King Lear Shakespeare Act 4 Timeline AQA

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Act 4
Scene 1
Edgar talks to himself, reflecting that his situation is not as bad as it could be. He overhears
Gloucester and sees that he is being led by an old man because he has been blinded. Gloucester tells
the old man that if he could only touch his son Edgar again, it would be worth more to him than his lost
eyesight. Edgar remains in disguise as Poor Tom and offers to take Gloucester to Dover. Gloucester
then asks to be led to the top of the highest cliff so he can commit suicide.
Points of tension ­ Tension arises when Gloucester asks Edgar to take him to the top of a cliff so he
can commit suicide and Edgar agrees. This makes the audience question why Edgar has agreed as we
see him as a son with good intentions.
"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
they kill us for their sport."
Gloucester speaks these words as he wanders on the heath after being blinded by Cornwall and
Regan. These words emphasize the theme of natural order as it questions whether there is any
justice in the universe. Gloucester's words of despairs suggest that there is no order or at least no
good order in the universe. The events of the play bear out Gloucester's understanding of the world,
as the good die along with the wicked, and no reason is offered for suffering.
Scene 2
Goneril and Edmund arrive outside of her palace, and Oswald informs her that Albany isn't happy with
her actions. Goneril tells Edmund to go to Cornwall's and get the troops ready for the fight against
the French and she bids him goodbye with a kiss. Albany enters and he criticizes Goneril for being
monstrous and evil by driving Lear mad. A messenger arrives and delivers news that Cornwall has
died from the wound he received whilst plucking out Gloucester's eyes. Albany is shocked and
questions where Edmund was. Then he discovers that Edmund has betrayed Gloucester and he
decides to revenge him. Goneril displays mixed feelings about Cornwall's death as it makes her sister
Regan less powerful and it also means Regan is free to pursue Edmund herself.
Points of change ­ Goneril and Albany's marriage comes across as false as it becomes evident that
they both dislike one another. Albany echoes Lear's words by attacking Goneril after hearing her
cruelty towards Lear "You are not worth the dust which the rude wind blows in your face"
However Goneril is hardly intimidated by him; she calls him a "moral fool" for criticizing her while
France invades. "Whilst thou, a moral fool, sits still and cries"
Scene 3
Kent is still in disguise and he speaks with the Gentleman in the French Camp. The gentleman informs
him that the king of France has gone back to France due to a problem that has arisen. Kent questions
him of Cordelia's reaction to the letters, and the Gentleman gives him a moving account of her
sorrow. Kent tells the Gentleman that Lear has also arrived safely in Dover but he is refusing to see
Cordelia. Gentleman informs Kent that the armies of Albany and Cornwall are on the march to fight
against the French troops.

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Scene 4
Cordelia enters, leading her soldiers. Cordelia sends her soldiers to find Lear and bring him back. She
consults with a doctor about Lear's chances for recovering and the doctor tells her that what Lear
most needs is sleep. A messenger brings Cordelia the news that the British armies of Cornwall and
Albany are marching toward them. Cordelia expected this news, and her army stands ready to fight.…read more

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Scene 6
Still in disguise, Edgar leads Gloucester toward Dover and pretends to take him to the cliff.
He tells him that they are the top and waits nearby overhearing Gloucester asking for the
gods to forgive him. Gloucester falls to the ground and Edgar wakes him up in disguise of an
ordinary gentleman. He tells Gloucester that he has survived and this is an act of God.
Lear wanders across the plain and stumbles upon Edgar and gloucester.…read more

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Scene 7
In the french camp, Cordelia speaks with Kent and reveals that she knows his real identity. However,
kent wishes to keep this a secret. Lear who has been sleeping is brought into Cordelia and is brought
to Cordelia. He says that he is aware of his current state and assumes that Cordelia hates him and
wants to kill him just as her sisters do. Cordelia forgives him for banishing her.…read more


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