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King Lear

William Shakespeare


Act 5, scene 3

page 3 of 3

Act 5, scene 3

Act 5, scene 3

Act 5, scene 3

Act 5, scene 3

Similarly, Gloucester, as Edgar announces, dies partly of joy: “his flawed heart— / . . . / ’Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief, / Burst smilingly” (5.3.195–198). Even Edmund, learning of Goneril’s and Regan’s deaths, says, “Yet Edmund was beloved. / The one the other poisoned for my sake, / And after slew herself” (5.3.238–240). Even the cruel Edmund thinks of love in his last moments, a reminder of the warmth of which his bastard birth deprived him. But for him and the two sister queens, as for everyone else in King Lear, love seems to lead only to death. In perhaps the play’s final cruelty, the audience is left with only a terrifying uncertainty: the good and the evil alike die, and joy and pain both lead to madness or death.

The corpses on the stage at the end of the play, of the young as well as the old, symbolize despair and death—just as the storm at the play’s center symbolizes chaos and madness. For Lear, at least, death is a mercy. As Kent says, “The wonder is, he hath endured so long” in his grief and madness (5.3.315). For the others, however, we are left wondering whether there is any justice, any system of punishment and reward in the “tough world” of this powerful but painful play (5.3.313).

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the Gloucester side story

by Merpandderp, April 07, 2013

to help with the side story, think of the movie Thor:

Gloucester: Odin-son
Edgar- Thor (the good brother; gets punished and illegitimate brother takes over for a while)
Edmund-Loki (evil, illegitimate son who is jealous of his brother)

MIND BLOWN. Stan Lee probably read Shakespeare


37 out of 61 people found this helpful

Help with the Gloucester side story

by Merpandderp, April 07, 2013

it is kind of confusing dealing with King Lear and his three daughters, and then having to deal with Gloucester. My suggestion, think of the movie Thor:

-Gloucester: Odin-son
-Edgar: Thor (the good brother who is supposed to succeed Odin-son/Gloucester when he dies; is deceived by Loki/Edmund and then gets punished)
-Edmund: Loki (the evil, illegitimate brother who is jealous of Thor/Edgar (except Loki was adopted); gets control of the throne for a while)

Hope this helps


9 out of 13 people found this helpful

Fathers, Sons and Daughters and a Lot of Sorrow

by ReadingShakespeareby450th, December 04, 2013

There's “a time to keep and a time to cast away." King Lear just got his times mixed up, and it gave us a great play. Finished Lear on my way to reading and blogging about them all by April 2014.

In case you're interested in a few of my thoughts on the play, visit my blog (also there, I've linked to a good production of the play that's available on the PBS Great Performances website):


4 out of 6 people found this helpful

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