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King Lear

Comments on Act 4 Scene 3

The Folio text cuts this entire scene. Those who believe that Shakespeare edited the earlier Quarto to produce the Folio version argue that the scene is unnecessary, and the cut streamlines the action. However, this scene shows Kent continuing to act on behalf of the king. He works with the Gentleman to reunite Lear and Cordelia, learning from him that Cordelia forgives her father. Otherwise, there is no explanation for Kent’s lengthy absence from the side of his king, just when Lear needs him the most. In this scene we also learn why the king of France has left Cordelia to oversee the French invasion.

Kent says that Lear is now “in the town” but apparently he escapes again and wanders in the surrounding countryside in scene six.

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