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King Lear the play: EPISODE 4

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 4

Desolation

Lear enters the hovel and meets Poor Tom (Edgar in disguise as a mad beggar). Lear is mad; Edgar is pretending to be mad and the Fool is ‘formally” mad. Gloucester arrives to take them somewhere a bit warmer but doesn’t recognise his son.

(End of Act 3 Scene 4)

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Edmund tells Cornwall, Regan’s husband, what his father is up to and that Gloucester is on the French side. Cornwall threatens revenge on Gloucester and promises Edmund that he’ll reward him well.

(Act 3 Scene 5)

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Gloucester brings Lear and the others to a farmhouse. Lear eventually falls asleep. Gloucester says that there is a plot to kill Lear and tells Kent to take him to Dover, where he will be safe.

(Act 3 Scene 6)

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Back at the castle, Regan and her husband have Gloucester prisoner. They question him and are told that Lear is on his way to Dover. He tells Regan what he thinks of her. Cornwall blinds Gloucester, although his servants try to help him, wounding Cornwall. Regan also tells Gloucester that Edmund has betrayed him. Gloucester realises that he was wrong about Edgar.

(Act 3 Scene 7)

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Edgar, in disguise as Poor Tom still, meets his now blind father and ends up as his guide. Gloucester tells Poor Tom that he was wrong about Edgar and asks to be guided to the top of a cliff near Dover.

(Act 4 Scene 1)

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Edmund arrives at Goneril’s castle. She calls him Duke of Gloucester (after his father’s ‘treachery’) and tries to seduce him. He has no objection! Albany, her husband comes in. Although he doesn’t catch them, he and his wife have a serious argument. A messenger arrives to say that Cornwall has died of wounds. Goneril worries that this will leave Regan free to pursue Edmund. Albany makes it clear that he sympathises with Lear and Gloucester.

(Act 4 Scene 2)

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Next Kent meets a Gentleman (again!). We hear that Cordelia is in Dover with a French army; her husband has had to return to France but has left her in charge. She is very upset to hear of her father’s plight and angry with her sisters.

Lear is in the town, sometimes sane, sometimes not but he is too ashamed to meet Cordelia.

(Act 4 Scene 3)

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Cordelia consults a French doctor about her father’s madness and hears news of the approaching British armies.

(Act 4 Scene 4)

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In what was Gloucester’s castle, Regan, now widowed, is particularly incensed to hear that Goneril is after Edmund, whom she wants for herself.

(Act 4 Scene 5)

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Blind Gloucester enters with Edgar, now disguised as a (sane!) peasant. Gloucester wants to be taken to a cliff top so he can commit suicide. Edgar deceives his father to stop him doing so.

Lear comes in to join them. They both recognise him, Gloucester by voice. Lear doesn’t appear at first to recognise Gloucester or realise that he is blind.

Soldiers enter. Lear believes that he is being taken prisoner, although they acknowledge him as King. Lear runs away.

(Act 4 Scene 6)

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