20th March 2018

Act two, scene four

Explain these quotes:

King Lear says: “By Jupiter, I swear no.”

This piece of allusion is referring to the Gods. He is the King and therefore no man can tell him what to do, he only has to answer to the gods. By saying this he is really saying “I swear to God”. The conception of his own power is still that he is the top, and still in charge of his daughters.

King Lear says: “Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary? They have travell’d all the night? Mere fetches; The images of revolt and flying off. Fetch me a better answer.”

He asks so many questions because he is confused as to why someone would ever refuse to come and see him considering he is the king. He believes his daughter should not refuse to come see him because in his mind he is the king, while his daughters have different ideas. His tone develops throughout this, and we possibly get a glimpse of what he is going to become, an insane and mental beast while falling into a negative pattern. His tone is very harsh and I suspect he was extremely mad and furious when he said this.

King Lear says: “They durst not do ‘t; They could not, would not do ‘t; ’tis worse than murder,”

Lear is amazed that this could even be a possibility, again this is because he still believes he is the King, and back in this day and age anyone who did something like this would have likely been killed. Lear says this is worse than murder. I find this interesting as murder I would consider is one of, if not the worst crime you can commit, Lear says this act is worse meaning he is highly mad at whoever has done this and is probably going to end up killing them.

O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are 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’ 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! No, you unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall–I will do such things,–
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep
No, I’ll not weep:
I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,
Or ere I’ll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!

Oh, don’t argue about the need! Even our meanest beggars have things they can do without. If you don’t grant man more than he needs then his life would be no better than an animal’s. You are a lady. If you dress only to be warm, why then, there’d be no need for the gorgeous fashionable clothes you wear, that barely keep you warm. But true need…’ He stopped in mid-sentence and raised his hands to his head. ‘Heaven give me patience – the patience I need! You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, as full of grief as I am of age – wretched in both! If it’s you that is stirring these daughters’ hearts against their father, don’t make me such a fool as to bear it tamely: fill me with noble anger and don’t let the weapons of women – tears – stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags – I’ll take such revenge on you both that the whole world will… I will do such things – I don’t know what they are yet, but they will be earth-shattering. You think I’ll weep! No, I won’t weep. I’ve got every reason for weeping, but this heart will shatter into a hundred thousand fragments before I’ll weep. Oh Fool, I’m going mad!’ He staggered off.


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KING LEAR, Writing