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  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 6

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FOOL

Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put 'em i' th' paste alive. She knapped 'em o' th' coxcombs with a stick and cried, “Down, wantons, down!” 'Twas her brother that, in pure kindness to his horse, buttered his hay.

FOOL

That’s right, uncle, talk to your heart, like the

housewife

The point of the story is that the housewife acts too late. She should have killed the eels before putting them into the pie.

housewife
who yelled at the eels she was putting in her pie. She hit 'em on the head with a stick and shouted, “Down, you naughty things, down!” That was the woman whose brother wanted to be nice to his

horse

Horses won’t eat greasy hay, so buttering hay is another example of foolishness.

horse
, and buttered its hay.
Enter the Duke of CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOUCESTER, and servants
The Duke of CORNWALL, REGAN, and GLOUCESTER enter with their servants.

LEAR

Good morrow to you both.

LEAR

Good morning to you both.

CORNWALL

Hail to your grace.

CORNWALL

Hail to your majesty.
KENT here set at liberty
KENT is set free.

REGAN

I am glad to see your highness.

REGAN

I’m glad to see your highness.

LEAR

Regan, I think you are. I know what reason
120I have to think so: if thou shouldst not be glad,
I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb,
Sepulchring an adultress.
(to KENT)     Oh, are you free?
Some other time for that.

LEAR

I believe you are, Regan. You know why I think so? Because if you weren’t glad, I’d divorce your dead mother, because I’d know she cheated on me. Any true daughter of mine would definitely be glad to see me. (to KENT) Oh, are you free? We’ll talk about it later.
Exit KENT
KENT exits.
   Belovèd Regan,
125Thy sister’s naught. O Regan, she hath tied
Sharp-toothed unkindness, like a vulture, here.
(indicates his heart)
I can scarce speak to thee. Thou'lt not believe
With how depraved a quality— O Regan!
My dear Regan, your sister’s not worth anything. Oh, Regan, she’s torn me apart with unkindness, like a vulture, right here. (points to his heart) I can hardly speak. You’ll never believe how monstrously—oh, Regan!