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Cordelia

Lear: Act One Scene One

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King Lear’s first scene is notable in its length and structure. At over 300 lines, with more characters on stage than in all but the last scene of the play, and being divided into three sub-scenes, this first scene is almost a play in itself.

It begins, as do so many of Shakespeare’s plays,
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Now, our joy, Although our last and least

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King Lear
Now, our joy,
Although our last and least, to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interessed, what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters’? Speak.
Cordelia
Nothing, my lord.
King Lear
Nothing?
Cordelia
Nothing.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 91

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This is most strange

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France
This is most strange,
That she whom even but now was your best object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
The best, the dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous to dismantle
So many folds of favor. Sure her offense
Must be of such unnatural degree
That monsters it,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 245

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Alack, ’tis he! Why, he was met even now

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Cordelia
Alack, ’tis he! Why, he was met even now
As mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud,
Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With hardocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckooflowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn. A century send forth.
Search every acre in the high-grown field
And bring him to our eye.
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 4
Line 1

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O, my dear father

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Cordelia, kissing Lear
O, my dear father, restoration hang
Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss
Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
Have in thy reverence made.
Kent
Kind and dear princess.
Cordelia
Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Did challenge pity of them.
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 7
Line 31

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Where have I been? Where am I?

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King Lear
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
I am mightily abused; I should e’en die with pity
To see another thus. I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands. Let’s see.
I feel this pinprick. Would I were assured
Of my condition!
Cordelia
O,
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 7
Line 59

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We are not the first Who with best meaning have incurred the worst

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Cordelia, to Lear
We are not the first
Who with best meaning have incurred the worst.
For thee, oppressèd king, I am cast down.
Myself could else outfrown false Fortune’s frown.
Shall we not see these daughters and these sisters?
King Lear
No, no, no, no. Come, let’s away to prison.
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 3
Line 4

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