In King Lear, the title character brings about his downfall when he falls for the false, flattering words of two of his daughters, Goneril and Regan, and disowns his other daughter, Cordelia, when she speaks the truth. The brutal play examines the politics of running a kingdom as well as the politics involved in family life, as Goneril and Regan betray their father and themselves in an attempt to get power. Although a tragedy, the play offers a small glimmer of hope at the end, when Lear reconciles with Cordelia.
King Lear (1608) is a play by William Shakespeare that is generally regarded as one of his greatest tragedies. It is based on the legend of Leir, a king of pre-Roman Britain.
According to my bond; no more nor less.
Lear: Let it be so;— thy truth, then, be thy dower.
The region of my heart
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops
Got 'tween asleep and wake?
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shall have more
Than two tens to a score.
Than the sea-monster!
Oswald : What dost thou know me for? Kent : A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.
Before me at this instant.
A saucy roughness, and constrains the garb
Quite from his nature: He cannot flatter, he!
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth:
An they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbor more craft and more corrupter ends
Than twenty silly-ducking observants
That stretch their duties nicely.
Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.
But I will tarry; the fool will stay,
And let the wise man fly:
The knave turns fool that runs away;
The fool, no knave, perdy.
Of her confine: you should be rul'd and led
By some discretion, that discerns your state
Better than you yourself.
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's.
If it be you that stir these daughters' hearts
Against their father, fool me not so much
To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger,
And let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks!
The terrors of the earth.
Or ere I'll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
Though the rain it raineth every day.
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O! I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
I smell the blood of a British man.
Our means secure us, and our mere defects
Prove our commodities.
And come to deadly use.
The crows and choughs, that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles; halfway down
Hangs one that gathers samphire,— dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
Appear like mice, and yond tall anchoring bark
Diminished to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge,
That on the unnumber'ed idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high.
I pardon that man's life.— What was thy cause? —
Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloster's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.
To't, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers.—
Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name;—
The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to't
With a more riotous appetite
Down from the waist they are centaurs,
Though women all above.
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiend's; there's hell, there's darkness,
There is the sulphurous pit; burning, scalding, stench, consumption!— fie, fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination: there's money for thee.
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
It were a delicate strategem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt: I'll put 't in proof;
And when I have stol'n upon these sons-in-law,
Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Ripeness is all.
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;—
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones
That ebb and flow by the moon.
That heaven's vaults should crack.— She's gone for ever! —
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She's dead as earth.
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you, undo this button: thank you sir.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there!
Stretch him out longer.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.