Saturday, 31 October 2015

King Lear (play) by William Shakespeare - the last part of the notes

1.  Goose, if I had you upon Sarum plain, I’d drive ye cackling home to Camelot”
These words are said by the earl of Kent to Oswald in the IInd Act of Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”.  Kent disguised himself as a servant to help King Lear. Kent says that Oswald is as foolish as a goose and Kent can easily chase him as far as Camelot if he were upon Sarum plain.  Sarum plain is the same as Salisbury plain. Camelot is the capital where the legendary King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table lived in the palace there. Oswald is a wicked servant of Goneril.

2.    I have watched and travelled hard; sometime I shall sleep out, the rest I’ll whistle.  A good man’s fortune may grow out at heels: Give you good morrow!
 These words are said by the Earl of Kent when he was put in the stocks at the command of  CornwallKent spoke to Gloucester when they are left alone on the stage.  It occurs in Act II of Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. Kent is disguised himself as a servant of King Lear.  Gloucester tries to soothe Kent in his miserable condition.  Gloucester promises that he will talk to the Duke of Cornwall for his release.  But Kent tells him not to such things.  He says that he had many bitter experiences in his life. He had a long journey from Goneril’s house to the Duke. He would sleep and wake up and “whistle” away his time in the stocks. Thus he will forget his humiliations.

3.  “Nothing will come of nothing; speak again.
These words are said by King Lear to his youngest daughter Cordelia in the Ist Act of Shakespeare’s play of the same title.  King Lear wants to divide his kingdom among his three daughters according to their degree of love for him.  The elder daughters Goneril and Regan competted each other in explaining their depth of love and affection for their father and the King was very pleased with their praise of him. Finally he comes to Cordelia and she tells him that her feelings are so deep that she cannot express them in mere words. She loves her father as a child loves its father.  Nothing more and nothing less than what a child loves her parent. On hearing this King Lear is very angry with Cordelia.  He had thought that Cordelia would express her deep love in beautiful words and phrases that would defeat the words of both Goneril and Regan. So the King angrily said that nothing would come of thing. He asked her to repeat her answer again. But again Cordelia was obstinate in her previous answer and King Lear did not give her any share of his kingdom. He divided his kingdom between Goneril and Regan. Cordelia was asked to get out of his kingdom.

4.  No, faith lords and great men will not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they would have part on it: and ladies too, they will not let me have all fool to myself, they’ll be snatching. Nuncle, give me an egg and I’ll give thee two crowns.
These words are said by Fool to King Lear in the Ist Act of the play.  The fool is an important character in the play.  He tells that the lords and great men are also fools. King Lear is the best example for it. He gave away his kingdom to his two wicked daughters. So the fool says that the great men and lords would not allow him to be a monopoly of foolishness and they demand their due share of it.

5. “Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that way. Fathers that wear rags
Do make their children blind;
But fathers that ear bags
Shall see their children kind”
These words are said by the Fool to King Lear in the IInd Act of the play.  King Lear divided his kingdom between his two wicked daughters Goneril and Regan and now the king lost everything. He is kicked out of the palace of Goneril and now he has come to Regan. But before the king reached there, Regan and her husband had come to Gloucester’s castle. Kent is punished and insulted by Duke of Cornwall and his wife. Kent is put in stocks. King Lear is shocked at the insult given to his trusted servant Kent. Under the circumstances, the Fool says that there is more winter to come. The flight of the wild gees show it. It means more and more humiliations and sufferings will come to the King, all because of his foolishness. When parents are poor, their children ignore them; but when they carry bags of gifts, children will treat them with kindness. Now King Lear is very poor and he will get more and more insult from the daughters.

6.  “I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call’d you children,
You owe me no subscription; then let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand your slave,
A poor infirm, weak and despised old man.”          These pathetic words are uttered by King Lear while he was wandering on the heath in the horrible night when violent wind, lightning, thunder and heavy rain lashed. It occurs in the IIIrd Act scene II of Shakespeare’s play King Lear. The King divided his kingdom between his two daughters Goneril and Regan who claimed that they loved their father more than anything else in the world. But both of them kicked their father out of their palaces and the old man is wandering about here and there on the heath. He has no shelter to sleep. Fool follows him like a shadow everywhere. Fool advises him to go back to his daughters and beg his daughters to give him shelter because it is a horrible night. But the proud king did not go back. He tells the elements of Nature such as rain, thunder, lightning and wind to blow violently because they are not his children. He had not given them his kingdom and never called them “my daughters”. He asks them to do their best because they are the slaves of his two wicked daughters. Now he is willing to suffer all the cruelties of these elements. He is a poor, old, rejected man.

7.  …I am a man more sinned against than sinning
(The same answer as above and add the following lines)  King Lear says that he has been more wronged and imposed upon than he has done wrongs to any. Of course King Lear has done many mistakes and foolishness, but his two wicked daughters have done maximum cruelty to this old man which he does not deserve.

8.  Judicious punishment! ‘t was this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters
These words are said by King Lear about the miserable condition of Edgar. It occurs in the IVth scene of Act III of Shakespeare’s play King Lear. Edgar is disguised himself a mad beggar called Tom of Bedlam. While King Lear is wandering about on the heath, he is taken to a hut nearby where he meets Tom of Bedlam. His miserable condition reminds him of his two wicked daughters. Lear believes that Edgar has also two pelican draughts who ruined his life and he has become a mad beggar. Lear believes that Edgar has given away all his properties to his two wicked daughters and that is why now he is in a miserable condition. Pelican daughters alludes to the belief that the pelican feeds its children with blood from its own breast. Pelican daughters are Lear’s cruel and selfish daughters Goneril and Regan

9. I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats;
If it be man’s work, I’ll do it”
These words are said by the captain to Edmund in scene III of Act V of Shakespeare’s play King Lear.  Edmund, the bastard son of Gloucester is as wicked as Iago in Othello. He wants to kill both King Lear and Cordelia, who are taken as prisoners of war. Edmund gives this duty to his captain. The captain replies that if it is the work of a man, he can certainly do it. But he cannot do the work of a horse or an ass. The captain does his work as told him by Edmund.

10. O, our lives’ sweetness
That we the pain of death would hourly die
Rather than die at once! –taught me to shift
Into a madman’s rags;                                       These words are said by Edgar to Duke of Albany in scene III of Act V of Shakespeare’s play King Lear.  The war is over and King Lear and Cordelia are defeated and taken as prisoners of war. Edgar and Edmund fought in a duel and Edmund is fatally wounded. Duke of Albany asks where Edgar had hidden himself. Edgar replies that he disguised himself to escape death proclaimed by his own father. He disguised himself as a mad beggar and even the animals rejected him. He says that one should passionately cling to life on the verge of death. Thus man suffers death every inch in his life in order to escape from real death! While he is disguise he could see his blinded father and he was saved by Edgar from death.

11. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us:       These words are said by Edgar to Edmund in scene III of Act V of Shakespeare’s play King Lear.  The war is over and King Lear and Cordelia are defeated and taken as prisoners of war and in a duel Edmund is fatally wounded by Edgar. After that Edgar introduced himself to Edmund as his brother. Edgar says that they should forgive each other because they are brothers. Because of the wickedness and cruelty of Edmund, every one suffered including Edgar and his father Gloucester. Edgar says that God’s punishment is perfect. The sins and crimes we have committed for our pleasure will boomerang us and ruin ourselves. The hidden misdeeds of Gloucester cost him his eyesight.

12.  “When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools”               These words are said by King Lear in scene VI of Act IV of Shakespeare’s play King Lear. King Lear is semi mad and wandering here and there on the heath. He is taken to Dover where Cordelia is waiting for him. A large army from France has landed at Dover. She wants take back the kingdom to her father King Lear. Lear says that at the time of our birth, we weep that we have been brought into this world which is good only for fools to live in. 

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