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King Lear: Act 5 Scene 3
Key: plot form language structure character
Lines 1-32: Edmund escorts the prisoners Lear and Cordeila. Lear looks
forward to sharing a happy life with Cordeila in prison. When they have
been lead away, Edmund gives a written instruction to one of the officers,
promising him further advancement if he follows his orders.
Lines 3-6: Cordeila speaks in rhyming cuplets to suggest an end to her and
Lear as rhyming cuplets signify a closing of a scene.
Edmunds written instruction sounds sinister and murderous as he has to
bribe the officer with a reward of an advancement to do it which suggests
it is something he wouldn't gladly do. All possible thoughts of Edmunds
better nature are erased now as we know he craves power and wants to kill
Lear and Cordeila creating a sense of suspense (dramatic effect)
Lines 33-61: the instruction is to be carried out immediately and without
question. Albany congratulates Edmund on the victory. He asks that Lear
and Cordeila be handed over to him. Edmund says the prisoners are safe and
it would be better if Albany sees them later. Albany is not pleased.
Albany is manipulating Edmund by using flattery to get what he wants ("Sir,
you have showed to-day your valiant strain and fortune led you well" (lines
42-43)) and he also uses commands shown by imperative utterances such as
"I do require them off you" shows Albany's development into a stronger
character to get what he wants.
However, Edmund is also manipulating Albany as he is controlling when
Albany can see them which is only the next day, giving him enough time to
kill them-power struggle (dramatic effect)
Lines 63-87: Despite not feeling well, Regan argues on Edmund's behalf and
says he will be her husband. Albany arrests Edmund and Goneril for treason
and tells Regan that Edmund is already promised in marriage to Goneril.
Albany continues to challenge Edmund by saying he is not his equal "not as a
"half blooded fellow" (line 82) Albany is using Edmunds status as a bastard
as an insult
Lines 88-111: Albany orders the trumpet to be sounded for anyone to come
forward to prove Edmund's treason in combat. He says he will fight Edmund
himself if no one responds. He tells Edmund that he will receive no outside
help since his army has dispersed. Regan is increasingly sick and has to be
Lines 112-139: the challenge is sounded. On the last note of the trumpet
Edgar appears, his face hidden by his knight's visor. He refuses to give his
name, but accuses Edmund of treason and challenges him to fight.
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Stage directions of trumpets sounding, to create a sense of excitement
(dramatic effect) lines 115-118.
Lines 126-141: Edgar's speech accuses Edmund of treason. Edgar says that
Edmund doesn't not deserve all the things he has gained such as new titles.
He then says that he has been untrue towards himself and towards his
father. He calls him a traitor and accuses him of treason.…read more
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audience feel sympathy towards Edmund despite him being the villain of the
Lines 267- 291: Lear has killed the man responsible for Cordeila's death.
Lear recognizes Kent, eventually, but does not listen when Kent tells him
that he is no other than his servant, Caius. Kent also informs him of the
deaths of his other daughters.
Lines 292-315: Lear seems able to understand only Cordeila's death. News
is brought of Edmund's death.…read more