherever you are, how will you survive a night like this with no roof over your heads, no fat on your sides to keep you warm, and only rags for clothes? When I was king I didn’t do enough to help you. Powerful men, take your medicine by learning about hardship. Go out and feel what the impoverished feel. Then you can give them your extra wealth and make the world more fair.
Death, traitor! Nothing could have subdued natureTo such a lowness but his unkind daughters.Is it the fashion that discarded fathersShould have thus little mercy on their flesh?Judicious punishment! ‘Twas this flesh begotThose pelican daughters. LEAR to kent about Poor Tom in their first encounter:Like hell! Nothing but cruel daughters could have degraded him like this. Is it fashionable now for neglected fathers to get so little pity? That’s a fair punishment! I’m the one who fathered those bloodsucking daughters.
LEARI’ll talk a word with this same learnèd Theban.—What is your study?EDGARHow to prevent the fiend and to kill vermin. LEARI want to chat a bit with this wise Greek man.—What kind of philosophy do you study? EDGARHow to keep the devil away and kill rats.Meanwhile: gloucester and kent urge lear to go back home.
And here’s another, whose warped looks proclaimWhat 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? during the imaginary trial: LEARAnd here’s Regan, whose grotesque face betrays her twisted heart. Stop her! Guards, guards, use your weapons. Fire! The courtroom is in chaos. You corrupt judge, why did you let her escape?shows that lear is crazy and is betrayed even in his imagination
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.But then the mind much sufferance doth o’erskipWhen grief hath mates and bearing fellowship.How light and portable my pain seems nowWhen that which makes me bend makes the king bow.He childed as I fathered. Tom, away!Mark the high noises and thyself bewrayWhen false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee,In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee.What will hap more tonight, safe ‘scape the king!Lurk, lurk. EDGARWhen we see that our betters have the same problems we do, we can almost forget our own misery. The person who suffers alone suffers the most. Companions in sorrow alleviate our grief. My troubles seem so easy to bear now that I see the king collapsing under a similar sorrow. His children have done the same to him as my father has to me. Let’s go, Tom. We’ll pay attention to the political situation, and you’ll be able to reveal your true identity when you’re proven innocent. Whatever else happens tonight, I hope the king escapes safely! Lurk out of sight.
GLOUCESTERAll dark and comfortless. Where’s my son Edmund?Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of natureTo quit this horrid act. REGAN Out, treacherous villain!Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was heThat made the overture of thy treasons to us,Who is too good to pity thee.REGAN Out, treacherous villain!Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was heThat made the overture of thy treasons to us,Who is too good to pity thee. GLOUCESTER (after getting his eyes gouged out)Nothing but darkness and horror. Where’s my son Edmund? Edmund, let your love for me ignite your bloodlust to avenge this horrible crime!REGANWrong, evil traitor. You’re appealing to a son who hates you. He was the one who revealed your treason to us. He’s too good to have any compassion for you.GLOUCESTERWhat a fool I’ve been! This means I’ve mistreated Edgar. Dear God, forgive me. Let him be well!
I have no way, and therefore want no eyes. I stumbled when I saw. Full oft ’tis seen,Our means secure us and our mere defectsProve our commodities. O dear son Edgar,The food of thy abusèd father’s wrath,Might I but live to see thee in my touch,I’d say I had eyes again! GLOUCESTER (old man trying to help him)I don’t have anywhere to go, so I don’t need to see. When I could see, I didn’t always see clearly. I made mistakes, I stumbled and fell. It’s often the case that having something makes us spoiled, while not having it turns out to be advantageous. So may it be with my eyesight. Oh, my dear son Edgar,how enraged I was at you when I was deceived. If I live long enough to touch you again, that would be as good as having my eyesight back.
As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods.They kill us for their sport. Gloucester: The gods play around with us as cruelly as schoolboys who pull the wings off flies.
Oh, the difference of man and man!To thee a woman’s services are due.My fool usurps my body. goneril after kissing edmund: What a man!—especially compared to my husband. Edmund, you deserve me to be your woman. There’s a fool sharing my bed now.
You are not worth the dust which the rude windBlows in your face. I fear your disposition.That nature, which contemns its originCannot be bordered certain in itself.She that herself will sliver and disbranchFrom her material sap perforce must witherAnd come to deadly use. Albany to Goneril: Goneril, you aren’t worth the dust the wind blows in your face. I don’t trust you. You can’t trust anyone who abuses her own father, her flesh and blood. A woman who breaks off relations with her bloodline is like a branch that tries to break away from the tree. She will wither and come to a bad end.
Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow stroveWho should express her goodliest. You have seenSunshine and rain at once—her smiles and tearsWere like a better way. Those happy smiletsThat played on her ripe lip seemed not to knowWhat guests were in her eyes, which parted thenceAs pearls from diamonds dropped. In brief,Sorrow would be a rarity most belovedIf all could so become it. GENTLEMAN about Cordelia reading kent’s lettersThere were no outbursts. She was struggling between emotion and self-control. You’ve seen how it can rain while the sun shines? That’s how she was, smiling and crying at once, only more lovely. The little smile on her full lips didn’t seem aware of the tears that were dropping like diamonds from her pearly eyes. If everyone looked so lovely in their sorrow, then sorrow would be highly prized.
KENTA sovereign shame so elbows him. His own unkindnessThat stripped her from his benediction turned herTo foreign casualties, gave her dear rightsTo his dog-hearted daughters. These things stingHis mind so venomously that burning shameDetains him from Cordelia. KENT to Gentlman about LearHe’s too overwhelmed with shame. He remembers how unkind he was to her, how he disowned her and sent her abroad, how he gave her rightful inheritance to her two dog-hearted sisters. All those memories pain his mind so deeply that guilt and shame keep him away from Cordelia.
‘Tis known before. Our preparation standsIn expectation of them. O dear father,It is thy business that I go about.Therefore great FranceMy mourning and importuned tears hath pitied.No blown ambition doth our arms incite,But love—dear love!—and our aged father’s right.Soon may I hear and see him. CORDELIAWe already knew that. (british powers coming) Our forces are ready for them. Oh, father, I’m taking care of your business. That’s why the King of France listened to my pleas and tears. We’re not invading England out of ambition or greed, but out of love—dear love!—and my father’s right to his kingdom. I hope I see him and hear him again soon.
Hadst thou been aught but gossamer, feathers, air,So many fathom down precipitating,Thou’dst shivered like an egg. But thou dost breathe,Hast heavy substance, bleed’st not, speak’st, art sound.Ten masts at each make not the altitudeWhich thou hast perpendicularly fell.Thy life’s a miracle. Speak yet again. Edgar to his Dad: Even if you were made of feathers and air, you should’ve been smashed in pieces like an egg after falling as far as you just did. But your flesh is solid, your mind is strong, you’re breathing and talking, you’re not bleeding. You just fell the height of ten ship masts, straight down. It’s a miracle you’re alive. Say something again.
Through tattered clothes great vices do appear;Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.None does offend—none, I say, none. I’ll able ’em.Take that of me, my friend, who have the powerTo seal th’ accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes,And like a scurvy politician seemTo see the things thou dost not. LEAR to Glo: . Poor men’s sins are much more noticeable than rich men’s. Cover up a crime with gold and the arm of justice can’t touch it. But dress the crime in rags and it’s caught easily. Everyone sins. You can’t blame anyone for it anyone, I say. I’ll vouch for that. Believe me, my friend, since I have the power to stop the prosecutors. Get yourself some glass eyes, and pretend to see things you can’t, like a crooked politician. Now, now, now, now.

You Might Also Like