King Lear (Folger Shakespeare Library)
William Shakespeare, Paul Werstine
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Shakespeare’s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. What, then, keeps bringing us back to King Lear? For all the force of its language, King Lear is almost equally powerful when translated, suggesting that it is the story, in large part, that draws us to the play.
The play tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty, on the one hand, and support and consolation, on the other. Emotions are extreme, magnified to gigantic proportions. We also see old age portrayed in all its vulnerability, pride, and, perhaps, wisdom—one reason this most devastating of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also perhaps his most moving.
The authoritative edition of King Lear from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by Susan Snyder
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
many ϭ many beggars (who are lice-infested) marry 26 i.e., inverts proper values 27 because 28 waking 100 act 3 • scene 2 Lear No, I will be the pattern29 of all patience, 35 I will say nothing. enter Kent Kent Who’s there? Fool Marry, here’s grace and a codpiece: that’s a wise man and a fool. Kent ( to Lear) Alas sir, are you here? Things that love night Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies 40 Gallow30 the very wanderers of the dark,31 And make them keep their caves.
thee well. A serviceable155 villain, 250 As duteous156 to the vices of thy mistress As badness would desire. Gloucester What, is he dead? Edgar Sit you down, father. Rest you. Let’s see these pockets,157 the letters that he speaks of May be my friends. He’s dead, I am only sorry 255 He had no other deathsman.158 Let us see. Leave, gentle wax,159 and manners, blame us not. To know our enemies’ minds, we rip their hearts, Their papers is more lawful. reads “Let our reciprocal vows be
say instantly; and carry it22 so As I have set it down. Captain I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats, If it be man’s work, I’ll do ’t.23 40 exit Captain flourish enter Albany, Goneril, Regan, Captain 2, and Soldiers Albany ( to Edmund ) Sir, you have showed today your valiant strain,24 And fortune led you well. You have the captives That were the opposites of this day’s strife. I do require them of you, so to use them As we shall find their merits and our safety 45 May equally
with reason to oppose the proposed marriage has, at that point, the right to halt it) 58 make your loves ϭ propose marriage (!) 59 short play, usually comic (a “farce”) 60 in combat (i.e., literally “upon your head”) 61 infamous, atrocious 62 promise of combat, signaled by throwing down a gauntlet/glove 63 establish, prove 64 that you 65 I am sick 180 act 5 • scene 3 Goneril ( aside) If not,66 I’ll ne’er67 trust medicine.68 Edmund ( throws down glove) There’s my exchange. What69 in the
and does shake the head To hear of pleasure’s name. The fitchew, nor the soilèd 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 fiends’. 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.