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King Lear

(Line differences from Q1 are in brackets, lines in F1 only are in italics)


Act 1 Scene 3

The Duke of Albany’s residence
Enter GONERIL and OSWALD her steward

Did my father strike my gentleman for
chiding of his fool?

Aye, [Yes] madam.

By day and night he wrongs me. Every hour
He flashes into one gross crime or other,
That sets us all at odds. I’ll not endure it.
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle. When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him; say I am sick.
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I’ll answer.

He’s coming, madam; I hear him.

Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows; I’ll have it come to question.
If he distaste [dislike] it, let him to my [our] sister,
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
[Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man,
That still would manage those authorities
That he hath given away! Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again, and must be used
With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abused.]
Remember what I have said.

[Very] Well, madam.

And let his knights have colder looks among you;
What grows of it, no matter. Advise your fellows so.
[I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,
That I may speak.] I’ll write straight to my sister
To hold my very course. [Go] Prepare for dinner.



gentleman: steward, that is, Oswald to whom she speaks

chiding: reprimanding, scolding

fool: court jester

crime: offense

upbraids: criticizes

come slack of former services: serve him less than before

answer: I’ll say I’m responsible if he complains

question: I want him to criticize your lack of service, so we can discuss this problem openly

one: in agreement

Idle: foolish

manage those authorities: Lear wants to order people about like a king, even though he has relinquished that title.

checks as flatteries: old men who act like children must be handled with restraints rather than flattery

breed from hence occasions: I want to make an issue out of this, so I can speak to him about it.

straight: immediately

hold: maintain my plan of action

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