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King Lear: Act 4 Scene 6
Key: plot form language structure character
Lines 1-21: Edgar suspects Gloucester's motive for wanting to go to the cliff
top, so in a field near Dover, he tells him that they are overlooking the sea
and he describes the sight far below.
Lines 22-50: Gloucester gives Edgar a jewel as payment for his help and
tells him to leave. Gloucester then prays before throwing himself forward
of the cliff, as he believes. For a moment Edgar is worried the shock would
have killed him anyway.
Lines 51-77: Edgar pretends to come across Gloucester as the bottom of
the cliff. He says how surprised he is that anyone could survive such a fall.
He says that the figure that left Gloucester on the cliff top looked to him
like the devil, and he tells Gloucester that the gods must be watching over
Edgar convinces Gloucester that he was led to the edge of the cliff by the
devil (lines 69-73), connotations of evil; "thousand noses", "horns", "fiend"
which link to madness as evil was thought to have been the cause of madness.
Edgar uses imperatives as her is leading Gloucester "give me your arm"(line
Lines 78-109: the sight of Lear in his crown of weeds talking to himself, is
heart rending for Edgar. Gloucester recognizes Lear's voice but
Gloucester's beard sets Lear on a train of thought about his daughter's
Lines 110-140: As if somehow aware of whom he's addressing, Lear talks of
adultery and Edmund. He says that women are animals sexually. Gloucester
recognizes Lear's madness, Lear asks Gloucester to read a challenge he has
Lear calls women all sorts of awful things. He compares them to centaurs,
which are half human half horse, suggesting they are beasts and wild (line
124). Also a lot of imagery of hell as lexis that connotes this is used such as
"sulphurous pit- burning, scalding, stench, consumption" this shows that his
madness has extended his hatred of his daughter, and now he has become
obsessed with this.
Lear's speech is in prose which is used for more lowly characters, even
though Lear is a king, he isn't seen as that anymore.
Lines 114-117: Lear doesn't think there is anything wrong with adultery as
Edmund who was a bastard treated his father better than his daughters
treated him. He is still obsessed with his daughters.
Lines 140-170: when Gloucester says he has no eyes, Lear says that
shouldn't stop him from seeing how things are: that justice is only available
to the rich and influential. Lear suggests that glass eyes would make
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Gloucester like a politician as he would as he could pretend to see things he
Lines 171-200: Edgar says Lear's words combine truth and nonsense. Lear
admits to recognising Gloucester. His mind is diverted by thoughts of
revenge on his son in law. Cordelia's men find Lear and want to take him with
them but Lear runs off.…read more