Abridged King Lear/#4/Reality/Act 1, Scenes 3-4.1

King Lear and his entourage have gone to live with
Goneril.  Goneril asks her steward,
Oswald, if “my father did strike my gentleman for chiding of his Fool?”  Oswald replies “Ay, madam.”  Goneril says ‘By day and night he wrongs
me.  He flashes into one offense or other
that sets us all at odds.  I’ll not
endure it.”  Oswald says “He’s
coming.”  She says “I will not speak to
him. Say I am sick.  If he doesn’t like
it, let him go to my sister, whose mind and mine I know are one.  I’ll write straight to my sister to hold my
course.”  The banished Kent enters in
disguise, hoping to serve Lear.  Lear
enters.  The disguised Kent tells Lear,
speaking of himself, that “he is a very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as
the King.”  Lear asks “What wouldst thou?”  Kent says “Service.”  Lear asks him “how old art thou?”  Kent replies “Not so young, sir, to love a
woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for anything.  I have years on my back forty-eight.”  Lear hires him.  A Knight enters telling Lear that “your daughter
is not well.”  Lear replies “I have
perceived a most faint neglect of late.
Go tell my daughter I would speak with her.”  Oswald enters, Lear saying “Who am I,
sir?”  Oswald says “My lady’s father,” which
infuriates Lear.  Lear strikes him.  Kent steps in, telling the angry steward
“Come, sir, away.  Have you wisdom?”  Fool enters.
He and Lear have a lively banter, the Fool getting the better of it.  Lear says “Dost thou call me ‘fool’
boy?”  Fool, generally calling Lear
‘Nuncle,’ replies “All the other titles thou hast given away. Thou hadst little
wit in thy bald crown when thou gav’st thy golden one away.”  Lear says “An you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you
whipped.”  The Fool says “Thy daughters
will have me whipped for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipped for lying, and
sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace.”

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