King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 7

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And in thy best consideration check
This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgment,
155Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.
Hold on to your crown and use your better judgment to rethink this rash decision. On my life I swear to you that your youngest daughter doesn’t love you least. A loud mouth often points to an empty heart, and just because she’s quiet doesn’t mean she’s unloving.

LEAR

   Kent, on thy life, no more.

LEAR

Kent, if you want to stay alive, stop talking.

KENT

My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thy enemies, nor fear to lose it,
160Thy safety being motive.

KENT

I never considered my life as anything more than a chess pawn for you to play off against your enemies. I’m not afraid to lose it if it helps protect you.

LEAR

   Out of my sight!

LEAR

Get out of my sight!

KENT

See better, Lear, and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.

KENT

Learn to see better, Lear, and let me stay here where you can look to me for good advice.

LEAR

   Now, by Apollo—

LEAR

Now, I swear by Apollo…

KENT

Now, by Apollo, King,
Thou swear’st thy gods in vain.

KENT

By Apollo, King, you’re taking the names of the gods in vain.

LEAR

165O vassal! Miscreant!

LEAR

Oh, you lowlife! Scum!

ALBANY, CORNWALL

   Dear sir, forbear!

ALBANY, CORNWALL

Please stop, sir.

KENT

Do, kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon thy foul disease. Revoke thy gift,
Or whilst I can vent clamor from my throat,
I’ll tell thee thou dost evil.

KENT

Sure, kill the doctor who’s trying to cure you and pay your disease. Take back your gift to Albany and Cornwall. If you don’t, then as long as I’m able to speak I’ll keep telling you you’ve done a bad, bad thing.

LEAR

170Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance hear me.
That thou hast sought to make us break our vows,
Which we durst never yet, and with strained pride
To come betwixt our sentence and our power,
Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,

LEAR

Listen to me, you traitor. You’ll pay the price for trying to make me go back on the vow I made when I bequeathed my kingdom to them. I’ve never broken a vow yet. You tried to make me revise my judgment on my youngest daughter, disrespecting my power as