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Edmund

King Lear

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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Thou, Nature, art my goddess

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Thou, Nature, art my goddess. To thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? why “bastard”? Wherefore “base,”
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous and my shape as true
As honest madam’s issue?
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 1

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Edmund, how now? What news?

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Gloucester
Edmund, how now? What news?
Edmund
So please your Lordship, none.
He puts a paper in his pocket.
Gloucester
Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edmund
I know no news, my lord.
Gloucester
What paper were you reading?
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 27

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These late eclipses in the sun and moon

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Gloucester
These late eclipses in the sun and moon
portend no good to us. Though the wisdom of
nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds
itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities, mutinies;
in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and
the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 109

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Brother, I advise you to the best

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Edmund
Brother, I advise you to the best. I am no
honest man if there be any good meaning toward
you. I have told you what I have seen and heard, but
faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it. Pray
you, away.
Edgar
Shall I hear from you anon?
Edmund
I do serve you in this business.
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 180

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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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Come hither, captain

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Edmund
Come hither, captain. Hark.
Handing him a paper.
Take thou this note. Go follow them to prison.
One step I have advanced thee. If thou dost
As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
To noble fortunes. Know thou this: that men
Are as the time is; to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword.
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 3
Line 31

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What you have charged me with, that have I done

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Edmund, to Edgar
What you have charged me with, that have I done,
And more, much more. The time will bring it out.
‘Tis past, and so am I. But what art thou
That hast this fortune on me? If thou ‘rt noble,
I do forgive thee.
Edgar
Let’s exchange charity.
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 5
Scene 3
Line 195

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