Quotes

King Lear/#1/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “I love you dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty, no less than life.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 60-64.  Goneril to Lear.  Goneril is the oldest of King Lear’s three daughters. Lear’s plan is to divide his kingdom into three parts, one part for each daughter, saying “‘tis our fast intent to shake all cares and business from our age.” He is the king of Britain. He goes on to say “We have divided in three our kingdom that future strife may be prevented now.” The year is about 800 B.C. Lear, looking for praise from his daughters, having decided to give each a third of his kingdom, says “Tell me, my daughters, which of you shall we say doth love us most.” The quote is Goneril’s reply to her father.

King Lear/#2/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “I profess myself an enemy to all other joys.
I am alone made happy in your dear Highness’ love.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 79-84.  Regan to Lear.  Regan is Lear’s second daughter. She follows her older sister, Goneril, with this quote, also letting her father know how much she loves him, he having asked his daughters to let him know “which of you doth love us most.”

King Lear/#3/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “I love your Majesty according to my duty, no more nor less.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 101-102.  Cordelia to Lear.  Cordelia, the youngest of Lear’s daughters, rejects her sisters’ flattering comments to their father. She says “Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me. I obey you, love you and most honor you.” But then she asks “Why have my sisters’ husbands if they say they love you all?” She says “Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, to love my father all.”

King Lear/#4/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Come not between the dragon and his wrath.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Line 136.
Lear to Kent. 
The proud King Lear, use to flattery from his followers, lashes out at Cordelia, crying “thy dower will be held from thee, my sometime daughter.” Kent, a close aide to the king, starts to question the king and his actions. Lear interrupts him, saying “Peace, Kent.” Lear then offers this quote. The king turns to Albany and Cornwall, his two older daughters’ husbands, and says, concerning Cordelia’s planned third of his kingdom, “digest the third.”

King Lear/#5/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Kill thy physician, and thy fee bestow upon the foul disease.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 187-188.  Kent to Lear.
Kent does his best to bring Lear to his senses, the king having just split his kingdom into two parts, rather than three, giving half to each of his two older daughters, eliminating a dower for Cordelia. Lear is about to banish Kent from Britain. Kent offers this quote and says “I’ll tell thee thou dost evil.”

King Lear/#6/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Better thou hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.”

Answer:  1, Scene 1, Lines
169-271. Lear to Cordelia. The King of France has been paying some attention to Cordelia. France has entered and listened to Lear’s outburst. The French king says to Lear that it is most strange that he has turned on this daughter whom he had called “the best, the dearest.” Calmly and graciously, Cordelia asks her father “that you make known that it is no foulness or dishonored step that has deprived me of your grace and favor.” This quote is Lear’s response to his daughter.

King Lear/#7/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being
poor; most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 290-291.  King of France to Cordelia.  A Frenchman, the Duke of Burgundy, has dropped out of the race for Cordelia’s hand, noting she has lost him, having “lost a father.” The King of France jumps at the opportunity to secure Cordelia for his wife, saying “Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance.” He offers this quote.

King Lear/#8/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Wherefore should I be exposed to social convention, and permit others to
deprive me that I for some twelve or fourteen moonshines lag of a
brother?”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 2-4.
Edmund to himself.  Edmund is Gloucester’s second son, the first being Edgar. Gloucester has been for some time a good friend and confidant to Britain’s king. Edmund opens this scene defending his being a bastard, noting that he was conceived “in the lusty stealth of nature.” Earlier, the Earl of Gloucester had told us “this young fellow’s mother had a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.” Edmund’s devious plan is to turn his father against his “legitimate” brother Edgar. Edgar is a year or so older than Edmund.

King Lear/#9/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “We have seen the best of our time.
Hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to
our graves.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 119-121.  Gloucester to Edmund.  Gloucester believes Edmund when he tells him that he found a letter purportedly written by Edgar that suggests the two brothers plot their father’s death and that the two of them share his fortune. The forged letter was written by Edmund. Believing Edmund, Gloucester becomes infuriated with his son Edgar. Gloucester offers this quote. He also says “And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! His offense, honesty! ‘Tis strange.”

King Lear/#10/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “A gullible father and a brother noble, whose nature is so far from doing harms
that he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty my practices ride easy.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 187-190.  Edmund to himself.  Edmund lets us know his thoughts on the gentle and honorable nature of his father and his brother, and then on his own ignoble self.