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Goneril

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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Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter

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Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter,
Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty,
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor;
As much as child e’er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable.
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 60

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Sister, it is not little I have to say

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Goneril
Sister, it is not little I have to say of what
most nearly appertains to us both. I think our
father will hence tonight.
Regan
That’s most certain, and with you; next month
with us.
Goneril
You see how full of changes his age is; the
observation we have made of it hath not been
little.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 329

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Connected Notes:
Lear: Act One Scene One

No, no, my lord, This milky gentleness

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Goneril
No, no, my lord,
This milky gentleness and course of yours,
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more at task for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.
Albany
How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell.
Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 4
Line 362

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I pray you, father, being weak, seem so

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Regan
I pray you, father, being weak, seem so.
If till the expiration of your month
You will return and sojourn with my sister,
Dismissing half your train, come then to me.
I am now from home and out of that provision
Which shall be needful for your entertainment.
King Lear
Return to her?
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 4
Line 233

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Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favored

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King Lear
Those wicked creatures yet do look well-favored
When others are more wicked. Not being the worst
Stands in some rank of praise.
To Goneril.
I’ll go with thee.
Thy fifty yet doth double five-and-twenty,
And thou art twice her love.
Goneril
Hear me, my lord.
What need you five-and-twenty,
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 4
Line 293

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I have been worth the whistle

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Goneril
I have been worth the whistle.
Albany
O Goneril,
You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face. I fear your disposition.
That nature which contemns its origin
Cannot be bordered certain in itself.
She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 2
Line 37

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