Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone forever!
I know when one is dead, and when one lives;
She’s dead as earth.
Lear utters these words as he emerges
from prison carrying Cordelia’s body in his arms (5.3.256–260).
His howl of despair returns us again to the theme of justice, as
he suggests that “heaven’s vault should crack” at his daughter’s
death—but it does not, and no answers are offered to explain Cordelia’s
unnecessary end. It is this final twist of the knife that makes