Book Notes Act 3, Scene 6 Notes from King Lear

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King Lear Act 3, Scene 6

Gloucester and Kent have managed to get Lear, Edgar and the Fool into the shelter.

Lear decides he must hold a "trial" to decide on his daughters' horrible behavior. He appoints the mad beggar Edgar as the judge, the Fool a member of the jury, and himself the prosecutor. He uses a nearby stool to represent the accused. He declares Goneril guilty of kicking "the poor King her father" (lines 47-48). Regan is accused much the same. Quickly, though, Lear turns to self-pity.

Topic Tracking: Age 13

For a second, he thinks Edgar is a member of his 100 knights, but then dismisses the idea.

Finally, the group persuades the king to lie down for the evening, as it is late. Thinking back to his own royal years, he orders the curtains to be drawn and supper, the evening meal, to be served in the morning.

The Fool replies: "And I'll go to bed at noon" (line 83). Strangely, those are the Fool's last words. He never reappears in the play, rendering his absence one of the great Shakespeare mysteries. Some interpret the Fool's line to mean that he will die, at the highest point in the day and his life.

The trusted Kent, who has witnessed this, assures Gloucester that Lear's "wits are gone." But Gloucester has worse news to report. He has overheard a plot to kill the king. They need to clear out and take Lear to Dover, where he will be safe. With that, Gloucester, Kent and the Fool carry Lear away.

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