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King Lear

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


Act 3 Scene 3

Gloucester’s residence

Alack, alack, Edmund, I like not this unnatural
dealing. When I desire their leave that I might
pity him, they took from me the use of mine own
house; charged me, on pain of perpetual [their]
displeasure, neither to speak of him, entreat for
him, nor any way sustain him.

Most savage and unnatural!

Go to, say you nothing. There’s a division between
the dukes, and a worse matter than that. I have
received a letter this night; ’tis dangerous to be
spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet.
These injuries the king now bears will be revenged
home. There’s part of a power already footed [landed]. We
must incline to the king. I will look [seek] him, and
privily relieve him. Go you and maintain talk with
the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived.
If he ask for me, I am ill, and gone to bed.
Though I die for it, as no less is threatened me,
the king my old master must be relieved. There is
[some] strange thing toward, Edmund; pray you, be careful.


This courtesy forbid thee shall the duke
Instantly know, and of that letter too.
This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me
That which my father loses, no less than all:
The younger rises when the old doth fall.



unnatural: see commentary 1.2 on the different philosophies of Nature. Gloucester takes the traditional view.

leave: permission

division: This strife between Albany and Cornwall, mentioned several times, never develops, as soon the two houses will have to ally themselves against the invasion of France.

closet: chamber

home: thoroughly

power: the French army

incline to: side with

privily: privately, secretly

charity: help offered to Lear

toward: imminent

courtesy: kindness toward Lear, forbidden by the Duke

draw: gain for me

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