King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LEAR
No.
LEAR
No.
FOOL
Why, to keep one’s eyes of either side ’s nose, that what a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
FOOL
Why, to keep the eyes on the sides, so that you can see anything that you can’t sniff out.
LEAR
I did her wrong—
LEAR
I was wrong to her—
FOOL
Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?
FOOL
Do you know how an oyster makes its shell?
LEAR
No.
LEAR
No.
FOOL
Nor I neither. But I can tell why a snail has a house.
FOOL
Me neither. But I know why a snail carries its house on its back.
LEAR
25Why?
LEAR
Why?
FOOL
Why, to put ’s head in—not to give it away to his daughters and leave his horns without a case.
FOOL
So that he always has a roof over his head. He can’t give his house away to his daughters, leaving himself without shelter.
LEAR
I will forget my nature. So kind a father!—Be my horses ready?
LEAR
I want to forget what I am. Such a kind father!—Are my horses ready?
FOOL
30Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
FOOL
Your attendant asses are getting the horses ready. There’s a nice reason why the constellation Pleiades has only seven stars in it.
LEAR
Because they are not eight?
LEAR
Because it doesn’t have eight?
FOOL
Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.
FOOL
That’s right. You’d make a good fool.
LEAR
To take ’t again perforce— Monster ingratitude!
LEAR
I could take back my crown by force—What outrageous ingratitude!