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King Lear the play: EPISODE 2

For those of you who are curious about the parts of the play that are not in our web-series, and would like to see how the episodes correlate with the Acts and Scenes in the Arden version of King Lear, here you go!

 

Episode 2

“Dissolution”

Episode 2 starts where we left off: Goneril enters to tell Lear that his hundred knights are behaving disgracefully: they are treating her palace as if it were a pub on a Saturday night. She refuses to put up with it. She tells Lear to get rid of some of them and to make sure that those that remain are old like him.

The Fool provides an ironic commentary to this confrontation.

Just before Lear leaves, he discovers that Goneril has dismissed 50 of his hundred knights without even consulting him.

Lear says that he is going to Regan who will, he is sure, be on his side. He also threatens to take back his kingdom.

Goneril’s husband, Albany, comes in on this. He has no idea what is going on: Goneril obviously did not consult him. He tries ineffectually to keep the peace.   

After Lear leaves, Goneril sends her servant, Oswald, with messages to Regan.

(End of Act 1 Scene 4)

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Lear sends Kent, still in disguise, with letters to the Duke of Gloucester, for him to give to Regan. After Kent has gone, Lear talks to the Fool, admitting for the first time that “I did her wrong”, referring to Cordelia. He also says for the first time that he’s scared of going mad.

(Act 1 Scene 5)

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Edmund’s plot to discredit his legitimate brother Edgar comes to fruition. Gloucester believes Edmund’s every word and Edgar has to run for his life. Gloucester threatens to have him caught and killed.

Regan and her husband, Cornwall, come to visit. They hear about Edgar and are introduced to Edmund. Regan says she has had letters from both Lear and Goneril.

(Act 2 Scene 1)

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Kent comes to Gloucester’s castle with Lear’s letter. He meets Oswald, who has come with Goneril’s. They argue; Kent offers to fight but Oswald won’t, whereupon Kent starts to beat him up. At this point, Regan, her husband and Edmund enter. They don’t recognise Kent either; they take Oswald’s side and put Kent in the stocks as punishment. They are aware that Kent is Lear’s servant and this does not stop them. Gloucester tries to stop it but can’t.

(Act 2 Scene 2)

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In the next scene Edgar, Gloucester’s legitimate son, tells us of his plan to disguise himself as a mad beggar called “Poor Tom”.

(Act 2 Scene 3)

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Lear arrives with the remainder of his knights at Gloucester’s castle to find Kent in the stocks. Kent tells him that it was Regan that put him in the stocks, knowing whose man he was. Lear finds this hard to believe. He is also told by Gloucester that Regan and her husband don’t want to see him: they are too tired!

They do come out eventually. Lear tells Regan how badly Goneril has treated him and how he is sure she, Regan, is not like her at all. Regan tells Lear to ask Goneril’s forgiveness. Lear then sees Oswald, Goneril’s servant.

Episode 2 ends with Lear asking again who put Kent in the stocks.

(Act 2 Scene 4)

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